Ali Modu Sheriff is returning to the APC from the PDP. His defection is yet another example of the ideological deficit in Nigeria's politics.
His move back to the APC is yet one more proof that we have been ‘blessed’ with the most ideologically bereft set of politicians mankind has ever seen.
To wrap your head around Modu Sheriff’s brand of politics, you need to go back to his days in the ANPP.
Senator Ali Modu Sheriff served as governor of Borno State from 2003 to 2011 on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP)—one of the legacy political parties that collapsed into the APC.
At an APC National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of 2014, Modu Sheriff threatened to beat up Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu after the Jagaban cautioned him on speaking of the APC in negative and not too glowing terms.
It took then presidential aspirant Muhammadu Buhari to prevent Modu Sheriff from roughening up Tinubu. According to a report by Premium Times at the time:
The former Lagos State Governor also asked Mr. Sheriff to quit the APC and go elsewhere, if he was not comfortable with the party.
At this point, Mr. Sheriff, who was now holding firmly to the microphone, allegedly began to insult Mr. Tinubu, asking him if he owned the party.
“Who are you? Who do you think you are? Are you the owner of the party?” the former Borno governor reportedly inquired from Mr. Tinubu in a fit of anger.
All the leaders of the party present at the meeting reportedly watched with amazement as the 58-year old former Borno State governor reportedly rained abuses on Mr. Tinubu, 62, who on his part, kept his cool all through.
Our sources said Mr. Buhari saved the day when, sensing danger in allowing Mr. Sheriff to continue insulting Mr. Tinubu, intervened. The former head of state was said to have tongue-lashed Mr. Sheriff for losing his composure.
Sheriff wanted more powers within the newly formed APC. But no one within the decision making organ of the APC was ready to hand recognition and responsibilities to a politician on whose watch Boko Haram grew to become the monster it is today.
It was even alleged at a time that Sheriff was the high ranking government official who purchased the first guns and bullets for Boko Haram members.
Modu Sheriff wept uncontrollably during one press conference he summoned to push back claims that he was a Boko Haram backer and sympathizer.
“Let me state categorically at this point that I do not share the ideology of the Boko Haram sect, which is against western education, western culture and modern science or any other sect with similar ideology”, he said, as tears rolled down his cheeks.
Starved of power and recognition in the APC, Modu Sheriff walked.
Right into the warm embrace of the PDP.
On the day he couldn’t stop the tears from flooding the venue of his press conference, Modu Sheriff accused the APC of being behind stories of his links to Boko Haram.
“It is rather curious that the campaign against me is becoming more stringent at the time I decided to take Borno into mainstream national politics by joining the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP”, Modu Sheriff said.
After the PDP lost the 2015 presidential election, Sheriff anointed himself the party’s chairman at a parallel convention in Port Harcourt in May of 2016.
In his corner were powerful State Governors Nyesom Wike and Ayodele Fayose who would later desert him and forge themselves into the formidable force that kicked him out.
Fayose, Wike and former Aviation Minister Femi Fani Kayode often said Modu Sheriff was a mole sent by the APC to wreck the PDP.
PDP’s parallel conventions of May 2016 plunged the opposition party into a crisis it couldn’t recover from until its elective convention of December 9, 2017.
For close to two years, Modu Sheriff made sure the PDP spent all the time it should have used in rebuilding, in courts.
After the PDP ostracized him on the heels of the Supreme Court decision, Modu Sheriff weighed his options and today, he wants to return to the APC.
“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”, APC National Publicity Secretary, Bolaji Abdullahi said, after news emerged that Modu Sheriff was about to storm the APC secretariat with hundreds of his followers.
“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”, Abdullahi added.
In essence, the APC is simply trying to pull a wool over a few pair of eyes. The governing party just doesn’t want it to look like it is celebrating Modu Sheriff’s return with pomp and pageantry.
The APC doesn’t want it to look like it is rolling out the red carpet for a man it once kicked out onto the streets. The APC wants Modu Sheriff’s defection to look really low-key.
But the APC is fooling no one. Modu Sheriff would return to the APC by registering at the ward level and he would strive for some relevance once more in the sorry politics of our nation.
Those who say the lines between APC and PDP are blurred or almost nonexistent, have a point. Modu Sheriff’s defection reflects the sorry state of our nation’s politics in its entirety. Politicians don't swap parties because their values aren't in sync with their old platforms, they do so because they are only looking for a meal ticket from the party with the nation's purse strings.
Modu Sheriff's defection is yet another sad commentary on the lack of values sweeping through our nation like the symbolic APC broom.
Ideology is dead in our nation’s politics because there was never one in the first instance.