Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caretaker committee and former Governor of Kaduna State, Ahmed Makarfi, yesterday said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has recognised the committee.
Makarfi, who stated this when the committee members paid a courtesy visit to the National Assembly caucus members of the PDP yesterday, told the lawmakers that the fact that INEC could invite the committee to a meeting further indicates that it (committee) had gained the recognition of the commission.
He said: “Yesterday (Tuesday), we attended our first official engagement after taking over. It was a meeting convened by INEC. And for us to attend a meeting convened by INEC and make useful contributions, that should tell everybody what that means.”
Makarfi, who also told the lawmakers that his committee would not do the bidding of any interest but to reconcile all aggrieved forces and eventually conduct the national convention, said: “I said it yesterday that we are not representing any block of interest, we are representing PDP interest and our doors are open. Nobody should sit back thinking that we are likely to do this or not do that as we are here for all of you. We are here for all PDP men and women and for all Nigerians.”
Meanwhile, in his remark during the visit, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said: “We appeal to you to carry everybody along, let all the stakeholders be involved to ensure that we are really democratic. Nigeria expects so much from us and we should not disappoint them. We want to assure you of our support, our solidarity.”
On his own, Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, commended members of the committee for not demonstrating the attitude of selfish politicians.
“You told Nigerians unequivocally that you were not elected national chairman but a committee set up in line with the constitution of the party. That showed clearly that PDP is a party that believes in the rule of law. The party has the power to set up any committee, including the National Working Committee (NWC). It can even assign the functions of the national convention to that committee, which was the case with your committee.” Akpabio said.
Sheriff had described the handing-over of the affairs of the party to the caretaker committee as illegal, null and void.Sheriff, who claimed that he remained the party’s national chairman in a statement signed by his Media Adviser, Inuwa Bwala, said the handing over exercise was null and void.
He said: “Our attention has been drawn to the activities at the national secretariat of the PDP to the effect that some individuals masquerading as leaders have handed over to Ahmed Mohammed Makarki under a contraption called ‘caretaker committee’.
“We state as a matter of fact that going by proceedings still pending in the courts to the effect that Senator Ali Sheriff remains the national chairman, whatever transpired was null, void and of no effect whatsoever.
“Sheriff has not mandated anybody or was his authority obtained by Uche Secondus, who had been parading himself as acting on behalf of the national chairman.”