My mind was away in a sort of wonderland, as I ruminated on what to write upon. Having listened to various radio stations to shore up the happenings here and there, I decided to visit, as a matter of routine, my vendor’s stand to quench my insatiable appetite for current events from the print media.
As I was saying, on getting to the vendor’s stand, Mallam Abdullahi, my vendor friend for decades, who already knew much of my reading habits and my choice of papers, placed before me a prominent national newspaper with a front page, banner headline, ‘Sheriff visits Osinbajo’ ( the Vice President). The same newspaper also published that the All Progressives Congress National Chairman, Mr. John Odigie Oyegun was at the villa about the same time with the Senator, but in the office of the Chief of Staff to the President.
The scenario only demands putting two and two together. But could the newspaper have lied?
However, before the shout of Jack Robinson, Senator Sheriff, who admitted visiting the Vice-President, was reported to have denied discussing politics with the Number Two man.
Similarly, it was reported that the APC National Chairman pointed out that he was not a party to the meeting of the Vice President and Senator Sheriff.
However, from Maiduguri came the report of one group opposing the other on the alleged plan of Sheriff to seek shelter under the APC. The Great Nigeria Group has called on Senator Sheriff to return to the APC in the interest of the nation’s democracy. The national coordinator of the group, Dr. Vitalis Orikeze Ajumbe, in a statement, said it was imperative for Sheriff, the immediate past PDP National Chairman, to go back to the APC, which he contributed in building.
To a group, Sheriff is arrogant, unreliable, autocratic, self-centered, obsessed with power, egocentric and insatiable. To the other group, he is generous, kind, pragmatic, a good go-getter and a man who, once he puts his hand on the plough, would not look back
However, the Borno APC Coalition had, in a statement jointly signed by Maina Bashir, Chairman and Abdullahi Mala, Secretary, stated that they were not privy to any move or call by any person or group for the return of the Senator to APC.
The Coalition’s leader had said, “The Borno APC is currently at peace with no crisis whatsoever. This is because of the leadership provided by the Governor, Kashim Shettima. We are thus wary of anyone joining the party, who is likely to change this situation for the worst.”
Before the dust settled, however, another group, known as Northern Political Conscience, from Kastina State, explained that it was not in support of Sheriff coming back to the APC. In a statement, signed by its chairman, Saeed Ibrahim Fagge, and Secretary, Dr. Safeeya Mulumfashi, the group commended dozens of Muslims in Katsina, who reportedly conducted prayers against the return of Sheriff to the APC.
No doubt, Sheriff has become an issue, if not the controversy, in the present-day politics of Nigeria. You are either for him or against him. Like “Ajala travelled all over the World”, he had traversed one party to the other, possibly in search of leadership and reckon, which, as things had appeared, continue to elude him. The last being in the PDP where the leadership of the party was taken from him by the Supreme Court.
Sheriff means different things to various groups or individuals. To a group, he is arrogant, unreliable, autocratic, self-centered, obsessed with power, egocentric and insatiable. To the other group, he is generous, kind, pragmatic, a good go-getter and a man who, once he puts his hand on the plough, would not look back, no matter what.
As observer once wrote of Sheriff, “A fundamental problem of Senator Sheriff is that he, at no time, contemplates or sees himself as a servant leader. He wants to be the boss who flexes his muscle always. To play the role of a second fiddle is never in his lexicon. All he wants is power and nothing short of this, and this acclaimed disposition of his placed him more often on collision course with others.”
Recently, in its judgement on the leadership tussle of the PDP between Senator Sheriff and Senator Ahmed Makarfi, the Supreme Court said of Sheriff: “Sheriff displayed an infantile desperation to remain in power. It is on record that Sheriff, in his infantile desire to perpetuate himself in office, had filed 10 cases in one year, some of which he abandoned and they remain in the shelves and have gathered dust, ever since.”
Though there has not been a categorical statement to the fact that Sheriff wants to return to the APC, if he, nonetheless chooses to so do, will he be accepted in the party, considering the circumstances that prompted him to leave the APC for PDP? Can APC trust Sheriff? Is sheriff ready to stoop low to conquer in the light of his antecedents? Will his return to APC mar or make the party?
Already, there have been rumblings and grumblings, all mounting on the speculation of Sheriff’s possible defection to the party. More questions and issues will come up if he chooses to go back to the APC and until then, let’s keep our fingers crossed.
*Izekor, a journalist and public affairs analyst, writes at thepointing.com