Wednesday, February 17, 2016 7:22 am
The Peoples Democratic Party has sunk deeper into crisis after a section of its leadership picked former Borno State Governor Ali Modu Sheriff as the party chairman on Tuesday.
Governors elected on the platform of the party and members of the National Working Committee (NWC) endorsed Sheriff’s candidacy for the job, which former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman Nuhu Ribadu turned down.
The governors and NWC members okayed Sheriff, but the Board of Trustees (BoT), chairmen of state chapters, senators from the South-south and Southeast – where the party has most of its senators – and members of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s cabinet, rejected Sheriff’s choice.
Sheriff was governor between 2003 and 2011 when the Boko Haram crisis gathered momentum and he had been accused of actually nurturing the sect. He was a member of the ANPP, one of legacy parties that fused into the APC, and left to join the PDP in July 2014.
Sheriff failed to deliver Borno to the PDP in the last general election.
Some members of the BoT left yesterday’s meeting in protest when they saw the direction the meeting was going.
Before the meeting ended, party spokesman Olisa Metuh told reporters that Sheriff had been endorsed. He later said that more consultations would be made.
He said all the organs of the party endorsed the former governor at separate meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday.
According to him, 29 aspirants indicated interest in the race but the Northeast zonal caucus pruned the list to five.
Among the contestants were Girgiri Lawan, Mohammed Wakil, Wilberforce Juta, Abdullahi Jalo, Ahmed Gulak, Ahmed Fufai Alkali, Saidu Kumo and Shehu Gabam.
He confirmed that Ribadu did not show interest.
The party did not state the criteria used in picking Sheriff. an ally of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The tenure of Adamu Mu’azu, which Sheriff is meant to complete, is expected to end next month. But Metuh could not confirm the expiry date of Sheriff’s tenure, saying the decision would be made public later.
It was learnt that some forces in the party, led by Governors Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti) and Nyesom Wike (Rivers), coordinated the “sudden” choice of Sheriff.
It was gathered that other PDP governors later joined the fray to form a new power caucus to “hijack the party’s leadership”.
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