•Jonathan adamant on former Borno gov
•Panic grips NWC members over plans to probe N12b collected from 2015 poll aspirants
With ex-President Goodluck Jonathan unwilling to shift ground in his support for Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), aggrieved leaders of the party are seeking the intervention of the party’s founding fathers to save the party from collapse.
The aggrieved party members have reached out to former Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the party, Chief Tony Anenih; Gen. T.Y. Danjuma, Mallam Adamu Ciroma, Prof. Jerry Gana, ex-Minister of Defence, Gen. Aliyu Gusau, and several former governors to retrieve the party from some hawks.
Ex-PDP ministers, who met the Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, Dr. Segun Mimiko, at the weekend on the crisis sparked by Sheriff’s emergence as party chairman insisted that his tenure must end not later than next month as a precondition for peace.
Meanwhile, panic has gripped members of the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) following plan to probe the whereabouts of the N12billion allegedly collected as nomination fees from aspirants and candidates for the 2015 general election.
The Nation gathered authoritatively last night that the Forum of ex-PDP Ministers had sent a delegation to Anenih, Gusau, former governors, Senators and other founding fathers of the party.
A source familiar with the development said the ex-ministers “have drawn the attention of these leaders to the fact that the party will die any moment from now unless an urgent action is taken to ask Sheriff to resign or quit by March when the tenure of the former National Chairman, Adamu Muazu will expire.
“We told them that many of us will leave the party and opt for political realignment or form a new party with a vibrant opposition focus.
“We have met with Anenih, Danjuma, Gusau, Gana, and other founding fathers. The consultation is still ongoing ahead of our session in Abuja on Tuesday.”
The PDP governors who sponsored Sheriff are said to be disturbed by signals of possible exodus of key leaders from the party on account of the imposition of Sheriff.
Some of the governors, sources said, seem to have now realized that they overrated Sheriff’s popularity.
They may reconsider their position, it was further gathered.
Their dilemma informed Mimiko’s invitation of some former ministers and PDP leaders to Akure on Friday.
A source at the session said: “There was tension at the meeting as members of the delegation complained bitterly about the role of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, governors Ayo Fayose and Nyesom Wike in foisting Sheriff on the party.
“Mimiko, who is the chairman of PDP Governors Forum, appealed for calm in order to enable the leaders of the party to resolve the challenge at hand.
“The governor said defection from PDP is certainly no solution to the crisis at hand. But the Tanimu Turaki-led delegation insisted on the resignation of Sheriff or the end of his tenure by March in line with the zoning of the post to the North-East.”
It was not immediately clear how Mimiko might convince other PDP governors to manage the situation.
At press time, members of the NWC, who hitherto supported Sheriff, had started having a rethink following report that the new national chairman might probe the N12billion which the party collected as nomination fees from aspirants and candidates for the 2015 elections.
Sheriff was said to be disturbed that he inherited a party that is broke and highly indebted.
The reform agenda of Sheriff reportedly leaked to NWC members and the latest development has forced some of them to pitch tents with those against him.
Another source said: “NWC members are panicking now having heard of Sheriff’s agenda to clean the Augean stable in the party.
“They are worried that they have to account for the N12billion nomination fees collected in 2015. This is why up till now no formal handover note has been given to Sheriff. The NWC has been shifting the handover date.”
Former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode spoke for the second time in as many days against the selection of Sheriff to lead the party.
He said:” This matter is beyond political parties or partisan politics. It is more about who and what we are as a people. There is no nation on earth apart from Nigeria where a man like Ali Modu Sheriff can be appointed as National Chairman of the leading opposition party.
“The blood of all those that have been butchered by Boko Haram over the last seven years is crying before God in heaven and calling for vengeance and restitution.
“This is not only unacceptable but it is also evil and if I am the only one left in this country that has the decency and courage to say so openly I will continue to do so.”