Since he assumed the mantle of leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in acting capacity following the resignation of Adamu Muazu in the aftermath of the surprise defeat of PDP in last year’s Presidential poll, Ali Modu Sheriff has been moving from one firestorm to the next. He seems to enjoy the oxygen of publicity which the confusion he has set off in the party has given him. This man is a nimble, wily entertainer.
Make no mistake about it. Sheriff is not in PDP to unify the party, regardless of his rhetoric. He is there to put the party in disarray. And he is succeeding. His character, his antecedents in politics which had given him stupendous wealth beyond his widest imagination, do confirm to us that he is not about to suppress his sly instincts until he inflicts irredeemable damage to PDP, and perhaps give the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) an underserved second shot at the presidency. And that is why we should be concerned, or at least shudder at exactly what is propelling Sheriff to be doing what he is doing. The truth is that Sheriff would not rest until ‘mission accomplished’. Worse still, is the fact that Sheriff is desperately searching for smoking guns to tarnish the reputation of other politicians in his machinations. The secret of his plots is becoming evident for the discerning public to see his overt subterfuge in the ongoing deepening crisis in the PDP.
Just last Friday; he ‘released’ one of his sly moves. It was targeted at the governor of Rivers State, Nyesome Wike. In an interview aired in the African Independent Television (AIT), Sheriff said that one of the things that propels him in the intra party crisis in PDP, is the next Presidential election in 2019 and who would be the party’s standard bearer.
His visage clearly depicts a character in the didactic, old children book, The Privilege Tree, a pitiful man who acts like a boy that keeps misbehaving because he is being protected by some people, only to discover later that the tree which had protected him for long has suddenly given way. In that AIT interview, Sheriff, labored and rummaged into the dustbin for a brush to tar perceive enemies in the party.
He claimed that Gov. Wike and former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus were plotting to hand the party’s presidential ticket in 2019 to a prominent leader of the APC. His words, “Wike and Secondus are working to give the party’s ticket to a man in APC who is not bold enough to leave the APC and join us”. According to him, that ‘man’ was in PDP before, and indeed, was a “founding father of the PDP”. He said he could not disclose the ‘man’s’ name, but we know who he was referring to. Don’t you? This is Sheriff’s sour cocktail against people he finds standing on his way it is part of his deceptive stratagem.
Anyway, Sheriff went a step further in his broadside against Wike. He has also alleged that Secondus told him that he and Wike always “meet this man” to strategise on plans ahead of 2019. But that he had told Secondus and Wike that they were wrong. His punch line, “if the man is bold enough let him come and join us now”.
We know that Wike and that ‘man’ have become subjects of orchestrated attacks. Wike’s rising profile in Rivers state politics is attracting a lot of enemies to him. And any one who chooses to make Wike a target could get in the good books of the government in power. And Sheriff is too smart in the delicate politics of Nigeria and how to make an outright lie take the semblance of truth. It’s all part of the schemes to hurt Wike’s political profile, the same way Wike’s political opponents have been trying without much success.
You know when a politician is telling bare-face lie. It is when he says what Sheriff said in the AIT interview: “They accuse me of working for the APC, how”?, he asked, rhetorically. He added, “I have never played games like that”. What is his evidence other than laying claims to be a founder of a political party, a Board of Trustee Chairman, a former presidential candidate, three-time senator and ex-minority leader in the Senate.
In Nigeria’s politics which we all know is a fun to follow, stupendous riches can give you all these positions that Sheriff has reeled out in his Curriculum Vitae. But money may not give you the constancy of purpose, respectability, integrity, the commanding spirit of leadership and influence that people you want to lead crave for. That is a Sheriff’s Achilles heel. To describe Wike, as he did, as a “man full of arrogance and immunity,.. too small to pocket PDP’s , and I will not allow that”, shows the absence of virtues an aspiring leader of a party needs in times of crisis such as PDP is currently enmeshed in. Undoubtedly, Sheriff is the most polarizing and divisive figure that PDP has had the misfortune of having at the helm.
Few months ago, Sheriff reminded us that he was in the comfort of his mansion in Borno State, drinking kunu when Governor Wike and Ayo Fayose of Ekiti state reportedly came knocking, asking him to come be the National Chairman of PDP. Even if that assertion is true, when does a leader know that it’s time to go? It is when the vast majority of the people you claim to lead say you can’t lead us anymore.
But Sheriff cannot come to terms with this reality. He perhaps fits into the alleged script the APC wants that will deny our democracy a viable opposition party. That’s why two attempts by the PDP to have its national convention to elect new leaders, including a replacement for Sheriff as acting National Chairman, have been thwarted by security agents, and Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, apparently executed the script by restraining PDP from going ahead with last week’s convention in Port Harcourt. Sadly, security agents enforced that order with speed while ignoring other judgments of same court of coordinate jurisdiction that validated the convention and declared Sheriff’s continued stay as acting Chairman ‘illegal’.
It really troubles the mind why Justice Abang who was last week excoriated by the Court of Appeal will continue to act in pari delictor (wrongly) on this matter involving PDP and Sheriff. The Supreme Court and the National Judicial Commission should wade in and bring this matter to a close and call Justice Abang to order. For all that matters, PDP will remain in the hole it has found itself if Sheriff remains at the helm of the party. He has done the party so much harm already.