THE ruling APC might have dismissed the PDP chairman’s vow to wrest power from President Muhammadu Buhari come 2019, but analysts believe the APC has under-wraps a scheme to neutralize Ali Modu Sheriff at the appropriate time.
Sheriff, no doubt, represents a clear and present danger to the APC. And the PDP governors that rooted for his chairmanship are well aware of his potential: his means and men available to damage the ruling party.
“The All Progressives Congress (APC) knows Senator Ali Modu Sheriff’s capacity in terms of political network, being a three-term senator, two-term governor, and must be afraid that with such a person as the PDP Chairman, their regime of lies will be over soon,” said Ekiti’s Governor Ayo. Fayose.
As far as money goes, Sheriff is almost unrivalled in the PDP. Those familiar with the Borno ex-governor told the National Daily he controls about 40 percent of the trans-border trades between northern Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Mali.
“And every new prefect appointed in those countries has to visit Sheriff in Borno to have his blessings,” the source told the National Daily.
The party men shocked by Sheriff’s appointment are also aware of the origin of his wealth. “One thing that I know is that most of Modu Sheriff’s funding and stupendous wealth emanates primarily from the Republic of Chad and that that country is as much a home to him as is Nigeria,” Femi Fani-Kayode, a PDP loyalist said in an article he published following the appointment.
According to the former spokesman of PDP’s presidential campaign in 2015, the chairman’s allegiance is more to the Republic of Chad than it is to Nigeria. “And it is argued he is an agent of the Chadian intelligence agencies and that he is a Chadian citizen who often flaunts his Chadian passport,” he wrote.
And to prove how much Sheriff is worth in Chad, President Derby, following Sheriff’s angry exit from the APC in 2014, had to pull out of the regional alliance President Buhari forged in the counterterrorism campaign Nigeria champions against Boko Haram.
According to sources, Sheriff and Derby hold the ace to solving the Boko Haram problem in the region.“I am in PDP so as to make the necessary intervention for my people. If it takes me to be sleeping 24 hours in the Presidency for my people, I will do just that,” he said when he first left the APC in 2014.
But what appears to be Sheriff’s strong suit may eventually become his nemesis when APC swings into hardball politics with him. The EFCC has been investigating Sheriff who spent eight years as Borno’s governor.
And if the commission’s findings are damning enough, says political observers, the PDP chairman may end up in the EFCC dragnet—like Olisa Metuh and other party stalwarts did.
Besides, the Boko Haram theory could also turn a good weapon in the hand of the APC. Apart from the old story Sheriff created Boko Haram for political reason, which he has consistently denied, the confirmation by the Australian hostage negotiator, Stephen Davis, equally increases the weight of the allegation.
These, obviously, are not allegations the APC can prove in a jiffy. They, however, constitute a moral burden, according to Fani-Kayode, Doyin Okupe, and others who have criticised a Sheriff chairmanship.
Many in the party rump believe the appointment is a tragedy for the PDP. “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,” Fani-Kayode lamented.