Former Kaduna State Governor and Caretaker Committee Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ahmed Makarfi, has reiterated his position that external forces are to blame for the leadership crisis rocking the party.
The caretaker chairman was reacting to recent events in the party, which saw Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, who was sacked as the national chairman of the party, storm the Wadata Plaza National Secretariat of the party with his supporters to “takeover” power.
The forceful takeover of the national secretariat by Sheriff precipitated a series of protests by opposing groups, who besieged the Wadata Plaza on Wednesday and reportedly chased the occupants away from the building.
Speaking after a meeting of PDP leaders, which ended in the early hours of yesterday at the Ondo State Governor’s Lodge in Abuja, Makarfi said Nigerians could no longer afford to stand aloof and watch Sheriff and his group threaten the nation’s democracy.
He, therefore, called on Nigerians to rise in defence of democracy, saying the party would pursue its court cases against Sheriff to a logical conclusion.
He said: “We reviewed all that have been going on in the party, especially since Monday. You are all witnesses to the thuggery that took place. Actually, those who remember would know that that was how Boko Haram started.
“Thugs were brought into Abuja and some people forced themselves into the secretariat. In the process, documents and some properties belonging to be party cannot be accounted for. This cannot be without support from some quarters, definitely not from the PDP.
“We have the former chairman recorded saying that he was going to go beyond the Inspector General of Police in order for him to gain access into the Secretariat.
“We don’t know what he meant by going beyond the IGP but all of you are sensible enough to decide the person beyond the IGP could actually mean.
“We are at a loss. Therefore, we deliberated on this and we have taken a position to stand by democracy, to stand by our right and to stand by our party”.
The caretaker committee chairman called on the security agencies to rise to the occasion and checkmate illegalities, no matter how highly placed the perpetrators may be.
Makarfi restated the party’s position that Sheriff was being sponsored by unnamed individuals in the All Progressive Congress (APC) to destabilise the party.
“And those elements that may be interfering in our internal affairs, whether they belong to any particular party or they do not belong to any at all, they should let us be, as we are not interfering in any other body’s affairs.
“We have it on record that the former Chairman, a day or two before he forced himself into the secretariat, had a meeting with one of the governors of the party in power and then the next day this event took place.
“If he claimed to be chairman of PDP, what meeting could he have had with the governor? Did he get any encouragement, facilitation, any guaranty for him to go ahead and do what it did? This is for Nigerians to think on and take a position on”, Makarfi said.
According to him, despite the difficulties and the lukewarm attitude of the security agencies, the PDP would overcome its challenges.
“We are confident that at the end of the day, justice will be done. We are confident that justice will be done in all the issues before the judiciary. We are also confident, even if there are slips from the security agencies, they will see reason and know that is it in the best interest of everybody that they stand on the side of what is right, what is just and that is on the side of the legitimate leadership of the party so that peace can reign”.