The much-anticipated inauguration of committee for the reconciliation of factional members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) scheduled for yesterday failed to hold. The two factions, headed by Senators Ahmed Makarfi and Ali Modu Sheriff, had agreed to set up a 28-man peace committee, after series of meeting between them. Sheriff who has been at the centre of the crisis, had at a recent press conference said that the two factions agreed to find a lasting solution to the crisis.
“We are going to set up a 28-man committee to prepare a way forward. The committee will be inaugurated on Tuesday (yesterday). “We are compiling the list. It is true that we have reached understanding, but there is no position paper from anywhere,” he said. PDP expanded caucus, which met about two weeks ago, also endorsed the peace move.
The meeting was attended by Chairman of PDP Governors’ Forum, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, the Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku, as well members of the Board of Trustees (BoT), the National Assembly caucus and state chairmen.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, had told newsmen that “the peace move has been finally endorsed and supported by members of caucus without any dissenting voice.” But the inauguration of the committee failed to hold on yesterday despite the presence of some state chairmen and other stakeholders of the party at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, venue of the event. Sheriff and members of his faction, however, failed to show up.
Those who showed up were restricted to the reception lobby as there was no hall booked for the event. It was gathered that Sheriff was the one who made the choice as he rejected the Shehu Yar’Adua Centre proposed by the National Caretaker Com- mittee, as venue for the inauguration. “Sheriff said he want a neutral venue not the Yar’Adua Centre because that was where the caretaker committee holds most of its meetings.
“He is the one that supposed to book the hall,” a staff of the party disclosed. The factional chairman was also said to have refused to release names of nominees for the reconciliation committee. Each of the factions was expected to nominate 14 members who would make up the committee.
It was also gathered that PDP governors were opposed to the proposed peace committee because Sheriff was “not sincere about it.” They were said to have cited last week’s ruling by the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, which was in favour of Sheriff’s candidate for the Ondo governorship election, as their reason. The governors were said to be meeting at Ondo Governor’s Lodge, but there was no sign of such meeting when New Telegraph left there about 4p.m., for the venue of the botched inauguration.
After spending about 45 minutes, waiting for the inauguration, newsmen were advised to return to their offices “instead of loitering around.” They were promised to be contacted if there is any development. Special Adviser to Sheriff on media, Inuwa Bwala, when contacted, said there were issues with the committee’s terms of reference. He, however, could not offer further explanation. Bwala disclosed that Sheriff would not attend the inauguration.
Also, when contacted, Adeyeye said he was not in Abuja and could not know why the event did not hold. He expressed surprise that the inauguration failed to hold. “So, it did not hold? I am in Ekiti now. I will call to find out,” he added.