As events trailing the 2019 general elections begin to unfold , political watchers will be faced with series of politiking and horse trading associated with the period at hand.
Part of which is going to be defection upon defection , either , from the opposition party to the ruling Party or from the ruling party to the opposition Party, depending on reason for the defection.
In Nigeria , it is a common practice for politicians to switch allegiance to a party that will guarantee their political desire or ambition, while others decamp to ensure their relevancy in the system.
Prior to 26th of April, just few days ago , the whole media, both social and conventional were awashed with the planned defection of the former People’s Democratic Party ( PDP) national chairman, Sen Ali Modu Sheriff and his supporters to the ruling All progressive Congress (APC), with political pundits in Borno, the home town of Sheriff ,already wondering the implication of the action.
While some opinion saw the defection as a final nail on the coffin of the PDP in Borno which turned to shambles the moment Sheriff lost the chairmanship position at the supreme Court, others saw it as a new dawn on the Borno APC political train which has been on a rough ride.
The other school of thought knowing fully well that shortly after Sen Sheriff installed the Present Governor of the state , Kashim Shettima, as Governor of Borno in 2011 , after the former’s two terms of eight years, the duo had remained publicly on extranged relationship till date, thus making the watchers wondering whether the duo reconciled before this planned event, bearing in mind the consequences of the defection to the allies of the former and later.
Thus , when the news filtered the air that sheriff failed to turn up to the APC National secretariat, as well as the APC National Chairman’s directive even to Sheriff faction members of PDP who showed up at the APC national secretariat, to go back to their wards and register before National acceptance, political pundits were again put in trauma of thoughts as whether those handling the defection matter are not handling it well or whether somebody somewhere is blocking the defectors.
The APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie- Oyegun even made it clear that while the APC has acknowledged the defection plan of Sen Sheriff and his supporters to the party, the party’s constitution requires them to start their decamping process from the grassroot.
Borno PDP Chairman Reacts On The Sheriff’s Planned Defection
Reacting on the Ali Modu Sheriff’s Planned defection , the Maiduguri Metroplitan Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Usman Danjuma Ibrahim , said the defection plan of the former national Chairman of the PDP to APC has both negative and positive implication to the PDP in Borno.
He noted that from the coming of Sen Sheriff to the PDP , upto the time he became the national Chairman of the party , he has not add any value to the party, but rather created problems for the party because he was not used to the mechanism of the psrty haven climbed the ladder very fast.
Mr Ibrahim said as far as he is concerned , Sheriff only distracted activities of PDP because of his being new to the system of the party.
“’ First and foremost , for me , I think the defection of Ali Modu Sheriff to APC has negative and positive aspect to the PDP in Borno . Why did I say so? When we look at the coming in of Sheriff to PDP and the time he became a national Chairman, he has not add any value to the PDP as far as I am concerned.we only had distraction of activities because he is not used to the system of PDP and being new to the system of the party.
“ And his climbing the ladder within a short time by becoming the party Chairman, equally created some crisis. But to be honest with you, sheriff is a grassroot politician who has his followership within the party . He has been a seasoned politician for sometime. So, he has his own credibility. For him to leave the Party, Iam not happy , because we are from the same zone.
“ But when you look from another angle, you will understand that it is going to be a plus to us as a party. why did I say so , because, a lot left the party when Sheriff came in . So we can now go and knock the doors of those that left because of him to come back,” the Metro PDP Chairman said.
He cited instance of Mohammed Goni, the former Governor of Borno state who pulled out with his supporters from the PDP because of Sheriff .
“ For instance , the former Governor of Borno state, Alhaji Mohammed Goni who is enjoying large followership with thousands of supporters left the party because of Sheriff.. But with the exit of Sheriff, People like Goni will troop back with their supporters,” Ibrahim said.
However , in his reaction to the planned defection, the Borno state Chairman of APC, Ali Bukar Dolori, described the alleged defection of former factional chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff to the APC as a rumour.
Dalori disclosed this in a statement he made to newsmen while reacting over the development, maintaining that the defection story remains a rumour to APC in Borno.
Dalori said : “I want to assure you that The news remains a rumour, because somebody is only trying to fly
a kite that is capable of causing dangerous confusion during the state congress. We are aware of the well-articulated plan and we are ready to defend any attempt towards destroying our party at the ward level and in any state not just Borno.
“We shall conduct our congresses peacefully without any rancour and I assure you that nobody can create any faction for our party in Borno during the congress expected to hold in less than two weeks. Article 9. sub section (1 ) of the party´s 2014 amended Constitution was specific that application “for membership shall be made to and cleared by the party´s ward executives in the Local Government Area where the person was born, resides, works or originates,” he added.
Dalori further said the section made it clear that online registration shall also be acceptable provided that it was cleared by the party´s National Working Committee.
Continuing he said : “Where an application is refused, the applicant may as of right appeal to the Local Government Area Executive Committee of the party or to the National Secretary or National Chairman in case of online registration.
“I, therefore, don’t see any how the party´s national chairman can receive any person into the party when the constitution is clear about the process in that regard,” the Borno APC Chairman further said.
Also reacting to the developement, the Sole Administrator of the Borno state Chamber of Commerce , Industries, Mines And Agriculture (BOCCIMA), and an Elder statesman, Alhaji Ahmed Ashemi , blamed the unfolding scenerio on the organizers of the defection plan for not carrying the party Leadership in the state on its arrangements.
While noting that it is normal procedure in politics for someone who is defecting or joining a party to go and register in his ward , Ashemi observed that a politician of Senator Modu Sheriff caliber ought to be given a better recornition considering his profle and followership haven led the party for years before.
“ It is normal procedure in politics , when somebody is defecting or joining a Party, he will be asked to go and register in his ward. But there is exception to that rule .when the person joining is that kind of big personality in politics , there is going to be a symbolic reception for him at the highest level and after that , he will go and regularize in his ward.
“ So if somebody says that sheriff should go and register in his ward , yes he has said what is the norm.But if somebody says he should be recieved at the Party’s headquarters, that is acceptable considering his personality.
“ If a man like that is coming back to his party, his coming should be well coordinated. The Leadership of the party in his state should be carried along to remove the fear of his coming bringing factionalization or trouble.
“The Governor of the state and other leaders of the Party in the state should be carried along for a smooth defection. So if the party Chairman who is Ali Bukar Dalori said he has no knowledge of the defection, it means the people responsible for the defection arrangement did not carry the party in the state along.
“ I have said it several times that the APC from ward to the national is run with complacency, and now that congress is at hand, I think that Members of the party should impress it on the Leaders for a better management,” Ashemi said.
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