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Setting The Record Straight On PDP Chairman Ali Modu Sheriff by Tonye Barcanista



The Oasis Reporters

February 07, 2017

Ali Modu Sheriff

The naming of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, the former governor of Borno state as the PDP National Chairman and successor to Alhaji Adamu Muazu has generated a lot of controversy in the polity. A prominent member of this forum and staunch critic of PDP, who I consider my brother, friend, and big boss called me to mock the decision of the party. In all honesty, my reaction was more of wearing a sad face that I joined him in the mockery. Who would accept the fact that an “alleged Boko Haram founder” has been saddled with the task of navigating a party that is so engrossed in controversy and is in dire need of leadership? My initial displeasure wasn’t hidden even towards some of my PDP comrades.

However, I made up my mind to thoroughly appreciate the man Modu Sheriff and to holistically look at issues that surround his tag as Boko-Haram “founder” to establish whether or not such a moral burden on him is justified.

Sheriff: A Boko Haram Sponsor or Victim of Blackmail?

The Belief…
Before now there is this belief that Ali Modu Sheriff in preparation to 2003 election against then incumbent Malla Kachalla entered into agreement with the Yusufyya BH movement. According to “belief”, the Yusufiyya group would support Modu Sheriff’s gubernatorial bid on condition that Sheriff’s government(if elected) would implement Sharia rule in Borno state. It is also believed Sheriff’s appointment of Haramite Alhaji Buji Foi, the National Secretary of Yusufyya Movement as commissioner for religious affairs was in furtherance of the “agreement”.

The Facts…
As much as I would not want to draw myself into “defending” anybody associated with BH, I think it will be appropriate to lay this issue to bare. Facts on ground shows that sharia system was adopted in Borno state on August 18, 2000, the law was tagged ‘Borno State Sharia Administration of Justice Law 2000′. It came just over a year after Sheriff’s predecessor Bala Kachalla took office and almost three years before Sheriff took office. This fact ordinarily should nullify the rumour of purported agreement between Sheriff and Yusufiyya movement prior to 2003 election.

It is even a fact that on adoption of Sharia system in Borno state in 2000, then Governor Bala Kachalla constituted Borno State Sharia Law Implementation Committee in February, 2001 headed by Professor Abubakar Mustapha, the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Maiduguri, with Boko Haram leader Muhammed Yusuf as a member of the committee. If there is anyone that Yusufiyya would have supported in 2003 would have been Bala Kachalla, who flew the AD ticket for re-election but lost woefully to Sheriff. Why should Yusuf not support Kachalla when he not only approved Sharia system but also appointed Yusuf into Sharia Implementation Committee?

With respect to the appointment of Alhaji Buji Foi as commissioner of religious affairs, facts on ground showed that before his appointment as commissioner, Foi was Chairman of Kaga LGA(Borno state) under the administration of Bala Kachalla. It is not uncommon to see incumbent governors’ appoint former LGA bosses into their cabinet. There is no record to show any public knowlege of Foi BH activity before his appointment. It is pertinent to note that Foi resigned from Sheriff’s cabinet to join forces with the sect because the sect saw Sheriff’s government as a number one enemy.

If indeed Sheriff was a “founder” of BH movement how come it was his predecessor in office that had direct link with Muhammed Yusuf and Buji Foi? How come it was his government that first declared BH as a terrorist group in May 2010 even before the FG(2013), UK(2014) and USA(2014) declared the group as such?
How come the group killed his brother  Alhaji Goni Mustapha Sheriff, brother-inlaw Alhaji Awana Ngala, and ANPP Guber candidate for 2011 Engr, Modu Fannami Gubio? Who will kill his own paymaster? Why didn’t the group help him win 2011 Senatorial election even when his party (ANPP) won the governorship poll, Presidential poll and two seats in the Senate in the said 2011 election?

When Did APC Realise That Sheriff Is a Baggage?

Sheriff has been a member of the opposition since 1998/9. After he left power in 2011, he was appointed BoT Chairman of ANPP, that has John Oyegun (now APC Chairman) as member and also Ogbonnaya Onu (now a minister) as chairman of the party (ANPP). As BoT Chairman of ANPP, he was instrumental to the merger of ANPP, ACN and faction of APGA that formed the APC. He was also a member of APC Board of Trustees between 2013 till he left the party. He wasn’t kicked out of APC, he voluntarily resigned to pitch tent with the then ruling PDP. Now I beg to ask, when did APC realise that Sheriff was a baggage?

It is pertinent to note that prominent Borno politicians linked with BH members are members of APC including; late Senator Ahmed Zanna and Senator Ali Ndume. On October 8, 2012 the JTF spokesman Lt Col Sagir Musa released a statement to say that a BH commander Shuaibu Muhammed Bama was arrested in the house of Senator Ahmed Zanna(APC). Zanna’s only claim was that Bama was/is his nephew and he wasn’t arrested in his house. In fact, DSS had to invite Zanna for “questioning”. Despite this, the APC still went on to present Zanna for Senate in 2015 (which he won but died before inauguration). Similarly, the APC still presented Sen Ali Ndume for Senate in 2015 despite the fact that he was indicted for divulging phone numbers of prominent Nigerians to BH sect and is presently under trial for terrorism charge. If APC could present these two indicted men for election, if they could massively campaign for them, how then are they crying over Sheriff’s appointment as PDP boss?

On Sheriff’s Appointment As PDP Boss:

As much as I am not too disposed to the former Borno state Governor, I still believe that it is unfair to base opinion on him due to prejudice instead of established fact. As a party loyalist and patriotic Nigerian, I owe it a responsibility to stand for just cause for Nigeria (where my ultimate loyalty lies) and PDP (that I’m aligned with). As such, I think party members should look beyond prejudice and support the new leadership under Senator Modu Sheriff.
It is my prayer that the party under Sheriff carries everyone along, bring in the youth, and take the party to greater heights .

Finally, is Sheriff the best man for PDP top job?
Only time will tell. All I can say is “Welcome onboard Mr Chairman”.

May God Bless Us All and Bless Nigeria

Nairaland, ( February 07, 20160

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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