Modu-Sheriff: PDP’s Unwise Gamble
Things have definitely not been the same again for the Peoples Democratic Party after the party got displaced at the centre on march 28, 2015 presidential election. Losing a presidential election by a ruling party comes with its pains. Only those who wear the shoes know where they pinch.However, what is certain is the fact that the erstwhile ruling party got its dream of ruling for 60years truncated,and it has been embroiled in a myriad of crises since it lost the centre.
It would be recalled that no sooner had the PDP lost the presidential election than its =members left the party in droves.Frrom Ondo to Edo, Jigawa to Imo, kwara to Gombe, the story is the same .Among those swept away by the gale of defection to the ruling party are: Chief Olusola Oke (former national legal adviser of the PDP), Chief Oserhiemen Osunbor (former governor of edo state), etc.
Following the dismal outing of the PDP in the last presidential election, it’s former chairman, Adamu Muazu, reportedly pressured by surviving PDP governor to hand in his resignation on allegation surreptitiously working for the then opposition party (APC) to disgrace the PDP. The former PDP chairman either bowed to pressure or honorably resigned on May 20th, 2015, paving the way for his deputy, Uche Secondus, to act as Chairman. However, the emergence of Uche Secondus, who is from the South-South, did not go down well with some PDP members. They argued that the position had been zoned to the north-east. This prompted former president Jonathan’s adviser on Political Matters, Ahmed Gulak, to head for the Federal High Court, Abuja. Gulak got secondus sacked via an order by the Abuja high court. The rest, as they say, is history.
But the dust raised by the ruling of the Abuja h igh court has not settled. The party must look the way of north-east politicians for its chairman going by the verdict of the court. Prominent PDP politicians from the region are Aliyu Modibbo, Ahmed Gulak, Wilberforce Juta, Bala Mohammed, Ali Modu-Sheriff etc.Of all the political heavyweights that eye the PDP chairmanship position, the person the party considers to be worthy of being its chairman is former Borno governor, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff.
Ever since the announcement of the new PDP chairman, the party has been excoriated from within and outside the party. The hue and cry about Modu-Sheriff’s emergence stems from the fact that he is viewed in some quarters as the founder and sponsor of the notorious and dreaded Boko Haram sect that has sorrow tears and blood as its trademark.In an article widely circulated in the traditional media and the new media, a chieftan of the party and former aviation minister,Femi Fani-Kayode, established similarity between appointing Sheriff as PDP chair and appointing jack the Ripper as the leader of conservative party in Victorian England. “On what basis can we accept as our National Chairman a man who established, encouraged, supported and nurtured an organization that later metamorphosed into Boko Haram? Asked Fani-Kayode.
Naturally, being a huge fan of president Buhari, it’s expected that I throw a mockery party to celebrate the impending doom of the PDP. But I want the PDP to survive for a virile opposition party can only deepen our democracy and bring out the best in the ruling party. This explains why I don’t want the PDP to die. As a matter of fact, no true patriot should be happy about any slide to a one-party state. We need the PDP to be strong to keep the ruling party on its toes.This is why who becomes the party’s chairman rightly generates strong interest from within and outside the party.
So, where do I stand? For a party enmeshed in crisis and still trying to finding its feet after it got its nose bloodied by the ruling party, its national leader should be impeccable in character, a bridge builder and charismatic. Modu-Sheriff clearly doesn’t’ fit the bill judging by the groundswell of opposition to his emergence, even from his party. His choice is a big mistake .If the claim by some PDP chieftains-Fani-Kayodde, Doyin Okupe that sheriff’s deep pocket and private jets informed his choice, then the party needs to be told it needs more
than money to win elections,especially at the centre.
The party can learn from the primary of the ruling party where integrity triumphed over the lure of dollars. Five men threw their hats in the ring and the tallest in integrity and ‘’poorest’’ beat men with deep pockets and went ahead to conquer the highest office in Nigeria. Indeed a good name is better than silver and gold. Not even all the money in CBN’s vault can buy it.
Some folks have argued that an alleged sponsor of Boko Haram insurgents,Ali Ndume is also a member of the ruling APC.The want Modu-Sheriff to be left alone.This argument is watery and dumb.APC has not made Ndume its chairman.Besides,it is the PDP that wants to dislodge the ruling party,it must not be caught in acts that ‘’demarket’’ itself.Rather,it should be doing all it can to rebrand itself in order to warm itself to the hearts of Nigerians
Now that the major organs of the PDP have reportedly agreed to work with the controversial PDP chairman with a resolve to hold the party’s convention in the next three months, it is incumbent on the leadership of the party to push forward its best if it truly seeks resurgence. Wiith the moral baggage Modu-Sheriff carries and the grievous allegations hanging over his head, it is impolitic to retain him as the chairman of the nation’s leading opposition party in order to rebuild it. It is a sad advertisement of the party’s obsession with self-destruction.
Ladesope Ladelokun, Ogun State.