- Insists Court Orders Are Sacrosanct And Must Be Obeyed
- Moves To Unseal PDP Secretariat, As Govs Sneak Back Pledging Loyalty
It is still baffling to many Nigerians that Governors of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who drafted Senator Ali Modu Sheriff into the National Chairmanship race, and who put him up for the National Executive Committee, NEC of the party for election into the office have suddenly turned against him.
It is no longer secret that the Governors had planned to embarrass Sheriff in Port Harcourt, during the botched convention, should he offer himself for re-election into the office of the National Chairman, had the Appeal Court voided an injunction stopping election into the office.
But Senator Ali Modu Sheriff may have proven that he is a master of the game when he quickly called off the National Convention of the party in Port Harcourt last Saturday, thereby stopping a planned coup against him at the convention ground masterminded by PDP Governors who brought him on board in the first place.
nationalTRAIL learnt that by relying upon two separate court orders from a Lagos High Court and an Abuja High Court, which restrained the PDP convention from conducting elections into certain offices, thereby postponing the convention, Senator Sheriff may have hit those plotting his downfall below the belt.
The PDP National Chairman’s trouble with the Governors may have started when some of the Governors discovered that they cannot dominate or manipulate sheriff to advance their individual interests as they initially envisaged before co-opting him into the race. They had plotted to use the convention in Port Harcourt to remove the Chairman and replace him with Senator Girgiri Lawan or Ahmed Gulak, both of whom have remained resolutely loyal to Sheriff.
Investigations reveal that, Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti and Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State, who doubles as PDP Governors’ Forum Chairman, were the arrowheads of the plot against Sheriff, while Nyeson Wike of Rivers State, in whose domain the convention was to hold and who is seen to have the financial war chest to undo Sheriff, has been playing the role of the engine room of their plans.
Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, who was one of the Governor’s that proposed the nomination of Ali Sheriff as the sole candidate for the position of National Chairman at the Zonal Congress of the party in Jalingo is said to be playing a double game. While lending support into the group led by Professor Jerry Gana, Dankwabo has been lending tacit support to the efforts of the governors to remove Sheriff, while outwardly pledging support to the national Chairman.
Sheriff, our correspondent learnt nearly fell for the ploy by the governors, but the timely discovery that certain decisions were being taken after him, whenever the Governors were alone, and every move he made to take charge of the affairs of the party convention were frustrated. This is in addition to revelations later that, all the people he nominated into committees were tactically sidelined in all the plans for the convention and even those who attempted to breakthrough were effectively checked by Governor Nyeson Wike.
The Governor, who was the Convention Committee Chairman shielded the national Chairman from the programmes and list of delegates, as well as the programme of events. He allegedly localized all arrangements for the convention, and cornered all accreditation tags for all the delegates, even after having allegedly doctoring the list of delegates from states that sounded sympathetic to Ali Modu Sheriff.
While they were putting finishing touches to their plans for a move of a motion to remove sheriff and frustrated his come back even if the elections were to hold, Sheriff was busy making consultations on the implications of conducting the elections in the face of the plethora of court orders. This is even as he may have had the premonition that something sinister against him may have been in the offing.
Sheriff took leave of the governors who were meeting in the Rivers State Government House, and called a secret meeting of members of the National Working Committee, who had earlier arrived Port Harcourt with several court orders, restraining the Convention from conducting elections into virtually all the elections. At the meeting, it was disclosed that there was a coup in the offing and against the dangers of risking the wrath of the law, Sheriff called off the convention.
And unknown to the Governors who were already mobilizing to go and dissolve the national Working Committee, create a vacuum and cause for the invocation of the doctrine of necessity by announcing an interim management, Sheriff after postponing the convention was already heading back t6o Abuja with some members of the Board of Trustees, Senators, National Working Committee members and the likes of them.
A source from one of the meetings with the Governors told our correspondent that, all the Governors, except the governor of Taraba State, Darius Ishaku, were making incoherent remarks, in the attempt to intimidate Sheriff, but that the National Chairman took time to address them one after the other, before walking out on them. After the gathering in Port Harcourt which Senator Sheriff described as a charade and a nullity, the Governors realized that Ali Sheriff had outsmarted them by announcing the postponement of the event, and by relying on a subsisting court order. Even with lawyers amongst them, the Governors realized too late that their hopes of taking over the PDP had been dashed, and they resorted to seeking audience with Ali Sheriff, with some of them sneaking into his house to dissociate themselves from the Port Harcourt drama.
While the crisis rages, with the Jerry Gana group now taking the back seat in the scramble for the soul of the PDP, Sheriff has been rated as more likely to take the day, having been described as the most outstanding PDP leader to obey court orders.
Analysts believe that, in the face of the clamour for leaders to obey court orders, Sheriff may as well remain in office till 2018 as stated by the courts, when Adamu Muazu’s tenure is supposed to elapse.
By Chris RICHARDS, Abuja