Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa has declared that the Barr. Kingsley Esiso led Executive Council of the Delta State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, loyal to the Ahmed Markafi Care-taker C’ttee, is the authentic Party leadership in the state, even as he has endorsed the decision of the PDP led Senator Ahmed Markafi Care taker Committee, to challenge the February 17, 2017 decision of the Port-Harcourt Court of Appeal declaring Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as the authentic Chairman of the PDP, at the Supreme Court.
Governor Okowa’s declaration echoed the contents of a Communique presented at the end of a Delta PDP stake holders meeting held on Saturday February 25 at the party secretariat in Asaba to appraise the state of the party in the state and the emergency stakeholders meeting convened by the Senator Ahmed Markafi faction of the PDP in Abuja, in the wake of the Port Harcourt Appellate Court ruling.
The Delta Governor said, “the decision of the Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt, has nothing to do with the congresses that had already been concluded at the Wards, Local Government Areas, State and Zonal levels, so the leadership of the Olorogun Kingsley Esiso led executive is the authentic PDP exco in Delta state. The same applies to the leadership of the party at the ward, Local government and zonal levels, all of which had been approved by the NEC of the party before the May 21, 2016 convention”.
Speaking further and in tandem with the Communique, Governor Okowa said, “There was nowhere in any of the Court Judgments where the Court said the convention cannot hold. One Court judgment ruled that there should be no election into the offices of the Chairman, Secretary and Auditor of the Party, while another said there should be no election into the other remaining 18 Positions of the party executive. In respect of the conflicting Court rulings and as true democrats, the convention, as the highest decision making body of the party, decided to forget the elections completely and instead appoint Senator Ahmed Markafi Care-taker C’ttee to pilot the affairs of the party and organize the next convention”.
The Communique, which summarized Governor Okowa’s views, also noted that “That the PDP Delta State fully endorse the prompt and proactive decision of the National Caretaker Committee to lodge an appeal to the Supreme Court of Nigeria against the decision of the Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt on the 17th of February, 2017, in a split decision in CA/PH/349/2016 SHERRIF & ORS. Vs. PDP & ORS, as well as filing an application for INJUCTION PENDING APPEAL all of which was done in the morning of Monday 20th February 2017.
It stated further that, “in recognition of the fact that both an appeal to the Supreme Court and an application for Injunction Pending Appeal have been duly filed and the fact that the Court of Appeal is not the final arbiter in the matter, we pass a resounding vote of confidence in the leadership of the Sen. Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party and pledge our unalloyed support to it as it pilots the affairs of the party in this critical transitional period of the party’s life.”
The communiqué, which was read by former Delta State Commissioner for Works and member of the Delta Legislature, now Chairman of the Management Board of Delta Polytechnic, Ozoro, Hon. Funkeke Solomon, then passed a vote of confidence on the leadership of Governor Okowa, as well as those of the party at all levels, even as it enjoined all stakeholders to remain calm, steadfast, loyal and be fully committed to the efforts to continue to reform the party.
Okowa, who then advised Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and his followers to wait for the Supreme judgment on the issue of the National Party Chairmanship, expressed full confidence that, in view of the split ruling of the Port Harcourt Appeal Court and the very sound argument of the minority ruling, the Apex Court will set a precedence by affirming the decision of the PDP Convention that set up the Senator Ahmed Markafi Care Taker committee.
Distinguished PDP members, who joined Governor and Barr Kingsley at the Delta PDP stakeholders meeting, included the Delta state Deputy Governor, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro, a former Deputy Governor, Chief BNC Elue and Prof Amos Utuama, Board of Trustees Members, National Assembly members, Speaker, Deputy Speaker and members of the state House of Assembly, Commissioners, Local Government Council Chairmen and Vice Chairmen, Senior Special Advisers and other Government appointees, Former National Assembly and state legislators and other critical stakeholders who are still members of the party from wards to zonal levels in the state.