Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caretaker Committee Chairman Senator Ahmed Makarfi has denied that he was under any pressure to step down and withdraw cases he instituted against the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff faction of the party.
The PDP has been embroiled in a fresh leadership tussle since the Appeal Court in Port Harcourt affirmed Sheriff as the party’s national chairman.
Following the judgment, Sheriff and his team have taken over the PDP National Secretariat.
But notable organs of the party, such as the PDP Governors Forum, the Board of Trustees (BOT) and the Forum of former ministers have reacted to the development with a view to find lasting solution to the logjam.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan had met with key stakeholders of the party and the two factions.
Reacting to alleged pressure on him to step down, Makarfi told The Nation in a telephone interview that there was no truth in the report, alleging that it was a propaganda from the camp of Sheriff to confuse party members and the country.
“I am not in the habit of dishing out propaganda as a strategy to confuse party members and Nigerians. I am even surprised that I could not be reached to authenticate the story before it was published. Nevertheless, let me say it categorically that I was not been pressurised by anybody to step down as the chairman of the caretaker committee.
“There is no iota of truth in the report. I have not been pressurised over any matter and I am not in touch with Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson over any issue,” Makarfi said.
Makarfi, who was Kaduna State governor between 1999 – 2007, dismissed reports that the alleged pressure on him was a fall-out of the intervention of Jonathan after he met with the party organs, especially the Governors Forum, the Board of Trustees and other stakeholders.
He insisted that it was not true that he was advised by anybody to relinquish his position as a way out of the crisis, saying it was a figment of the imagination of those employed by the Sheriif camp to cause confusion.
“Yes. We are aware of the proposals that were made after President Goodluck Jonathan’s meeting with the governors. And Prince Adeyeye has issued a press release on the matter. So, there was nothing like pressure from any quarter,” Makarfi stated.
Makarfi also washed his hands off the purported plans to register the Advanced Peoples Democratic Party (APDP).
Makarfi, in a statement Sunday signed by the spokesman of the caretaker committee, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, said neither he nor any of his committee members had any hand in plans to register APDP.
He said there was no way his committee would abandon structures of the PDP for the Sheriff faction and proceed to register another party.
The statement said: “We state clearly and without ambiguity that the National Caretaker Committee of the PDP is not in any way involved in the plans to register any party by the name APDP or any other party for that matter.
“It is unthinkable that the National Caretaker Committee, which without any doubt enjoys the support of all the recognised organs of the party, will contemplate such a move.
“We, however, acknowledge and recognise the rights of party members to seek alternative platform to actualise their political dreams, which is an inalienable right guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We also wish to state clearly and without ambiguity that the National Caretaker Committee is holding leadership power in the parry in trust for the millions of party faithful, who instituted the committee at the National Convention.
“Whatever decision that will be taken on the PDP brand shall be taken by the owners of the party, for example, the party members at a properly constituted national convention and not by a few individuals, no matter how highly placed.”