Amidst the controversy surrounding the current leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC), a member of the party has begun drumming support for former Borno State governor, Ali Modu Sheriff.
Mustapha Gambo is a former Senior Political Adviser to the ex-Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima.
He said Mr Sheriff’s vast political experience, network of friends and understanding of the intrigues of partisan politics are virtues “not available on sale over the counter.”
Although Mr Sheriff is yet to officially declare his intention to run for the position of chairmanship, PREMIUM TIMES had reported him saying his decision to contest is largely dependent on how the position is zoned by the party.
“…Whether I will run for the office or not will be determined by what the caretaker committee takes as a decision on where the leadership of the party will go. Whether it will go to another place or it will remain in our zone.
“If it goes to another zone, I will not contest. But if it stays in our zone, I will contest.”
The two-time governor who was also national chairman of Nigeria’s main opposition party, PDP, is among other key political players jostling for the position.
The others are former governor of Nasarawa State and serving senator, Tanko Al-Makura; his counterparts from Borno and Gombe, Kashim Shettima and Danjuma Goje, who are also serving senators; former governor of Zamfara, Abdulaziz Yari; a former member of the House of Representatives from Bauchi, Ibrahim Baba; and a former chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria in Abuja, Sunny Moniedafe from Adamawa State.
Speaking with journalists on Thursday in Abuja, Mr Gambo said Mr Sheriff has in the past few months, “traversed many wards and local government areas across the country to seek support for the ruling party.”
He added that former governors in the party have started pledging their support.
“The APC needs a stabilising force and with due respect to all those reported to be nursing ambition to vie for the chairmanship of our party, none of them comes close to what His Excellency, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff brings to the table. Apart from being the first governor to be elected twice in Borno state; he was elected twice to the federal parliament as Senator representing Borno Central Senatorial District at different political epochs.
“He was chairman, Board of Trustees of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), one of the parties that later merged with others to form the APC. He became the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), owing primarily to his vast political appeal across the board. Where are we likely to find a man like this?,” he said.
While he noted that APC requires a man of vision, foresight and courage to take charge of party affairs, he said with President Muhammadu Buhari out of the ballot for the first time in eight years, the party cannot afford to experiment with its national leadership.
Mr Gambo’s remarks came just about the time a court in Delta State High Court in Asaba gave a ruling restraining Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State, from parading himself as the caretaker committee chairman of the party pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice already filed and served.
The court also ordered that Mr Buni and others at the national leadership be served originating summons through any officer or staff of the APC at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja.
Prior to the ruling, two presidential aides, Babafemi Ojudu, the special adviser to the president on political matters and Ita Enang, the senior special assistant to the president on Niger Delta affairs, alongside Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, had called for Mr Buni’s removal as interim chairman.
The party is expected to hold its national elective convention before the end of the year. It is, however, not clear when Mr Sheriff and a few other aspirants will publicly declare their intent to contest.