After weeks of speculation, former governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, on Monday in Maiduguri, the state capital, confirmed that he was defecting from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The ex-governor, who arrived in Maiduguri alongside several members of the National Assembly and was received at the airport at about 2 p.m. by a mammoth crowd of supporters from both the PDP and ruling APC.
He was thereafter accompanied by a convoy of hundreds of cars from the Maiduguri airport to his Giwa Barracks Road home.
Confirming his exit from the APC to journalists who interviewed him in his house, SAS, as he is fondly called, said he also came to pull his “people” out of the APC.
“There is nothing to hide as you can see, I have come to consult with my people on our resolve to pull out of the APC and join the PDP. But this is just a private visit which turned out to be some kind of rally because our supporters wanted it that way”, the former governor said.
“We are still consulting with the national officers of the PDP on how to go about it, because the pull out is going to be big, and we hope to organise it after fasting. Presently, as you can see, majority of our people are fasting and praying for peace to return to our dear state. But after the Ramadan we will come back and pull our people out of the APC”.
Asked why he was dumping a party he helped built, Mr. Sheriff, who was one of the chieftains of the party reportedly schemed out at the just concluded national convention of the party, said the APC was not inclusive.
“The game has changed both in Borno and at the national level. APC has no solid foundation; a party cannot be built around an individual”, Mr. Sheriff said.
“I have taken time to study the package called APC and came to realise that it won’t work. And any serious politician, who knows his onions would not want to be in a ship that is bound to crash”.
“For now we are in high-level consultation with our people and also with the PDP national officers. It is sad that our people here are in serious want; I came and saw many of them in serious difficulties, and we feel pained that we have to do something fast to assist them. We have no option now than to come and tell them that we are sorry, that we brought them a wrong party, but now we have come to correct our mistakes”.
Speaking on how he helped make his erstwhile political godson, Kashim Shettima governor of the troubled North-East state, Sheriff said: “Kashim Shettima was my commissioner for four years before God gave us the opportunity of assisting him become the governor of Borno state in 2011. It cannot be doubted that I took him round the 27 local government councils of Borno and sold his candidature to the people before he was accepted and voted as governor.
“But now the game has changed, and we have no choice than to do what the people of Borno State want; we know there was too much sufferings but we call on the people to be patient. We all pray that God should bring us peace so that Borno state can regain its name once again as the home of peace”, he added.
Sheriff’s visit to Maiduguri by air comes barely 24 hours after the Governor Shettima left the state capital for Abuja by road, as the military insisted the airport was closed for security reasons.