The Sheriff faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is set to pull a fresh fast one on the rival Makarfi faction.
It is plotting a membership registration update as it forges ahead with the planned national convention, it was gathered yesterday.
It may also have concluded plans to dump the peace pact facilitated by the Governor Seriake Dickson reconciliation committee.
Party sources said the Sheriff-led PDP resolved to carry out a fresh registration of party members ahead of the planned national convention which is expected to usher in a new leadership for the troubled opposition party.
The decision was taken at a stakeholders’ meeting in Abuja attended by states chairmen.
The move is part of the efforts of the faction to strengthen its hold on the structures of the party from the local government level to the national level.
“It came as a suggestion from our state chairmen who thought there is need for the party to be returned to Nigerians,” a source said.
“It was argued that the crisis took a toll on party membership at the grassroots level. The issue of serial defection of our members in recent times also came up. The issue is receiving serious attention from the relevant arms of the party. I can assure you that we will soon open our doors to Nigerians to come in and take their party back.
“Since May 2015, the defection of PDP leaders and members to APC has taken place in all the 36 states of the federation. It is our fear that the defection of prominent PDP leaders will continue if we allow ourselves to be tied down by these deceptive peace moves and processes that had led us nowhere.
“Our resolve it to forge ahead by doing everything necessary to reposition PDP. Senator Sheriff and other leaders of our party, having satisfied their conscience so far by giving listening ears to various forms of peace proposals, from the mundane to the serious, are now convoked that peace can only come from within the PDP, not from people being sponsored to destabilize us, but pretending to be part of us.”
The convention is tentatively scheduled for June.
It was learnt that the party resolved to withdraw its participation in the peace process drawn up by the committee.
Another source said:”Our position, as a party, is to move on with plans to host the convention. We are forging ahead with the process of giving our party a new leadership as soon as possible. “We also resolved not to be part of any reconciliation with any group or persons again. As far a s we are concerned, there is nothing to reconcile again. Genuine PDP members are with us and they are ready tom move on with us.
“The meeting in Abuja which was attended by almost all our leaders from all the states put an end to our participation in the charade they call peace meetings. We now know that those meetings and parleys are designed to slow us down and keep the PDP in unnecessary crisis. I can tell you that there is no crisis in the PDP anymore.”
But it appears the decision to back out of the peace deal was also taken at different fora, according to multiple sources.
“Following series of strategic meetings by the leadership of the party with various interest groups and influential party leaders, including serving and former public office holders, many chieftains of the party who were, before now standing aloof while the two factions struggled for supremacy, have been recruited into the plan,” one of the sources said.
“It is a general notion, as we speak, that we need to bring more people into the party, especially from the grassroots. The PDP, as conceived by our founding fathers, belong to the people. Having resisted the evil plan by a few persons masquerading as party leaders to hijack the PDP for selfish reasons, it is time to return the party to the people.”