Hopes of an immediate end to the legal tussle that had frustrated political activities in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) dimmed yesterday, as the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction vowed to appeal the judgment of the Court of Appeal, recognising Ali Modu Sheriff as the authentic national chairman at the Supreme Court.
Also, state governors elected on the platform of the party have rejected the decision of the appeal court.Reacting to the ruling yesterday, Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum and Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose, described the judgment as “a rape on our democracy” and vowed that the party would appeal the judgment.
Chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), Senator Walid Jibrin, said all the organs of the party remain loyal to the Makarfi-led caretaker committee and would support the party decision to appeal the judgment.
Fayose said: “If the people truly symbolise what a party is, then the machination of our detractors and the anti-democratic organs will not prevail at last.
“We commend the minority judgment of the appeal court and we believe the truth will prevail. “We thank God we have another opportunity to seek justice at the Supreme Court, which I believe will not be delayed or denied. It is a party matter that must be addressed as soon as possible.
“The party will appeal the judgment, as we believe in the ability of the judiciary to do justice.”“It is a price to pay to keep our democracy alive and opposition strengthened. We are prepared to go the whole hog,” he said.
While restating his regrets for playing a role in the emergence of Sheriff, Fayose said he acted with the best of intentions. Jibrin said members of the party nationwide should remain calm, as the party consults with its various organs.
“Whatever one does in this world, he must fear God. All evil machinations must end. The truth will prevail. Therefore, this judgment is not a threat, but it will bring us together.“I appeal to all our members to remain calm and not panic or move to any party, as all efforts will be made to ensure that the party remains PDP to the dreams of our founding fathers.”
Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, enjoined all PDP faithful not to be anxious over the ruling.In his immediate reaction in Abuja yesterday, Ekweremadu said: “There is no cause for alarm. The party leadership will meet as soon as possible to take a decision on the best way forward.
“Those dreaming about the death of the opposition in Nigeria will have to sleep much longer and still wake up to meet us much stronger, because a vibrant opposition is the beauty of democracy.”
Spokesman of the Makarfi faction, Dayo Adeyeye, announced its intention to appeal against the judgment, which he said would not stand.But a member of the Sheriff faction and a former auditor of the party in the Southeast, Uwakwe Ifeanyi Regis, urged all loyal party members to sheathe their sword and embrace peace.
He told The Guardian in Abuja that the main task ahead is that of rebuilding the party by winning back the confidence of all members.
Regis stated that the judgment was a victory for every member of the party and for democracy, adding that there is neither a winner nor a loser.
He urged all members to abide by the promise not to appeal the judgment, saying it was not a good thing for PDP that some members were already talking of forming another party.
He insisted that PDP remains a stronger party, despite its losses at the last general elections.Former Minister of Aviation and chieftain of the party and supporter of the Makarfi-led committee, described the lead judgment as a victory for President Muhammadu Buhari.
Fani-Kayode said in his twitter handle, @realFFK: “The decision by the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt to recognise Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as the National Chairman of the PDP is a victory for @MBuhari.”