The much expected conciliatory meeting of leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with aggrieved members of the party took off on a shaky note last night at the Ondo State Governor’s Lodge in Abuja.
The meeting originally scheduled for 8:30p.m did not take off as at 9.30p.m due to late arrival of expected participants.
The meeting was expected to be attended by governors elected on the platform of the party, members of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), the PDP National Assembly caucus, caretaker committee set up in Port-Harcourt at the convention led by Ahmed Makarfi as well as the group loyal to immediate past chairman of the party, Ali Modu-Sheriff.
Modu-Sheriff has refused to back down since his removal from office on May 21, at the Port-Harcourt convention, and has gone ahead to institute a court case against the party.
It was gathered that yesterday meeting was particularly delayed because of the decision of Modu-Sheriff to stay away from the meeting as he was said to have jetted out of the country on Sunday night, a move being interpreted as deliberately taken so he could have tangible excuse to be away from the meeting.
The governors were said to have been shocked to hear of Modu-Sheriff’s sudden overseas trip, given the fact that he was said to have assured the party leaders that he would be at the meeting.
Modu-Sheriff camp is the only faction in the party resisting reconciliation as the Concerned Stakeholders group led by Prof. Jerry Gana has accepted to work with the caretaker committee.
At the Ondo State Governor’s Lodge last night, it was gathered that the idea of postponing the meeting was mooted by some of the governors who were angry with the decision of Modu-Sheriff to jettison the meeting.
The reconciliation meeting, it was gathered, was called principally because of his group.
Senator Buruji Kashamu was also expected to be at the meeting as a supporter of Modu-Sheriff.
However, a close ally of Modu-Sheriff told this newspaper that the angry former chairman has made up his mind to see through his court case against the party, as he holds on to his belief that he remains the national chairman of the party.
“We are not aware of any meeting. Senator Ali Modu-Sheriff as the National Chairman of the party did not call any meeting, so it will be unwise of him to attend any meeting so called without his consent.
“Whatever decision allegedly taken by anybody or any group of persons at any illegal meeting will not be acceptable to the Chairman, he didn’t call any meeting, so, there is no meeting holding anywhere as far as Senator Modu-Sheriff is concerned”, the source said.
As at press time, the vicinity of the Ondo State Governor’s Lodge was virtually empty as the governors were yet to arrive, but it was learnt that members of the Concerned PDP Stakeholders Forum and members of the BoT were locked in a meeting at the venue.