Sheriff: Arrogance, Greed, Sell-out Cost PDP the Presidency

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By Joseph Ushigiale

The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former Borno State Governor, Alli Modu Sheriff, has blamed arrogance, greed and sell-out by some influential party members as factors that caused the party to lose the presidency to rival All Progressives Congress (APC) last year.

In an exclusive e-mailed interview with THISDAY recently, Sheriff revealed that erstwhile President Goodluck Jonathan lost not because he was unpopular stating that “I know that arrogance was one of such issues and I also know that some of our party men and women sold out.”

According to him, “So many factors contributed to Jonathan’s failure to win the elections. I may not be able to tell you everything now, but it is an open secret that even his own men worked against him. By the time we went into that election, so many things had happened which served as warning signals of failure, but they were ignored.”

“The PDP was in a better position to win, but somehow, we squandered our fortunes and we paid for it. We know better now and we will work towards avoiding some of the obvious pitfalls.” “Recent activities in the country have put the PDP in a safe position to rework our strategies and bounce back to power. We are already on the drawing board and I assure you we are going to get it right next time.”

When asked if the outcome of the election would have been better if he had been in charge, Sheriff said “I do not have to praise myself, but if I were in charge, things would have been different. You can see even for the few weeks that we took charge; we have begun changing the old order of doing things.”

On the controversy that trailed his emergence, Sheriff noted: “It is normal for people to express dissenting opinions in such situations. Some people may have spoken against my choice, which I consider to be their right, but I don’t think it is right for you to say I emerged against popular opinion, because those who identified with me were actually more in number, but they did not deem it necessary to join issues with those who feel otherwise.”

Sheriff assured Niegerians that “If we do not have our own ideas which we plan to inject and turn things round, we would not have accepted the responsibility to lead at this time. If I were in charge, I would not have allowed our members, especially people who control strategic states with large voting population to move out of the party massively in the build up to the elections.”

He said his reconciliation efforts are yielding results and uniting the party, stressing that: “I am leading a more united PDP, than I met it. I have been making all-inclusive consultations with stakeholders across the country, and we have been able to win the confidence of people who were hitherto reluctant or uncooperative. It may interest you to know that those who were initially repulsive have come round and we are now working together. The interest of the party is above any personal feeling.”

On the prospect of upsetting the rival APC in 2019, Sheriff was cautious in his optimism, adding that: “We are optimistic, but 2019 is still far away and I feel it is too early in the day to say whether we have a chance or not. It will also appear presumptuous to state what strategies we plan to deploy in 2019. When we get to the bridge we will cross it. Our strategies, for no,  are to pray for Nigeria to have a conducive and free democratic atmosphere in 2019 for Nigerians to express their true feelings towards the PDP.”