The controversial choice of Ali Modu Sheriff as the new chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is still reverberating within the one time ruling party as some members are wary of the effect such a name could have on the party’s brand even as it tries to rebuild and regain the confidence of Nigerians.
Apart from the division within the various party organs, reports indicate that there is also division within the camp of former president Goodluck Jonathan, as some of the ministers who served under his government and who still have ambitions to hold office in future are worried about the choice. Jonathan however supports the choice of Sheriff and has even called the former Borno governor to congratulate him.
The ex-ministers said they might review their membership of the PDP should Sheriff’s candidacy be upheld. About 15 ex-ministers in Jonathan’s cabinet met last night in Asokoro, vowing to resist the appointment of Sheriff. Their former boss, Jonathan, who became close to Sheriff in the last year of his administration, however believes that considering the battle ahead, a man like Sheriff was the right fit for the party.
According to a source who spoke with The Nation newspaper, “Jonathan believes that Sheriff has the guts, influence, native wisdom and the wherewithal to lead PDP to displace the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Jonathan and the governors teamed up to choose Sheriff who was part of the leaders who coordinated the merger of parties into the APC.
“Their aim is to have an opposition with much bite in the light of the way the APC government is exposing Jonathan’s tenure. They are looking at the rough side of politics towards 2019 and they think Sheriff can withstand the APC.”
His former ministers however said they may part ways with their former boss as a result. Some of them believe that Sheriff has an insurmountable perception problem and the only reason Jonathan can support such a choice is because he has reached the pinnacle of his political career.
“We do not need Sheriff to reform PDP. And he cannot actually lead the party for some obvious reasons. He is not a team player and he has many controversies surrounding his style of politics,” said one of the ministers.
The spokesman for former ministers in Jonathan’s administration, Dr. Suleiman Abubakar, in a terse statement in Abuja, said: “Our rescue mission has failed, the redemption boat has capsized and our journey to recovery has come to an end.
“Whosoever partook in the decision does not mean well for the party and democracy in Nigeria. It is obvious the fifth columnists have hijacked the party and they are hell bent on sinking it deeper into irrecoverable level of the pit.
“Some of us would rather review our membership than subject ourselves to selfish interests of a cabal whose main goal is political profiteering. After all our umbilical cord is not tied to any party.”