Political manoeuvring engineered by the Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, led to the appointment of a former Governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in Abuja on Tuesday, investigations by our correspondents have revealed.
His emergence was, however, received with discordant tunes from some members of the party, who felt he was not the right person for the job.
Sheriff’s name was not among those who had shown interest in leading the former ruling party until Fayose allegedly sold the idea to the PDP governors and the members of the party’s national caucus at their meeting in Abuja on Monday night.
The meeting was held at the Ondo State Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja.
The meeting of the caucus continued at the national headquarters of the party located at Zone 5, Abuja, on Tuesday morning and lasted till evening.
Our correspondents gathered that Sheriff’s name was not considered among those initially screened by the national caucus at their meeting.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Olisa Metuh, gave the names of those who appeared for screening to include Wilberforce Juta, Senator Saidu Kumo, Senator Girigiri Lawan, Shehu Gabam and Mohammed Garba.
It was gathered that the caucus was not satisfied with those who appeared for screening before it and, therefore, decided to expand the search for who would occupy the position of the chairman of the party.
During the caucus meeting at Asokoro on Monday, Metuh said, “We looked at the list and decided to enlarge it. So, we invited some other leaders from the North-East zone.
“We called four other people to come; we were able to get two of them, who are coming in any moment from now.
“One is Muhammed Wakil, the other is former Governor Ali Modu Sheriff of Borno State and the two others we have yet to get in touch with are Nuhu Ribadu and one other person.”
But there were signs that the emergence of Sheriff was not supported by the members of the Board of Trustees and some members of the National Executive Committee.
Metuh had initially claimed that the candidature of Sherif was unanimous, saying all the caucuses of the party supported him.
He had said that after the interview process, they (the candidates) were narrowed down to two persons.
Recalling the process that led to the choice of Sheriff, Metuh said, “A little over an hour ago, the national caucus discussed. The governors first of all discussed and brought a candidate, the National Assembly caucus discussed and brought a candidate, the Board of Trustees discussed and came up with a candidate, the National Working Committee discussed and came up with a candidate.
“So, we brought the candidate to the national caucus. And one interesting thing was that unanimously, it was the same candidate that every single organ of the party brought to the national caucus.
“So, the national caucus agreed that they will bring to the Board of Trustees the choice of the national caucus, after which both organs will bring the nomination to the NEC.
“So, there is no approval of the National Executive Committee, but for now, I can confirm to you that the national caucus has chosen Senator Ali Modu Sheriff to be the national chairman of the party.
“But we are awaiting the Board of Trustees approval and the NEC to appoint this afternoon. So, this is exactly where we are.”
But about one hour later, Metuh said that no agreement had been reached yet.
At this junction, it was clear that the members of the BoT were not in support of Sherrif as a majority of them were said to have left the venue of the meeting in disapproved.
A member of the PDP presidential committee for the last general elections, who spoke on condition of anonymity, expressed disgust and anger at the emergence of Sheriff as the national chairman of the party.
The member said, “The PDP is finished. This is the type of impunity that saw to our exit. Nigeria is the worse for it because this signals the end of the opposition in the country. This is why members are leaving our party daily.”
It will be recalled that the position of the national chairman of the PDP was zoned to the North-East.
It became vacant following the resignation of the former occupier, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, after the party lost the presidential election to the All Progressives Congress in May 2015.
Mu’azu’s resignation made his deputy, Uche Secondus, to assume the position in acting capacity.
However, members of the party from the North-East were vociferous in their continual demand for the office.