Chieftains and stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have reacted to the Supreme Court’s sack of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as the national chairman of the party and the declaration of Ahmed Makarfi as the authentic leader of the party.
Speaking shortly after the court had pronounced its judgement, the governor of Rivers State, Mr. Nyesom Wike said Nigeria now has a viable opposition.
“This judgment shows that there will be opposition in Nigeria. I am very happy. Rivers people are very happy because we have no other party aside from the PDP,” said Wike who also called on Sheriff and his supporters to keep their word and work with other stakeholders in the interest of the party.
“I urge them to keep their word. All of us will work together to reposition the party. The party will go back to the drawing board to move ahead.
“I don’t see any reason why Sheriff will not be a part of the party. He spoke to me last week that whatever the situation, he would remain in the party,” Wike added.
From Ekiti State, Governor Ayo Fayose said the judgement is “victory for democracy and the entire people of Nigeria who are suffering from the All Progressives Congress (APC) misrule.”
“With today’s judgment, PDP can now play its role as opposition party and prepare to take over power in 2019,” said Fayose who spoke through his special assistant on public communications and new media, Mr. Lere Olayinka.
Fayose called on “genuine” members of the party to come together for its repositioning, repackaging and strengthening saying “there will be no victor and no vanquished.”
“The ultimate winner is democracy which cannot survive without a virile opposition and the entire people of Nigeria who are already yearning for a return of the PDP, having been short-changed by the APC,” he said.
The governor commended the judiciary “for rising to the occasion at a time the ruling APC was almost succeeding in its plot to turn Nigeria to a one party state.”
Chieftains of the party in Akwa Ibom State hailed the ruling describing it as “victory for democracy and the rule of law”.
The state’s attorney-general and commissioner for justice, Mr. Uwemedimo Nwoko said the ruling had put to rest internal feuds between Senators Ali Modu Sheriff and Makarfi, which had split the party along factional lines in the last 14 months.
“I want to salute the courage of the Supreme Court justices who have asserted the independence of the judiciary in Nigeria.
“The judgment is also good for democracy in Nigeria because the PDP has shown tenacity and the ability to lead Nigeria as egalitarian society based on the rule of law,” he said.
He called on those who were misled to leave the party to come back “if they are sincere in belonging to the party.”
If their hearts are still with the PDP, they should return, but if not, they should remain where they are,” he said.
In his reaction, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce who represents Bayelsa East senatorial district, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce has described the Supreme Court ruling as a victory for democracy.
Murray-Bruce who cautioned party members not gloat over the ruling but extend brotherly hands to make the party more formidable said it was a “no victor, no vanquished” verdict.
“We are happy this nightmare is over. There is no victor no vanquished. This is also, not a time to gloat. I call on all sides to stretch out a hand of brotherhood to rebuild our great party.
“Peace is better than war and unity, better than division. This judgement is indeed a victory for democracy and together, the PDP can return to being a formidable alternative to the ruling government.”
Also speaking after the court had pronounced judgement, Delta State governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, congratulated the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led caretaker committee of PDP and described the ruling as “sound.”
Speaking through his chief press secretary, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, the governor said the ruling had put to an end the protracted leadership crisis that bedeviled the party.
“I on behalf of the good people of Delta State, home of the PDP, congratulate the Senator Markafi-led PDP for the victory recorded at the Supreme Court. It has been a tortuous journey for the party but, I am glad that the Supreme Court has put the crisis to an end.
“I congratulate members of our great party particularly the national chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi and members of the national caretaker committee for this well deserved victory. It is a victory for the board of trustees, governors’ forum of the party, national assembly caucus, state chairmen’s forum and other stakeholders.
“This judgement is victory for democracy because, the Judiciary had always proven their independence and wisdom; it is a reawakening for our great party to provide the much needed leadership for our country, Nigeria. It was a case of PDP Vs PDP; so, we should remain united and committed to the slogan of the PDP – power to the people.
“As the biggest political party in Africa despite losing the Presidential elections in 2015, it is time for us to rebuild our house, remain united, accommodate those who are leaving other political parties to the party that is truly democratic and believes in the rule of law, a political party that has the interest of the common man on the street at heart and continue to ensure that the best is achieved for the country.
“I commend the Judiciary for its commitment to setting precedence that will sustain Nigeria’s democracy; I commend all Nigerians for their prayers while the internal rumbling lasted and I give glory to God for ensuring that democratic tenets are consolidated in the country,” said Okowa.
ADDITIONAL REPORTS FROM VANGUARD, PUNCH, PREMIUM TIMES