BY ANASTASIA ODOCHI
Employees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have given reasons why they cannot return to their duty posts despite the reopening of the national secretariat by the court-reinstated national chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff.
They said they would only resume work at the national secretariat as soon as either the decision of the Court of Appeal is fully complied with as regards the composition of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party, a political solution is reached, or the case on the leadership crisis is conclusively decided at the Supreme Court.
The staff, numbering 127, addressed a press conference in Abuja on Monday where they said that the environment was not secure enough for them to perform their duties.
Apart from safety concerns, they said they were taken aback to find out that the judgment of the Appeal Court was being implemented in the breach by Sheriff, and that he had handpicked those working with him on processes that are alien to the PDP constitution.
The Director of Administration at the PDP headquarters, Alhaji Gurama Bawa, who read out the position of the staff, lamented the ordeal the workers had faced in the wake of the leadership crisis, during which demonstrators and protesters violently chased them out of the offices.
“Following the judgment validating the National Convention by the FHC (Federal High Court) in Port Harcourt, members of staff were requested to resume duty in May/June, 2016. They did so.
“In the few days we reported for work, we were harassed and intimidated by demonstrators and protesters. We were violently chased out of the offices, many had to run away leaving their personal belongings which we understand have now been vandalised by unknown persons,” he said.
He said members of PDP staff were not desirous of resuming work after having been made victims of problems they never caused, and were concerned about their safety.
He said that the fact that Senator Sheriff’s leadership currently consists of only three of the reinstated NWC members, this implies, he added, that it lacks the required quorum to carry on with the activities and functions of the party.
According to Gurama, the only three NWC members as of May 21, 2016 that were working with Sheriff and remain with him are Prof. Adewale Oladipo (National Secretary), Alhaji Bala Buhari (National Treasurer) and Alhaji Fatai Adeyanju (National Auditor).
“With the recent appeal to the Supreme Court by the Makarfi leadership, the Board of Trustees has written a strong protest letter to the Inspector General of Police against the re-opening of the secretariat to avoid breakdown of law and order, a situation which again highlights the danger that staff will be exposed to if they resume duty as directed.
“This, notwithstanding, when the acting National Chairman, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff resumed duty, we were taken aback to find out that the judgment of the court was being implemented in the breach,” he said.
Gurama gave the example of persons supposedly handpicked to serve as national officers of the party to include, Dr. Cairo Ojugboh, currently officiating as Deputy National Chairman and Hon. Bernard Mikko from the South-south geopolitical zone who now operates as the acting National Publicity Secretary as against Chief Olisa Metuh who is from South-east.