Reconciliation in the lingering leadership crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) started on Tuesday, as leaders of the two factions of the party met and agreed to reunite.
Information about the move was revealed in a joint press conference held by Sen. Ben Obi, the Secretary of PDP National Caretaker Committee, and Dr Cairo Ojougboh, the Deputy National Chairman of Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff-led faction in Abuja.
Cairo, who read the press statement, said that the Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee, Sen. Ahmed Makarfi and the disputed National Chairman, Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff, met on Tuesday morning.
Cairo said that both leaders at the meeting had a holistic review and deliberation on the state of affairs of the PDP “without prejudice to all outstanding matters in court.’’
He added that the meeting, which was held in an atmosphere of brotherhood and understanding, was in the best interest of Nigeria and the sustenance of her multi-party democracy.
Cairo said that in reviewing the crisis that engulfed PDP since it lost the 2015 general elections after 15 years of uninterrupted leadership at the centre, it became obvious that there was the need to reunite the party.
He said “it has become obvious to both of us as principal actors that it is time to heal the wounds and bring about a united, focused and constructive opposition party.
“A party that can bring sanity to our democratic process; bring relief to the teeming supporters of our great party and to the benefit of our great country.”
The deputy national chairman also said that Makarfi and Modu Sheriff had both agreed to consult widely with relevant organs of the party.
He said that the two leaders also agreed to set up a joint committee that would carry out a holistic reconciliation of aggrieved segments of the party across the country and in the Diaspora.
“They also agreed to pursue the vision of the founding fathers of our great party,’’ Cairo said.
He added that the details of all the above would be made public soonest.
“We therefore call on party members to remain calm and refrain from any actions and utterances that could further bring about divisions or dispute in the party,’’ he added.
In his remark, Sen. Obi also affirmed both leaders’ resolve to reunite the party.
He said that “as we speak today, PDP is back as one. In due course, the two leaders will address the press on the development.”
It may be recalled that the crisis started after the May 21 Non-Elective National Convention of the party in Port Harcourt which dissolved the National Working Committee led by Sheriff and raised a national caretaker committee.
However, there was another non-elective national convention of the party which extended the tenure of the national caretaker committee on Aug. 17, also held in Port Harcourt.
Thereafter, several reconciliation efforts were made to reunite the party, including the setting up of a committee by the party’s Board of Trustees.
Sheriff had, however, laid down conditions for reconciliation with the Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee of the party.
He said that he was open to reconciliation but that everything must be done in line with the party’s constitution.
Makarfi also on Monday said his committee was ready for reconciliation with Sheriff-led faction even if it won the litigation arising from the leadership crisis.
He added that the conditions for such reconciliation must, however, be flexible and reasonable.