Drama as ex-Borno governor, Modu-Sheriff emerges PDP chairman

Drama as ex-Borno governor, Modu-Sheriff emerges PDP chairman
February 17 05:38 2016

There was mild drama at Wadata Plaza, the headquarters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday as a former governor of Borno state, Ali Modu Sheriff was chosen and sworn-in as national chairman of the party.

The choice of the former All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain, who had been accused of funding the dreaded Boko Haram sect, did not go down well with some key stakeholders in the party who kicked against it.

For instance, members of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the party said Sheriff’s negative image would not do the party any good.

Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode has also kicked against the choice of Sheriff, saying the party needs a strong leadership that has the capacity to move it forward.

“If we fail to provide the strong, united, progressive, credible and focused leadership and opposition that are needed to keep our country on course and our government on their toes, then God will never forgive us and He will surely punish us.

“If we insist on making the wrong choices about our leadership, and if we keep taking people for granted, not only will we be finished as a party but the entire country will suffer the consequences of our errors and inexplicable ways,” he said.

Also, the state chairmen of the party were divided over his choice.

The national publicity secretary of PDP, Olisa Metuh, had indicated earlier that most of the party organs were backing Sheriff’s choice pending ratification of NEC.

But he returned two hours later to clarify that the BoT was still deliberating over the choice of Sheriff, explaining that the NEC had to be stalled because the BoT had different views over the choice of Sheriff.

He disagreed that the party was trying to impose a chairman on its members and said the overall interest of the party would be considered.

Sheriff was chosen as chairman by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party, and is expected to complete the tenure of the North-east, which was vacated by former governor of Bauchi State. Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu in May 2015.

The deputy national chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, had presided over the party as acting national chairman since the resignation of Mu’azu.

Sheriff was acting chairman of the defunct ANPP and was instrumental to the merger process that produced the ruling APC. He joined the PDP in 2014 after he fell out with the leadership of the APC.

Sheriff, a former Senator had arrived Wadata Plaza at about 8pm as the NEC meeting was going on and moved straight to the office of the national chairman and was later ushered into the NEC hall where he was sworn in at about 8:13 pm.

In his acceptance speech, he acknowledged the dissenting voices over his emergence and pleaded for cooperation, promising that he would not “witch-hunt anybody or leave anyone alone.”

He also admitted that the task ahead of the party is very challenging and vowed to rebuild “this party and carry everybody along and make sure PDP gets to victory in 2019.”

“By 2019, PDP will return to power and keep it forever. We will come here to celebrate by 2019; we will rule from federal centre. I ask everybody for prayers. Whatever your feelings, let’s work together. I will carry everybody along,” he said.