The Ahmed Makarfi –led leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ahmed Makarfi, has described the sacked National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff, as a distraction that threatened the very existence of the party.
Addressing journalists in Abuja on Thursday, spokesman of the PDP, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, said the erstwhile chairman put the party in extremely difficult situation throughout the 14 months the leadership crisis lasted.
“The distraction caused by Sheriff and his loyalists put us under intense pressure to a point that we could not pay salaries of secretariat staff while the crisis lasted,” Adeyeye added.
Among others, he blamed Sheriff for the party’s defeats in the Edo and Ondo States governorship elections where Sheriff fielded parallel candidates against the party’s choices.
According to him, the task of uniting factions created by Sheriff in the various state chapters has become a difficult one that would require a great deal of wisdom for the party leadership to accomplish.
The party spokesman said doing justice to the numerous distortions created by the former chairman would certainly hurt some groups and individuals who benefited from the illegal parallel structures erected by Sheriff in some states.
“On the way forward, we are going to do justice that some people may certainly not be happy with because doing justice might hurt some people, particularly those occupying certain positions illegally. These people will surely lose their positions,” Adeyeye stated.
Some of the states where parallel structures were erected by Sheriff during his 14-month reign included Ondo, Anambra, Imo, Ekiti, Ogun, Osun, Lagos, Adamawa and Kaduna among others.
Adeyeye, however, announced what he described as “general amnesty” for Sheriff and his loyalists under the new leadership, warning however that further infractions after the amnesty window would attract the appropriate sanctions.
The party spokesman lamented that the distraction caused by Sheriff’s recalcitrance affected the focus and sense of direction of the PDP in its role as an opposition party.
He accused the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) of unprecedented arrogance and impunity in the running of the country, saying the PDP now has a solid platform to take on the APC.
Adeyeye said: “Now we are in the position to offer viable opposition. The APC should be prepared for a virile and credible opposition; the type they gave us before the 2015 general elections.
“With the Supreme Court judgment, Nigerians now look up to the PDP as an alternative platform to actualise their hopes and aspirations. We are going to roll out our programmes in the days ahead, after due consultations with all stakeholders”.