In defence of Ali Modu Sheriff

Ali-Modu-Sheriff-1POOR Ali Modu Sheriff has been going through severe strain and stress since his emergence as chairman of PDP. Those who hate his guts do so with a passion. Those who love him deployed states funds to lease aircraft to ferry lobbyists across the country to appease his enemies. But PDP BOT is adamant. It says ‘Sheriff is not suitable as national chairman of the PDP’. Ayo Fayose says “his emergence at this time is the best thing in the present circumstance’. Sheriff himself is resolutely determined to stay put. “I do not plan to resign, I will not resign’ he has declared. Fani Kayode and Doyin Okupe are blowing hot and cold.

But the question is, if not Sheriff, who else? He is a man of great wealth. But many believe Sheriff like other products of the Babangida School of Democracy who saw politics as investment, invested heavily in politics in 1999. This has yielded bounty dividends. He was a two term governor of Borno State and one term senator. And finally, as a member and former chairman of APC Board of Trustees (BOT) until 2014, I think he is adequately equipped for a controversial job many have likened to that of an undertaker.

In any case, if we are talking of an association of rancorous group of men permanently engaged in war of attrition over sharing of spoils of office, a group described by John Campbell as ‘an elite cartel at the center of power in Nigeria with no ideological or programmatic basis, but simply as essentially a club of elites for sharing of oil rents and political spoils’, I cannot see a man more eminently qualified than Sheriff, a man of drifting loyalty.

Sheriff in my view is by far is more honorable than most PDP past chairmen. Records before Nigerians clearly show that apart from the late Awoniyi and Audu Ogbe who retained their integrity after serving as PDP chairman, Sheriff seem to be head and shoulder taller than all others. And if his offence was that he decamped from APC to PDP only in 2014, his tormentors and supporters are no less guilty. Fani Kayode himself has moved in and out of PDP. While still in APC, he once wrote off Jonathan claiming his “chapter has been finally closed by OBJ with his letter”; predicted “All Progressives Congress, APC, would form the next government at the centre” and wrote off PDP saying “PDP as we once knew her has gone forever; the ship has hit the rocks and she has sunk to the bottom of the sea; she is dead and buried”. That was before Jonathan offered him the lucrative job of Director General of PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, (PDPPCO)

Fayose had moved from PDP to Labour. As for Olusegun Mimiko, he is a serial ‘decampee’, whose motto appears to be ‘water has no enemy.’ In a desperate attempt to undermine the integrity of Sheriff, Fani Kayode says a man with link with Boko Haram is not qualified to run the affairs of a party like PDP founded by ‘men of great vision, courage and good character’ such as General Ibrahim Babangida, President Olusegun Obasanjo, Vice President Abubakar Atiku, Chief Tony Anenih, President Umaru Yar’Adua, President Goodluck Jonathan, Chief Bode George, Col. Ahmadu Alli, Chief E.K. Clark, Professor Jerry Gana, Dr. Chuba Okadigbo, Chief Ken Nnamani. Apart from searching without finding any record of Sheriff’s disservice to the nation, one is tempted to ask, what are the legacies of Fani Kayode’s PDP men of great ‘vision, courage and good character’?
Babangida introduced SAP against the advice of informed Nigerian intellectuals. It resulted in the collapse of our budding industries and reduced Nigeria to importers of the labour of other societies. Obasanjo and Atiku mismanaged the privatisation programme selling off $100b assets Nigeria’s founding fathers built up between 1958 and 1998 for a paltry $1.6b. Nigeria lost everything hotels, airlines, insurance firms, Ajaokuta Iron and steel industry, fertiliser company, and Eleme Petrochemical plant built with tax payers’ $2.4b but sold for $215m as well as the World Bank projected seven million jobs.
Those currently weeping louder than the bereaved fearing PDP’s descent into factional chaos will deprive the country of much needed opposition voice should wipe their tears. An association of wheelers and dealers that as a ruling party raped our nation for 16 years through dubious self serving policies such as privatisation, monetisation, setting up of PPPRA to import fuel instead of ensuring we refined our own fuel domestically cannot as an opposition party perform the patriotic role of ‘keeping the APC on track, influencing public opinion, and providing a shadow for the ruling party’.

PDP doesn’t deserve to survive. Even Dr. Doyin Okupe, who reaped abundantly as a leading member of PDP has come to terms with the terrible fate of his party. According to him, “if it is the divine will of God that our present masters must kill PDP, then by the Grace of God we shall yet tarry at the graveside to bid it farewell.” Why must people now weep louder than the bereaved? Fellow compatriots, please join me in welcoming Sheriff, the eminently qualified PDP undertaker.

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