Thursday, 18 February 2016

Ex-ministers to Jonathan: we don’t want Sheriff

Ex-ministers to Jonathan: we don’t want Sheriff

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders remained disunited last night over the choice of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as acting chairman.

The choice has pitched President Goodluck Jonathan against members of his former cabinet.

Jonathan backed Sheriff but some of his ministers disagreed.

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 Sheriff’s imposition

The ministers’ session was still on as at 8.30pm.

It was learnt that Dr. Jonathan has called to congratulate Sheriff who he allegedly described as “the right choice for the opposition”.

A top source said: “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.”

A source at the ex-ministers’ session said: “We are parting ways with ex-President Jonathan if he is adamant on Sheriff. The battle line is drawn. We respect our principal, but he got it wrong this time around.

“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.

“We knew the NWC and the governors have a different agenda. With Sheriff, the PDP cannot go far in 2019. Jonathan and these leaders should listen to the Board of Trustees (BOT) members.

“Jonathan can afford to take the risk with Sheriff because he has reached a dead end politically. We will not allow the ex-President to ruin our own future. Public perception does not favour Sheriff.”

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.”

A member of the National Working Committee (NWC) insisted: “we subjected all the candidates to a rigorous test and it was Sheriff that excelled”.

Sheriff did not officially take over at the secretariat yesterday but was in Umuahia for his first official shuttle – the thanksgiving service by Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.

He reiterated that he will lead the party to victory in 2019.

He said: “We are here today, we are starting from here, and we are going to Aso Rock, Insha Allah by 2019.

“We will head from here and we will do it together. This  my long cap is prepared to lead my colleagues and brothers to Aso Rock, Insha Allah.

“By the grace of Allah, nothing will deter this party from going to Aso Rock in 2019. By the time we put down our master-plan I am sure they (APC) will go back to where they came from. And Insha Allah, nothing will stop us.

”From what I have seen in the stadium, it is clear that his (Ikpeazu’s) election is the election of the people. It is election that God has destined. It is not election that we call it election by air, election by writing. This is the election of the people.”