Some power brokers in the Peoples Democratic Party are plotting to counter an alleged plan by the current Chairman of the PDP, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff to transmute into the party’s presidential candidate in 2019.
There is a belief within the party that Sheriff and Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, are planning to jointly run for the presidency in 2019.
A reliable source within the party told Punch that Fayose backed Sheriff for the chairmanship position because he (Fayose) had plans to be Sheriff’s running mate in the 2019 presidential election.
Two weeks ago, Sheriff, a former Governor of Borno State, had said that God “used Fayose to make me chairman.”
Already, the PDP, which is in control of only two northern states (Gombe and Taraba), has zoned the presidency to the North in 2019.
A member of the Board of Trustees of the party from the North-East who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there was no way both men would be allowed to fly the party’s ticket.
The source, a party man of several years standing, said, “This is a joke of the century. These two are controversial. Sheriff has not even been allowed into the party fully.
“Now, they are saying he wants to be President. It isn’t possible. That will signify the death of the party as millions would either defect or go and form another party.”
A reliable source within the party said some party chiefs were bothered by Sheriff and Fayose’s close relationship. In recent times, both men have attended several social events together including the wedding of Fayose’s niece in Lagos on Saturday.
He said, “Sheriff is rich but he is not the richest northern politician in the PDP. He does not have the backing of the northern elements in the PDP given the fact that he is still quite new in the party. Sheriff’s tenure is meant to end by May but there is a plot to elongate his tenure till 2018 and in the process, gain control of the party structure.
“He will then resign and run for the presidency but we will not allow him.”
The source said, “Already, supporters of Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State and former FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed, are spoiling for a fight as both governors also have presidential ambitions. In the current dispensation, the governors are two of the most influential PDP politicians from the North.
“Fayose has obviously miscalculated. He is going in October 2018 and his immunity will end seven months before Buhari’s tenure ends. With the way he has been attacking President Muhammadu Buhari, I don’t know how he will survive without his immunity within that period. He thinks his support for Sheriff will endear him to northern politicians but they are not happy with him with the way he has been attacking Buhari.”
Fayose’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Idowu Adelusi, said Fayose was concerned with governance and thus had no time to be scheming for 2019.
Adelusi said Fayose was supporting Sheriff because he wanted the party to be strong ahead of the 2019 elections.
He said, “The governor is busy with the construction of three legacy projects the New Oba Market; the flyover and the airport. These are the three legacy projects. He has even said repeatedly that he is not running for the Senate.
“His plan is to deliver the dividends of democracy. His support for Sheriff is to stabilise the party so that the party can win again in 2019. The party is almost in disarray due to the exodus of many of the leaders to the APC. He supported a national chairman that can re-engineer the party. His love for Sheriff is based on the love he has for the party.”