Opening up for the first time since his war with PDP Governor’s started, National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff has said that all the excuses being given by the Governors as reason for their plot to remove him were laughable and lack any common sense.
Talking exclusively to our correspondent, against the background of what led to his fight with the governors, the former Borno State Governor said he never mentioned to anybody that he wants to be President in 2019 and could not have offered the vice Presidential slot to Ayodele Fayoshe, because he familiar with the Ekiti State Governor’s antecedents and character.
According to him, “I am eminently qualified to seek for the presidency of Nigeria, but I have never told anybody I want to be President, but even if I want to be I cannot offer such a sensitive position to a character like Ayo Fayose, who has exhibited gross disrespect for others”.
The PDP leader said, it was not true that he made promises to any of the Governors, rather, he tried to tolerate them as stakeholders, knowing that none of them can manipulate, bribe or dominate him to do only their biddings in a party as big as the PDP, with so many big names on parade.
Challenging any of those who alleged that he made promises to come up with a single proof of any commitment he made to them or anybody for that matter, stressing, I am by far their senior and I have done all these things they think they can do in the party, but I do not deserve the type of treatment they want to mete out to me”.
Sheriff said he is too experienced to serve as somebody’s Man Friday, or hatchet man, rather he was being humble because that is the only way he can win back the confidence of people in the party, as he was only interested in returning the PDP to its former glory.
Meanwhile, national TRAIL has been investigating Sheriffs war with the Governors and reports that, three months or there about ago, following the removal of Rt. Hon. Uche Secondus as acting chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP from office, names of prospective replacement for Adamu Mu’azu were forwarded to the National Executive Committee of the party. Initially, the name of former governor of Borno State Senator Ali Modu Sheriff was not there. Rather, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff nominated former minister of the FCT, Mohammed Abba Gana from Borno State, but endorsed the then Zonal Vice Chairman, Girgiri Lawan from Yobe State and who was apparently the consensus candidate from the northeast.
National Trail observed that, owing to the fact that, the party was still convulsing and there was the need for the party to have someone with both political and financial muscle to administer the affairs of the party, governors and members of the National Executive Committee begs Modu Sheriff to steer the affairs of the party.
It was gathered that Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and his Rivers State counterpart, Nyesom Wike coordinated the sudden choice of Sheriff, before other governors later joined the fight to create a new power caucus. Their ultimate target is to have the party’s leadership under their firm control. The governors believe that the control of the structure of the party will help them to determine those to admit and how to influence the trend of internal politics towards 2019.
They are just out to dictate the pace for strategic reasons and part of the grand plans for 2019. Another reason these governors, led by Wike, Fayose, Henry Seriake- Dickson (Bayelsa) and Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo), opted for Sheriff because they think as a key stakeholder behind the merger of the All Progressives Congress (APC), he can help decimate the governing party. The politics of choosing Sheriff is a stop-gap politics targeted at infiltrating APC. Sheriff boasts that he knows the secrets of APC. They want to use the ex-governor of Borno State as a rallying point for political realignment in 2019.
National Trail reports that, prior to his coming, PDP was hit by leadership crises at all levels and the party’s leadership crisis picked up after Adamu Mu’azu stepped down as the party’s national chairman, when he could no longer hold the boat in the wave that seemed heading for a wreckage. The Wadata House was virtually left open to whosoever cares to stick his neck in the troubled waters. It was a major confusion with every PDP member waking up from sleep to head for the Wadata House to self proclaim the chairmanship position only to vacate the seat when the heat becomes unbearable for another to take the next day. There was a backlog of unpaid salaries and other indebtedness staring at any bold character that steps forward to claim the seat at the green, white and red building. Many who walked into the building came out sweating and with their tail in-between their legs they left. The governors who seemed to have all the muscles are in no position to preside in their states as well as hold the position for their interest in the future. It was at this twist that they approach Sheriff Their position conveyed to an end, a seven months rule of Prince Uche Secondus as acting chairman of the opposition party. The governors, after their meeting in Abuja they approached Prince Secondus to hand over the party’s administration to the current National Secretary, Prof. Adewale Oladipo. They additionally censured the attack of the political group’s national secretariat by an associate of the previous President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, Ahmed Gulak, who is driving a group of the party members in the continuous crisis. Going by the governors’ position, Prince Secondus will return to his unique position as a deputy national chairman.
However, the leadership crisis escalated following the emergence of Ali Modu Sheriff as the party’s Acting National Chairman. The governors on the party’s platform and National Working Committee (NWC) members clashed with the Board of Trustees (BoT), states chairmen and senators from the South-South and South-East geo-political zones. It was gathered that persons loyal to the former president rejected Sheriff’s choice after the party’s governors and NWC members accepted him. But Sheriff turns out to be the man they have all been waiting for, when he began to put the piece together assuring the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC that, he has come to change – the change come 2019.
This was believed did not go down well with the ruling party knowing the person of Sheriff and his political capabilities. It was also gathered that, some individuals who sees Sheriff as a threat to the 2019 election set mechanism in motion to make the seat even more hotter for him but despite their schemes both within and from the ruling party, which is believed to be using certain individual from within did not seemed to be having effect on Sheriff’s leadership of the major opposition party in the country.
Within one month, the bit and pieces of PDP was being put together. The salaries of staff were paid and debts cleared. The morale of members went high and the party once again is becoming the darling of Nigerians. But the decision which was part of efforts to bring the party back on track was jeopardized when crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) assumed a new dimension with governors under the platform of the party, dumping Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff as the National Chairman of the party.
Their grudge with Sheriff even after the BoT’s vote of confidence on him to continue in office until 2018 follows their individual political interest. The governors believe that, Sheriff will nurse the ambition of contesting the Presidency in 2019; as such both Fayose and Wike developed interest of becoming running mates to Sheriff presidential dream even when Sheriff had not showed interest to run. Mimiko whose tenure ends in November is also nursing the ambition of becoming the party’s national chairman and wants to strike a deal with Sheriff to seal his ambition at the time his tenure as governor will end.
All of them were wrong about Sheriff. By the time they all realized that Sheriff won’t be easily wooed and not one they can toy with to satisfy their political dream in 2019, the tune of their songs for Sheriff started changing, thus bringing the party to the present state of affair.
Having perfected all plans to deal with Sheriff, the same from among them, the betrayal sneak out to inform the chairman of their next move, this was to disgrace Sheriff at the convention. That however, also failed owing to a Federal High Court order stopping the PDP convention last Saturday. Although the Wike, Fayose group had joined the aegis of Concerned PDP Stakeholders Forum, led by Prof Jerry Gana, who earlier held a parallel national convention in Abuja, to form a new caretaker under former governor of Kaduna State, Ahmad Makarfi, their efforts met a brick wall when the court failed to recognize Makarfi, the new caretaker chairman but Sheriff.
Meanwhile, gladiators in the ongoing crises rocking the PDP are seen sneaking into the Maitama resident of the former Borno state governor to pay homage and loyalty. Some of them confesses to the fact that, they were deceived into joining the other group but have return to the fold to back Sheriff in his effort at repositioning the party to capture power in 2019.
But whether or not their coming back to join with the Sheriff is for the good of the PDP or sneaking to further create avenue for more trouble for the party. One thing is certain. The crises as it is now may make or mare the PDP chances in the build up for 2019. The ruling APC seemed to be enjoying the mood and is watching development in the PDP. In the days ahead, the situation will either call for the total reconciliation of the party or its complete disintegration