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North dumps Sheriff, endorses PDP P’Harcourt Convention



There are indications that leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the Northern part of the country have left its embattled factional Chairman, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff in the cold.
The Northern Leaders Forum of PDP has set up a 16-member committee to select aspirants from the northern states for national offices in the party, while also insisting that the party’s national convention will hold as scheduled.
The move by the Northern Leaders came just as the PDP Governors Forum told the party’s Board of Trustees, BoT, that it is finding it frustrating making Sheriff come on the same page with the rest of the party.
Convener of the Northern Leaders Forum, Prof. Jerry Gana, disclosed the screening of aspirants from Northern states after the group’s meeting on Saturday in Abuja. He added that the meeting was in preparation for the party’s national convention scheduled for Aug. 17 in Port-Harcourt, Rivers.
According to him, members of the screening committee were drawn from all the northern states with Senator Ibrahim Mantu as chairman.
“The mandate given to the committee is to screen all the aspirants from the northern states and ensure that credible persons are presented at the convention.
“The committee will help us to screen, discuss and interact with the aspirants so that you will know the people behind the submission that we will make.
“We want this committee to do its best to ensure that they recommend the best candidates.
“If they are not good, we don’t want to waste our votes. When we are voting, we will not put them on our agenda,” Gana said.
Gana, disclosed that the national convention of the party would hold as scheduled, urging all northern leaders of the party to mobilise their people for the exercise.
“The national convention of the PDP scheduled for the Aug. 17 will hold.
“I hereby encourage all our delegates from the Northern part of Nigeria to be in Port Harcourt.
“In fact, ‎our next meeting will be in Port Harcourt before the convention begins.
“We want to assure you that by the grace of God, adequate arrangement will be made for security.
“We are never intimidated by the kind of things people are talking. We are going to Port Harcourt.
“This party needs to be solid so that we have national officers that will direct the affairs of this party,” he said.
In the same vein, governors elected on the PDP platform, Saturday lamented their frustration in getting Sheriff to be on the same page with the rest of the party.
The governors expressed their frustration at a meeting with the party’s BoT in Abuja.
The meeting had Governors Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo, Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti, Darius Ishaku of Taraba, Nyesom Wike  of Rivers and Ibrahim Dakwambo of Gombe in attendance, while the BoT team was led by its Chairman, Senator Walid Jibrin and a former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu.
According to reports, the governors were offended by Sheriff’s conditions for peace, which included the postponement of the convention by one month and that he should be allowed to handover to the next National Chairman.
According to a source close to the meeting, the governors reasoned that postponing the convention is a trap from Sheriff because, by the end of August 20, 2016, the Makarfi Caretaker Committee will cease to exist, thus creating a vacuum, which Sheriff hope to capitalize on.
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