The National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, on Sunday held a secret meeting with former Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) in Minna, the Niger State capital.
Sheriff, who spoke with journalists on his mission to Minna, said that last Friday’s favourable judgement of the Appeal Court will propel the party to clinch power from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019.
After the brief meeting with Babangida at the Minna Hilltop Mansion, Sheriff said that, “My victory is a victory for the PDP all over Nigeria. There is no loser, it is just a misunderstanding within a family, and we are calling on everybody to come together so that the party can be a formidable one once again.”
Sheriff was accompanied to Babangida’s residence by former Niger State Governor, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu.
Babangida had earlier praised Sheriff over his comment after his victory at the Appeal Court, saying: “I am very happy with your statement after the court ruling; it shows that there is room for reconciliation and unity. There is the need to bring everybody back together to make the party a formidable opposition party.”
Sheriff told journalists after the two-hour closed-door meeting that “we are in Minna because IBB is our father. During our meeting, he said that he is happy with my statement after the court ruling. He told me to continue that way so that I can bring everybody together to make the party a formidable opposition.
“What we want to do now is how to put the party back to shape so that everyone that is aggrieved is brought back as one united family. Look, united we stand, divided we fall,” Sheriff said.
On Ahmed Makarfi’s faction of the PDP, Sheriff said that, “I have even called Makarfi himself. And I have called on everybody to come back so that we can work together.”
In his comment, Babangida Aliyu said “now that we have a legal decision on the matter, even though other people talk about going higher (to the Supreme Court), others are saying ‘No.’ We should start widening the solution, we don’t waste time in terms of legal matters.
“At the moment, until anybody is able to go higher and setting aside the decision of the court, Sheriff is the chairman of the party, and those of us who love to see a solution to this party will continue to find ways of mending fences. I think we should all bury our ambitions; you cannot have an ambition without a platform. We need to have a platform first of all because we are in the opposition, and we need time to organise and reorganise and go back to the people with plausible real solutions to their problems. If we don’t get these solutions, then what do we have?”
“We need to all come together and appeal to all of us, all PDP lovers and members to really look at the issues objectively so that we have a platform that we can call a party which can win elections. Not a fragmented party,” he said.
But, former Minister of Aviation and a stakeholder in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Femi Fani-Kayode, has blasted those calling for the support for Sheriff, describing them as being misguided and naïve.
Fani-Kayode added that “anyone that calls for members of the PDP to rally behind him (Sheriff) and recognise him as our national chairman is a simpleton and a fool.
“I say this because no good can come out of him. I was the first to see him for what he was and I said so publicly. Then came the PDP Ministers’ Forum which also stood its ground. At first no-one believed us until eventually 90 percent of our party members lined up behind those of us that opposed Sheriff and that supported Makarfi,” he said.