Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja
The national leadership of the All Progressives Congress has asked a former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, who has expressed his desire to join the ruling party in Abuja, to do so at his ward.
Sheriff was scheduled to visit the national headquarters of the party in Abuja by noon on Thursday with his supporters, where he would have declared for the party.
He was billed to be received by the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, and other members of the party’s National Working Committee.
However, our correspondent observed that none of the national officers of the party was on the ground to receive the former governor of Borno State.
This action, it was gathered, was an indication to Sheriff and his supporters that the party was not favourably disposed to his joining the party.
A three-paragraph statement was nevertheless issued by the National Publicity Secretary of the ruling party, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, in which he directed Sheriff to join the party in his ward.
The statement read, “Our attention has been drawn to reports in some sections of the media that the former factional chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, plans to defect to the All Progressives Congress today at the APC National Secretariat in Abuja.
“While we are aware of such intentions, we wish to restate our earlier position that anyone who wants to join the party should do so at the ward level.
“We are happy to welcome new members to our party, but membership cards are not issued at the party National Secretariat.”
Our correspondent gathered that there had been moves in the past by the former senator to join the APC, which were resisted by some interests within the party.
For example, the Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, was said to have opposed the move.
A source at the national secretariat told our correspondent that the governor informed the party’s leadership on Wednesday night and Thursday morning about the alleged dangers that the APC would face in Borno State if Sheriff was allowed to join the party.
Sheriff was said to have erroneously believed that the coast was clear for him to join the APC on Wednesday when he allegedly informed the party’s leadership about his plan.
This was confirmed by the publicity department of the ruling party, which sent invitations to reporters on the proposed visit.
The invitation message received from the party by journalists covering the party read, “The former factional chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, accompanied by his supporters will be at the All Progressives Congress National Secretarial tomorrow (Thursday) by 12noon.”
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.
Contact: [email protected]