National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff, on Monday said he would not resign from the position as being demanded by his critics.
He spoke at the PDP headquarters in Abuja after formally resuming as National Chairman while asking aggrieved groups and chieftains of the party to sheathe their swords and forgive him for whatever grievances they may have from the past.
Said Sheriff : “I won’t resign because the leadership of the party, in their wisdom, chose me to lead the PDP for the purpose of rebuilding and repositioning the party at this critical period” .
The chairman said he would promptly embark on consultations with opposing groups and stakeholders in the party, with a view to seeking reconciliation and acceptance from all.
“I will leave no stone unturned. I will go to everybody for support. I will bring everybody on board. Let those who were not consulted before I was appointed forgive all of us for whatever wrongs have been made.
“Let us put our differences behind us so that we can overcome our challenges and rebuild the party together. If all stakeholders agree to build the party, PDP will become the biggest party in Nigeria again,” Sheriff pleaded.
According to him, it is normal for people to be aggrieved in such situations, pleading with aggrieved parties to explore available internal mechanisms to resolve the differences.
He described aggrieved parties as those who truly love the PDP, adding however that going to the media to voice their grievances would not solve the problem.
Sheriff promised to unfold his agenda as soon as he gets briefed on the present status of the PDP.
Asked whether he would only complete the truncated tenure of the immediate past chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu ‘azu which is expected to end in March, Sheriff replied that the party leadership would decide the length of his tenure “at the appropriate time.”
The chairman promised to initiate discussions with chieftains of the party that defected to other parties before the 2015 general election, with a view to wooing them back to PDP.
He dismissed reports linking him to the Boko Haram terror group, saying he never sponsored any activities of the group.
According to him, he was being targeted because he fought the group when he was governor of Borno State.
According to him, no court has ever linked him to Boko Haram, adding that reports linking him to the group emanated from the figments of the imagination of the writers.
“Boko Haram killed my own brother. They killed members of my family, so why should I sponsor people to kill my own brother, my own family. I am not a fanatic. I love to enjoy my life.
“Boko Haram are criminals who live in the bush and eat once a day. I believe their sponsors will be caught at the end of the day. I have nothing to do with Boko Haram,” sheriff said.
Meanwhile, Ekiti Governor, Ayo Fayose has asked stakeholders of the party not to allow outsiders without any stake in the PDP to dismantle it, pointing out that those behind the relentless attack on Sheriff were those who allowed the PDP to fail in the last general elections.
He singled out a former Aviation Minister, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, among the people linking him with the terror sect, saying “this time around, people like Fani-Kayode will not go scot free.”
According to his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Governor Fayose said; “it is regrettable that those who abandoned the PDP to its fate when it lost power and did not say a word to defend the party have now found their voice against a decision taken in accordance with the party’s constitution.”
The governor who reiterated his commitment to the party, said; “With my antecedent as someone who have always defended the party, I can’t be linked with any decision that will not be in the best interest of the party. I therefore call on all my admirers and believers in my dogged fight for the revival of our party to support our new chairman, whom I believe has the required capacity to reposition the party.”
He described those linking the new chairman to the Boko Haram insurgents as mischief makers, asking; “Has Ali Modu Sheriff been tried and convicted by any court for sponsoring Boko Haram? Is he even being tried for involvement in Boko Haram activities?
“Even APC Senator Ali Ndume is being tried for allegedly making contacts with the Boko Haram sect 73 times and he is still the Senate Leader.
“Also, Ali Modu Sheriff and their ‘Saint Buhari’ are in-laws courtesy of his (Sheriff) son’s marriage to Buhari’s daughter and no one has called the President a Boko Haram sponsor by association. Or are they also saying President Buhari could have allowed his own daughter to marry the son of Ali Modu Sheriff if he was indeed a Boko Haram sponsor?”