The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors Forum has clarified that the new national chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, will only serve out the tenure of Dr Adamu Mu’azu, who resigned as chairman last year.
This was in apparent response to the criticism from some quarters about the wisdom in selecting the former Borno State governor, when the party had already zoned the 2019 presidential ticket to the North-East.
Sheriff, it was gathered, would quit in two months, as the governors reacted to backlash, especially in the social media, over his emergence.
The governors called for cooperation with the new national chairman, counseling party members not to rush in joining the crowd of those criticising his choice for the post.
According to a statement issued in Abuja, on Thursday, by the coordinator of the forum, Mr Osaro Onaiwu, the choice of Sheriff was in the best interest of PDP.
The statement stressed that “he is to complete the tenure of the North-East, as specified by the party’s constitution and organise a national convention for the election of substantive officers.”
The governors argued that while it was normal for dissent in a large and national party like the PDP, members should not lose sight of the bigger picture, which is to re-strategise ahead 2019 and other coming elections in Edo and Ondo states this year.
“It has come to our notice that some members of our great party have expressed their reservations on the emergence of the new national chairman, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff.
“As expected, not everybody can be on the same page in such matters, though of the same party.
“We wish to appeal to our members to keep the bigger picture in mind, which is to reposition ahead 2019 with individuals that have the track record in power play.
“As a national party, it is important that every matter is looked at from all sides and not just the negative narrative of the opposition party.
“None of our leaders have been arraigned for terrorism-related charges and there is no way the international community will not, at least, have an idea of those who have aided and funded Boko Haram,” the statement read.
It was gathered that stakeholders agreed that Sheriff would only complete the remainder of the tenure of the North-East, which started with Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and later Mua’zu.
It was further learnt that the former Borno governor had been told that he would only spend two to three months in office and lay the foundation for the emergence of a new national chairman from the South.
“We are not saying that the new national chairman is not a good man. The only problem is that of perception. The man is an experienced politician.
“Remember he was the first senator to defeat an incumbent governor in a gubernatorial contest in 2003. He has paid his dues and a number of stakeholders believe that he has the capacity to lay a solid foundation for the new executive,” a source in the party said.
It was gathered that the topmost hierarchy of the PDP had told the chairman to be prepared to spend two to three months in office, adding that after laying a solid foundation, he would be expected to hand over to a unified candidate from the South.
Sources also told the Nigerian Tribune on Thursday that leaders of the party had intensified peace moves to forestall massive defections being planned by some senators and members of the House of Representatives.
The party was said to have been jolted that a huge number of its members may be lost to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) due to their objections to the emergence of Senator Sheriff.
It was learnt on Thursday that the party had co-opted former president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, to assist in talking to the senators and stop the planned massive defections.
The former Nigerian leader was said to have reached out to some members of the party to calm them and assured that the leaders would ensure stability.