The caretaker committee chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ahmed Makarfi, has taken over the party’s secretariat which had on different occasions been sealed off by the police owing to the leadership tussle between Makarfi and Ali Modu Sheriff.
The supreme court on Wednesday declared Makarfi as the authentic chairman of the PDP – ending a 14-month leadership battle.
Speaking with party supporters at the complex, the PDP chairman described the judgment as “no victor, no vanquished’’, saying “we must be open to reconciliation, but there’s a caveat”.
“Reconciliation does not mean we take what belongs to people and give it to you. It must be based on equity, equality and values,” he said.
“With this caveat, we should be prepared and willing to reconcile with everybody.
“Anybody that can meet these criteria, we should be willing and open to reconciliation with such a person, no matter who they are.”
On May 22, 2016, the police sealed off the PDP headquarters after “confusion” at the party’s national convention in Port Harcourt a day before.
On June 13, 2016, Sheriff took over the secretariat following a court order.
When he first arrived at the party’s headquarters, he said his mission was to “resume officially and takeover”.
However, he was stopped from entering the complex by security agents stationed at the gate, to the disappointment of his supporters, who were armed with placards and were chanting songs of solidarity.
He alighted from his car to address journalists, saying he remained the national chairman of the party until 2018 based on the ruling of a court that reportedly affirmed his position.
He, thereafter, asked the police officers to vacate the premises, but they did not comply.
After making multiple attempts to enter the place but was barred from doing so by police officers stationed there, he went to speak with Solomon Arase, former inspector-general of police (IGP), on the matter, and was assured that he would be allowed in when his supporters had pulled back.
But when he returned a second time and sought to make his way in, he was stopped by the police again.
He then left the premises, only to return a third time, eventually succeeding.
The complex was sealed off again after Makarfi appealed against the order of the court recognising Sheriff as PDP chairman.
But on Wednesday the gates of the secretariat were opened to Makarfi and his supporters amid celebration.