Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, former governors, ex-ministers and chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party on Wednesday commended the Supreme Court for sacking the factional leader of the party, Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff and members of his caretaker committee.
The Supreme Court had on Wednesday removed Sheriff as the National Chairman of the PDP.
A five-man panel of the apex court led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, in their unanimous judgment, reinstated the party’s Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee, which was earlier sacked by the majority verdict of the Port Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal delivered on February 17, 2017.
Wike, ex-ministers and former governors including Dr. Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo), Ibrahim Shekarau (Kano) and PDP chieftains, while reacting to the judgement, described it as one of the most celebrated cases in the country.
They added that it was in tandem with the wishes of party members.
Speaking with newsmen after their meeting in Abuja, the Chairman of the ex-PDP Ministers’ Forum, who was also a former Minister for Special Duties, Alhaji Tanimu Turaki(SAN), said, “The judgement is hope for democracy. The opposition will continue to survive. Without opposition, government won’t be able to sit up and do the work that is expected of them.”
While he hailed the members of the Makarfi committee for their steadfastness, he congratulated other organs of the party as well as members of staff of the party.
He said, “We urge the committee to make necessary arrangements to consolidate the gains by bringing all members back to the fold. We have to be more united and strengthened because we have more challenges ahead of us as we move towards 2019.”
The ex-ministers advised Sheriff to abide by the decision of the court.
Wike also described the judgment as a victory for democracy, adding that Nigeria would now have a viable opposition.
Speaking shortly after the Supreme Court verdict in Abuja on Wednesday, the governor said, “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 the PDP.”
Wike explained that the PDP would emerge from the crisis stronger because all stakeholders would work hard to rebuild the party.
He called on Sheriff and his supporters to keep their word and work with other stakeholders in the interest of the party.
The governor said that the former PDP chairman called him last week to assure him that he would respect whatever decision reached by the Supreme Court.
Also, the Rivers State chapter of the PDP, has described the Supreme Court judgement that reinstated Makarfi as the party’s chairman as a call for unity.
The state Chairman of the party, Chief Felix Obuah, said on Wednesday that the judgment would strengthen the party the more.
Mimiko in a statement issued by his Media Aide, Mr. Eni Akinsola, congratulated the PDP leaders across the country, saying the judgment would further strengthen democracy.
He said, “…The judgement, to my mind, will strengthen our democracy and discourage political and judicial rascality of any sort as we move ahead as a nation.”
The candidate of the PDP in the last governorship election in Ondo State, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede, has said the judgement is a good development for the party and its members.
Jegede, who is a former Ondo State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in a statement circulated on the social media on Wednesday, also noted that the judgment would put an end to the leadership crisis which had led to the factionalisation of the party in the past few months.
Shekarau’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Sule Yau Sule, said the ruling had equally added impetus to the enhancement of democracy.
In his reaction, a former Acting National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, said the leadership of the party must begin work immediately, adding that members of the party must forget their differences and “begin to strategise ahead of what is ahead.”
The Ogun State chapter of the PDP, says it respects the decision of the Supreme Court on the national leadership tussle.
The party in a statement signed by the state Chairman, Bayo Dayo, also congratulated Makarfi on the landmark judgement.
Dayo, however, stated that despite the Supreme Court judgement the state executive still remained under him.
Dayo urged every member of the party in the state to remain committed to the ongoing efforts at repositioning the party.
Also, the Niger State Chairman of the party, Tanko Beji, in a statement in Minna described the judgment as “a victory for democracy in Nigeria.”
Beji praised the courage of the Supreme Court justices, saying “they (justices) have not allowed extraneous influence to determine their judgement.”
Meanwhile, the Sheriff faction of the PDP in Imo State has accepted the judgement.
This was contained in a statement issued immediately after the apex court’s judgement on Wednesday by the Publicity Secretary of the Sheriff faction in the state, Enyinna Onuegbu, who said that the faction had no other option but to accept the judgement.
The statement added, “In the interim, we urge all our members to remain calm in all circumstances while awaiting political and democratic development.”