Wednesday, 25 April 2018

After 1 year lost to National Chairman of PDP, Ali Modu Sheriff Joins APC

Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, who last year lost the
post of the National Chairman of the opposition
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in a long battle
that was finally settled at the Supreme Court, will
rejoin the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)
this afternoon.
Sheriff, a former governor of Borno State and
three term senator, will return along with PDP’s
2015 gubernatorial candidate in Borno State,
Alhaji Gambo Lawan.
The APC National Publicity Secretary, Malam
Bolaji Abdullahi, confirmed to Daily Trust
yesterday that Senator Sheriff would be received
formally into the party today.
“The information I heard is that it will be
tomorrow (today) at 12(pm),” he said.
That the event will take place in Abuja and with
no officials of the party or government in Borno
state is indicative of the problem that lies ahead.
Already, a source close to Shettima said the
governor is also strategizing and has his plan B.
Daily Trust learnt that Sheriff’s defection would
have taken place yesterday but for the Federal
Executive Council (FEC) meeting which lasted till
Again, the National Chairman of the APC, Chief
John Odigie Oyegun, who was billed to receive
Sheriff, was also engaged in a meeting with APC
governors over congresses and national
convention of the party.
It was reliably gathered that Sheriff and Lawan
recently met President Muhammadu Buhari after
which he directed the leadership of the APC to
accord special recognition to Sheriff and accept
him into the party.
Sources said President Buhari discussed many
issues with the former Borno governor and at the
end gave his nod for the defection.
He then directed Chief Odigie-Oyegun and other
leaders, including the National Secretary of the
party, Maimala Buni to personally receive Sheriff
and his fellow defectors.
“The president had also directed the Secretary to
the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss
Mustapha who is also from the North East to be
part of the event,” one of the sources said.
“But because of the two important meetings
yesterday, the reception for Sheriff and others
could not hold but it would definitely take place
tomorrow (today),” he said.
Another source said after the national secretariat
of the APC received Sheriff and others today, “the
celebration would move at a later day to
Maiduguri, the Borno State capital where
thousands of PDP supporters would be received
into the APC.
“What would happen tomorrow in Abuja is a mark
of respect for Sheriff but I want to assure you
that he had done all the processes of defection
from his ward in Ngala town in Central Borno.
The Borno APC is fully aware that he is coming,”
he said.
Speaking to Daily Trust yesterday, Alhaji Gambo
Lawan confirmed that they would be received by
the APC leadership in Abuja today.
“Yes, we have moved to the APC; I and former
Governor Sheriff have left the PDP for the APC
and there are reasons.
“Sheriff for instance is only going back home; he
is the father of APC in Borno, he is a founding
member of the party because he partook in
taking the ANPP as one of the legacy parties that
formed the APC.
“He only left the APC in 2015 when he was
unfairly treated during the sharing of leadership
positions when his candidate for the national
secretary, Matawalli Kashim Imam was short-
“So there is nothing new; Sheriff is the face of
APC in Borno and the North East; he is the one
who enthroned the incumbent governor and is
behind the success story of many politicians.
“For me, I am not use to defection but was
compelled to leave the PDP because it has been
hijacked by some few people; the party has not
“And most importantly, politics is local; Borno is
APC and it is for President Buhari. Our joining the
party with millions of our supporters will
strengthen it in Borno and environs,” he said.
There was no immediate response from the Borno
State chapter of the APC. The state chairman of
the party, Ali Bukar Dalori could not be reached at
press time.
Sheriff and Governor Kashim Shettima, who is the
APC leader in Borno State, had parted ways for
long. Efforts to reach the spokesman of the
governor, Isa Umar Gusau were not successful as
his telephone line was switched off. The state
Commissioner for Information, Dr. Mohammed
Bulama could not also be reached.
But a member of the Borno State Executive
Council who spoke in confidence said they were
aware Sheriff would join the party.
“Yes, the governor is aware but you should know
that membership of political party is a personal
thing. The governor will not stop Sheriff from
joining APC. You are all aware that the governor
did not stop him when he wanted to leave the
party after the 2015 general elections,” he said.
Another source said Shettima is also strategizing
on the way forward. “He is a politician and he is
not sleeping; in fact he has his plan B but he will
definitely not leave APC for Sheriff.
“You should know that Sheriff does not have any
electoral value; he could not secure a senate seat
for himself and with all the support he had from
Jonathan, he could not secure any seat for any
politician either at the state or national assembly
in 2015. It was Shettima that delivered
everything,” he said.
There were insinuations that a key figure in the
Presidency who had issues with Governor
Shettima was instrumental to Sheriff’s defection.
Sheriff who was a three term senator joined the
PDP after the 2011 elections and got close to ex-
President Goodluck Jonathan.
In the build up to the 2015 elections, he wielded
enormous influence to the extent that at the
height of the Boko Haram crisis, the Maiduguri
International Airport, which was closed for
months, was opened to allow Sheriff land with
his personal jet for campaigns.
A PDP youth leader in Maiduguri, Umar Sanda,
who spoke with our correspondent on phone, said
they were aware of Sheriff’s defection.
“Yes, he has gone but we are not perturbed;
many of us would not follow him; we would
remain in PDP,” he said.

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