Chieftains of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are at loggerheads over the botched attempt by former President Jonathan Goodluck to ensure peace in the troubled party.
At the centre of the crisis are Rivers State Governor, Gov Nyesom Wike, his counterpart in Ekiti, Ayo Fayose, the court-backed chairman of PDP, Ali Modu Sheriff and former President Jonathan Goodluck.
The incumbent chairman of the party, Sheriff had accused ex-President Jonathan of receiving N50million bribe from Rivers State Governor, Wike to organise a stakeholders forum in order to make nonsense of his alleged genuine efforts to restore sanity and peace to the PDP.
Sheriff had advised right thinking individuals to intervene by letting Wike know that the public funds he was allegedly mismanaging belonged to the good people of Rivers State and should not be frittered on party crisis.
But Jonathan who indeed organised the meeting denied Sheriff’s allegation, alleging it was an attempt to smear his image.
Rivers State Governor himself had denied the allegation while Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose said the latest allegation by Sheriff against former President Goodluck betrayed his purported desperation to destroy all that was left in the PDP to the advantage of the ruling political party—All Progressive Congress (APC).
Specifically, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike on Thursday described court-backed National Chairman Ali Modu Sheriff as a mole of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The governor claimed that the Federal Government was sponsoring Sheriff because of the “destructive crisis that has engulfed the APC at the national level”.
The governor spoke at the Sharks Stadium in Port Harcourt, the state capital, after receiving defectors said to be from the APC.
His attack on Sheriff coincided with the chairman’s allegation that the governor gave former President Goodluck Jonathan N50 million to organise the botched PDP Stakeholders’ meeting.
Dr. Jonathan had denied the allegation, saying that he convened the meeting out of his genuine concern for peace to reign in the party.
Wike said: “Sheriff is a mole of the APC who is being sponsored by the Federal Government. They are sponsoring Sheriff because of the crisis in the APC “.
On the 2019 general elections, Wike said the alleged plan by INEC to rig in Rivers State would fail.
He advised that only card readers should be used for the 2019 poll, adding that manual accreditation would lead to the manipulation of results.
Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose said Sheriff has taken his desperation too far by accusing the former president of taking bribe.
Fayose, in a message by his media aide, Lere Olayinka, stated: “If Sheriff has taken his desperation to serve his paymasters in the APC to the level of accusing Jonathan of being bribed to organise peace meeting for the PDP, there is no reason for any sane mind to continue to respond to the continuous advertisement of his political insanity.”
Sheriff, who spoke through his deputy, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh at a news conference at the party’s secretariat, said Governors Wike and Fayose recruited Dr Jonathan into a fake peace effort pre-determined to scuttle the ongoing peace initiative in the party.
“The result is that President Jonathan was lured into committing a serious breach of protocol that led to the failure of the exercise which was the intended outcome,” Sheriff said.
According to him, Wike and the media chief, Dr Raymond Dokpesi, have already established their own political party.
Their mission, he said, is to tie the PDP down with undue controversies. He said the party was worried that the amount of money Wike was spending on the crisis could smear the image of the PDP.
“This money belongs to the people of Rivers State and it should not be misappropriated at the expense of the people to whom it rightfully belongs.
“We therefore call on party leaders and Nigerians to refrain from accepting these money from Governor Wike in line with the spirit of our founding fathers,” Sheriff added.
The party chairman restated his determination to go ahead with the plans to organise a convention for the party, saying preparations for a free and fair exercise were in top gear.
Sheriff directed state chairmen of the PDP to send to the party secretariat the lists of all statutory delegates to the convention on or before April 27.
He added that the National Executive Committee (NEC) would hold on May 3.
Dr. Jonathan, who spoke through his media aide, Ikechukwu Eze, dismissed Sheriff’s allegation that he collected N50 million from Wike.
“I don’t think anybody will believe that Jonathan collected money from anybody to organise the meeting. It was out of his genuine concern to bring peace to the party. “