Why we won’t accept Sheriff as PDP Chairman – Fani-Kayode

Femi Fani-Kayode
Femi Fani-Kayode

A factional chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ali Sheriff, will not be given support because he is an agent of the ruling All Progressives Congress, a chieftain of the opposition party said Sunday.

Femi Fani-Kayode, a former minister of aviation, said in a statement copied to PREMIUM TIMES that Mr. Sheriff had been working actively to weaken the PDP from inside in order to give APC an easy wave through the next general election.

“This is a man whose fundamental purpose and ambition in life is to sell the PDP down the river and to help the ruling APC and the Buhari government to destroy us and win the presidential election in 2019,” Mr. Fani-Kayode said.

The comments were in reaction to a recent judgement of the Port Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal which affirmed Mr.  Sheriff’s position as the authentic chairman of the PDP.

Mr. Sheriff went to court last year after he was eased out as the chairman of the party, three months after he was installed.

The party replaced him with an interim leadership —headed by former Kaduna State governor, Ahmed Makarfi— at its botched national convention in Port Harcourt in May 2016.

A defiant Mr. Fani-Kayode said he and others like him stood with Mr. Makarfi’s committee and will not recognise Mr. Sheriff as the face of the PDP even if he eventually prevailed at the Supreme Court.

“Sheriff is the Angel of Death to the PDP. He is worse than the bubonic plague: not only is he a curse to our party but he is also an affliction to our nation,” Mr. Fani-Kayode said. “I stand with Ahmed Makarfi and our Caretaker Committee.”

Mr. Fani-Kayode slammed Mr. Sheriff for “insulting” PDP governors who championed his emergence as chairman despite the warnings he issued against such move at the time.

“I read his insulting comments about [Governor Ayo] Fayose and [Governor Nyesom] Wike and I laughed. Are these not the very same people that brought him in the first place and convinced others in the PDP Governor’s Forum to support him?”

Mr. Sheriff’s spokesman, Inuwa Bwala, declined comments Sunday evening.

But Wale Oladipo, the national secretary of the Ali Sheriff-led PDP, dismissed Mr. Fani-Kayode’s attacks as “merely his opinion.”

Mr. Oladipo also pushed back against allegations that his faction is working for the APC.

“How can we be working for the APC?” Mr. Oladipo queried. “When we were in government for many years, did opposition work for us?”

Mr. Sheriff’s victory at the appellate court was seen by some in the crisis-plagued major opposition party as a major boost for his legitimacy.

Ben Murray-Bruce, a PDP senator from Bayelsa State, urged all stakeholders in the party to rally behind Mr. Sheriff or risk sending the party into oblivion.

“I am supporting Ali Modu Sheriff because it is the only way to preserve the party,” Mr. Murray-Bruce said.

“We will work with Ali Modu Sheriff and go to a convention.

“Right now, PDP is on a course towards destruction and abiding by the judgement of the court is the only thing that can save us,” he added.

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