…in bid to save Sheriff
•Mimiko sends chartered jet to Abuja • Embattled party chair pleads with ex-Minister Turaki
•Ex-ministers meet Tuesday
Governor Segun Mimiko of Ondo State on Friday February 19, 2016, on behalf of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors, launched a fresh initiative to save Senator Ali Modu Sheriff from being humiliated out as National Chairman of the PDP.
Mimiko, who doubles as chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, invited some former ministers in the cabinet of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan to a meeting to beg them to accept Sheriff who was picked by PDP governors as the party’s new national chairman.
Many influential members of the PDP, particularly ministers in the Jonathan Administration, are uncomfortable with Sheriff’s leadership of the party, and are threatening to dump the party if the governors’ decision is not reversed.
The party’s Board of Trustees (BoT) is not disposed to confirming Sheriff’s nomination either.
The governor dispatched a chartered jet to convey the ex-ministers to Abuja for the parley but some of them declined to honour the invitation.
They opted to meet on Tuesday decide their next line of action.
The Forum of ex-PDP Ministers may be expanded to include those who served under ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo and ex-President Umaru Yar’Adua .
Mimiko, investigations revealed, is greatly disturbed by the negative reactions sparked by Sheriff’s selection.
A well placed party source said: “In the last 72 hours, Mimiko has been personally reaching out to all the aggrieved ex-Ministers, state chairmen of PDP, Senators, members of the House of Representatives and members of the Board of Trustees(BOT).
“Today (yesterday), a chartered jet was provided by Mimiko to bring the aggrieved ex-Ministers to Abuja but some of them shunned the sudden invitation. A delegation led by ex-Minister of Special Duties, Tanimu Turaki (SAN), however, left for Akure.
“Mimiko is trying to pacify all groups in order to allow Sheriff to be in charge. He does not want the crisis in the party to degenerate further.
“The governor has been making calls to all those who are against Sheriff. He asked them to sheathe their swords. He is trying to save Sheriff. The truth is that Governors Ayo Fayose and Nyesom Wike led us to this mess.
“The ex-Ministers are however adamant. They have fixed a meeting for Tuesday to decide the next line of action.”
Sheriff himself has embarked on reconciliation shuttles to strategic leaders of the party.
For a start, he has paid a surprise visit to Turaki, who is coordinating the Forum of ex-PDP Ministers.
Another source said that Sheriff seemed to be monitoring the ex-Ministers’ meeting.
“Before the meeting ended on Wednesday night, Sheriff was already waiting in Turaki’s home. He begged the ex-Minister to prevail on his colleagues to give him the opportunity to lead the party,” the source said.
“The ex-governor assured Turaki that he would not disappoint the party if allowed to lead the party.
“But there was no concrete assurance from Turaki who said he would consult widely.’
Fani-Kayode explodes over Sheriff’s selection
Aviation Minister in the Obasanjo Administration, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, said yesterday that he found Sheriff’s coming distasteful, evil and godless. Fani-Kayode said the former Borno governor is nursing an agenda to fly the party’s Presidential flag in 2019.
He said Sheriff’s selection as the party’s national chairman cannot stand.
He said: “As a consequence of this calamitous decision, we have, literally overnight, become a shell, nay, a shadow, of what we used to be. Unfolding events will prove my assertion true. I have no doubt that time will eventually prove me right and vindicate me.
“The bitter truth is that this arrangement is an affront against the Living God and it cannot stand. Yet, if it does stand, the party will pay a heavy price for it because it will inevitably lead to the end of the PDP as we know it.
“Imposing Ali Modu-Sheriff is an insult to all those that have fought for, led, served, defended, supported and risked everything for the party, at every level, over the last 17 years. Only the deeply malevolent can be comfortable with such an arrangement.
“It is evil. It is godless. It is indefensible. It is shameful, and as long as it stands the PDP does not have the moral standing or authority to criticise or condemn others. Those that made this decision behind closed doors and without proper or wide consultations have murdered sleep.
“They have not only betrayed the confidence that the rest of us bestowed upon them but they have also prepared the coffin for our great party and dug its grave. It is a tragedy of monumental proportions and I have little doubt that God will judge them for what they have done.
“Ali Modu-Sheriff’s long-term plan to highjack the leadership of the party for as long as possible, remain as National Chairman indefinitely and emerge as the party’s presidential candidate in 2019 will fail because it does not have the blessing of God. Time will prove me right.”
Fani-Kayode praised the BOT and state chairmen of PDP for rejecting Sheriff’s selection.
He added: “The truth is that appointing him as our Acting National Chairman is like appointing Jack the Ripper as the leader of the Conservative party in Victorian England.
“Kudos must go to the elders in the PDP Board of Trustees, a number of State Party Chairmen and a number of key individuals in the PDP Ministers Forum for taking a courageous and noble stand by rejecting and resisting the imposition of this abominable monstrosity.
“What Ali Modu Sheriff stands for and represents is utterly repugnant to every fibre of my being. Yet, I have no objection to his being a member of the PDP simply because politics is a game of numbers. It is a game in which everyone, no matter how big or small, counts. If you want your party to grow and make progress you must accept the good, the bad and the ugly.
“To this end, when he left the APC and joined the PDP sometime back, I was one of those that gladly welcomed him into our ranks and defended him in the public realm. This was at a time when others criticised the party for accepting him.
“Evidently, we have sold our birthright and heritage, not just for a mess of pottage like Esau, but rather for a free ride on a private jet.
“This is what a party that was once led by successive groups of seasoned and formidable intellectuals and great men of power, vision, courage and good character has been reduced to. This is what the party that was founded and once led by giants like President Olusegun Obasanjo, Chief Tony Anenih, General Ibrahim Babangida, General Aliyu Gusau, Alhaji Adamu Ciroma, General T.Y. Danjuma, Vice President Abubakar Atiku, 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 and so many others has degenerated to? What a pity! What a monumental tragedy!
“This is a party that once boasted of having in its ranks many promising and dynamic bright young stars that were collectively capable of shaking the very foundation of the civilised world and creating new frontiers and greater hope for the future of our people and our beleaguered nation. How are the mighty fallen.”