By Ben Agande,
In this interview, the former Deputy Chairman south of the Peoples Democratic Party, Dr Cairo Ojuogboh speaks on the lingering leadership crisis and proffers the way forward in the tussle between Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and the national caretaker committee headed by Senator Ahmed Makarfi.
He says though Senator Sheriff is the only leader recognized by law, the only way to resolving the crisis is to come to the negotiation table and for each party to compromise their positions.
What is the position of Ali Modu Sheriff vis a vis the court ruling that the Makarfi emergence is in tandem with the provisions of the constitution of the party.
We have always maintained and Ali Modu Sheriff believes and also truly knows that the judgment from Port Harcourt was influenced; the emperor of Ikwere specifically procured that judgment, the reason was simple.
The emperor of Ikwere and his cohorts want to inherit the PDP that is why when leaders of the party like the governor of Bayelsa state, Seriake Dickson, Chief Edwin Clark, called for caution and called for political solution to the lingering process, we believed that reason should prevail.
But people have argued that Sheriff was foisted on the party by governors and the argument goes further that if those people who brought you said that we no longer want you, why not just go in peace, why put the whole party into jeopardy?
That is why we have always said that God does not make mistakes. Remember Paul in the Bible he was persecuting Christians but somewhere along the line he changed and he became one of the biggest and greatest apostles of Christ. Today, Sheriff is the agent of change. They brought Sheriff to use him to oppress the poor masses of the PDP but somewhere along the line Sheriff said no, I am an agent of change.
But is he popular enough in the party to carry out the changes?
How many PDP members have you seen address the press to say Sheriff should stay or go or not to go? Can’t you see there is a deafening silence?
But some say this hard position could affect you in Edo and Ondo States?
I am very surprised that you are saying taking this hard line position. Sheriff has come out to say he told the entire world, this is the position that we find ourselves and this is where we want.
The issue of Edo or Ondo does not even arise because the court has given a position that it is only Sheriff who can bring the candidate and that particular interlocutory order has not been vacated, it will only be vacated on the 25th of October and if INEC makes the mistake that it is making now, INEC would be ridiculed and that is what we have said.
Some stakeholders want Sheriff and Makarfi to step down for a former National chairman of the party to preside at the convention? Do you agree?
Of course when that position was advocated, Makarfi said no. What sheriff has said and he has repeated it before everybody, look Makarfi and your group step down, I step down and we join and you nominate persons to conduct the convention which is what a gentleman can do.
Have you tried to solicit the intervention of the immediate past president in this crisis since he is one of the major beneficiaries of the PDP?
Yes, the immediate past President is from my zone, the South South and he is one of my leaders, I respect him, I love his candour.
What is the way forward?
The way forward is that people who think they have purchased judgment from Port Harcourt, that they are now on top of the world, they have made a very huge mistake, they should have a rethink and we should come back to the drawing table honestly to tackle the problem.
Is it true that your faction is being sponsored by the APC and how many governors are in support of Sheriff?
God is wonderful and He is omnipotent and God is great. Before now people were saying APC was sponsoring Sheriff.
From what has happened, the supposed INEC interpretation of the court judgments, from what is coming out from the court cases, does it now look like APC is supporting Sheriff? If INEC can rule against Sheriff, that is where we are, so that does not even start.
So it is now clear to Nigerians and the entire world that Sheriff is fighting from the point of law and fighting for the people of Nigeria.
As for the governors supporting Sheriff, every time you see the gathering of these usurpers, watch which governors are not there, any governor that you see is not there is supporting Sheriff.
And let me tell you, watch the leaders in this country, any person that is not among them is supporting Sheriff. Let me tell you, Sheriff is the authentic chairman and he remains so.