by Stanley Azuakola
For some time, there have been doubts over what side of the divide he belongs. Some papers had stated ‘authoritatively’ that the Peoples Democratic Party had penciled him as the henchman to frustrate the APC plans in the North. But no one had heard from the man himself, Ali Modu Sheriff.
A lot of people would find it surprising that it almost seems like Sheriff is being courted like a beautiful bride. The man, who was Borno governor for eight years and not a very successful one by most accounts is nonetheless still an influential politician in the nation’s Northeast. He’s also relevant considering that he is the chairman of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), one of the merging parties.
On Wednesday night, Sheriff attended a merger session of the APC in which he reportedly told excited members that: “I am for All Progressives Congress (APC).”
He said this at a session of the merger committee as the APC steps up its effort to complete all the other pending deliverables like a party constitution and manifesto.
Below is a report which gives account of what transpired at the meeting,
A source at the meeting said: “When the ex-governor joined the session, a member of the Merger Committee, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, drew his attention to media reports on his political future, a possible deal with Vice-President Namadi Sambo and alleged plans to dump the merger.
“After Dabiri-Erewa, other members also raised issues on Sheriff’s romance with the Presidency and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to destabilise the ANPP and frustrate the merger.
“We confronted him on some issues and later gave him the floor to clarify his position.
“Sheriff, who was calm, took his time to explain that his hands are clean and he said he has no cause to work against the merger.
“Although he spoke about his commitment to put ANPP through a good reform process, he said it was not in his character as a politician to undermine any good thing for the nation.
“The former governor said he had not been attending the meeting since ANPP has some representatives in the Merger Committee. He told members that he decided to attend the Wednesday session to end speculations about his political standing.”
The source quoted Sheriff as saying: “I am for APC.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “All members of the Merger Committee were happy with Sheriff’s clarifications and we all clapped for him. The ex-governor, thereafter, was more at home at the meeting.”
Another source at the session added: “Technically, the PDP has lost out in its desperate bid to frustrate the merger of the four parties.
“We are aware that the ruling party is really out to halt the merger process, that is why we are being careful in all the steps we have taken so far, including the participation of APGA.”
It was gathered that the Merger Committee has given APGA a two-week deadline to seek the resolution of the National Executive Committee (NEC) for the merger.
A member of the committee said: “I can tell you that no member of APGA in the merger committee walked out of the session. But we all agreed that we must avoid any technical slip which could affect the merger. The PDP is waiting in the wing, through its stooges, to go to court to frustrate this merger.
“This was why we decided that we will not announce the logo of APC, until they get the resolution of APGA NEC mandating them to be part of the merger process.
“The three other parties have presented the resolutions of their parties to go ahead with the merger.
“So, we have given APGA a two-week deadline to sort out a few things. But this is not to assume that there is crisis in APC.”