â€¢ Borno chapter: Why we oppose his registration in Abuja
â€¢Former PDP faction defects to ruling party
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has again rebuffed the move by former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, to rejoin the ruling party.
Sheriffâ€™s planned defection to the APC was to have been heralded by a reception at national secretariat of the party in Abuja last Wednesday.
He was scheduled to meet with the APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, along with members of the National Working Committee (NWC) yesterday but the meeting was cancelled at the last minute.
According to the media invitation sent out by the APC publicity unit, Sheriff was expected to storm the APC national secretariat in Abuja with his supporters by noon yesterday.
However, in a statement issued by the partyâ€™s National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdulahi, it said Sheriff would not be received back to the party in Abuja.
The statement said in line with the constitution of APC, registration of members is done at ward level not headquarters.
â€œOur attention has been drawn to reports in some sections of the media that the former factional Chairman of the PDP, Sheriff, plans to defect to the APC.
â€œWhile we are aware of such intentions, we wish to restate our earlier position that anyone who wants to join the party should do so at the ward level.
â€œWe are happy to welcome new members to our party, but membership cards are not issued at the party national secretariat,â€ it said.
Meanwhile, the Borno State chapter of the APC has given reasons why it is opposed to the move by Sheriff seeking to renew his membership of the party in Abuja.
While speaking to journalists at the partyâ€™s national secretariat in Abuja, the state Chairman, Hon. Ali Bukar Dolori, said the move was a dangerous one capable of causing confusion in the state branch of the party ahead of the forthcoming congresses.
According to him, â€œWe have read news on the social media yesterday and in some national dailies this morning, that Sheriff will be received by our national chairman today (yesterday) at the headquarters of our great party.
â€œI want to assure you that the news remains a rumour because somebody is only trying to fly a kite which is capable of causing dangerous confusion during the state congresses in Borno State.
â€œWe are aware of that well-articulated plan, and we are ready to defend any attempt towards destroying our party at any level and in any state, not just Borno.â€
However, key members of the Sheriff faction of the PDP who lost out in the tussle for leadership of party have defected to the APC.
The group led by Senator Hope Uzodimma from Imo State and Senator Abubakar Gada at a brief ceremony at w APC headquarters yesterday in Abuja declared their allegiance to the leadership of APC.
Among those who defected to APC yesterday include, Hon. Segun Odebunmi, Hon. Kamila Lado Rasheed, Hon Bala Modu Sheriff, Hon. Bernard Mela, Senator Taslim Folarin, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, Uzodimma, Godluck Ogbia, Ali Gulak, Hon. E.J Agboneyema, Senator Abubakar Gada, Nnamdi Richard,
While welcoming the new members, the national chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun said their entry would doubt boost the chances of APC in the 2019 elections.
He assured the new entrants of a level playing ground, adding that they were free to go their wards and register as well take part in the ongoing congresses.
â€œI want to, on behalf of the APC welcome you. This is the first time that this magnitude of event is happening since the amalgamation and since the APC came into being. â€œWe have received very important persons, but this is the very first time that we are receiving a total party into the APC. It was clear and there was no doubt about it that there were two PDP, but the issue was which was the real PDP. You must go back to your Ward and register formally as members because APC is based on local representation right up to the unit level,â€ he said.
Speaking while receiving the defecting politicians, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said the timing of the defection was very auspicious.
He said APC has regenerated with entry of the Sheriff men.
He added that the few years of the APC has witnessed a different approach to governance and delivery of services to the people.
He assured them that the party had taken steps in the last NEC meeting to mitigate any hurdle that may be on the way of new entrants.
Speaking on behalf of the governors that were present, Kano State Governor, Abdulahi Ganduje, described the event as historic, adding that the faction of the PDP that joined the APC is the better part.
He said those joining the APC are of the status with members of the legacy parties that formed the APC.
He expressed the hope that the new members will help APC win more states at the elections.
The former National Vice Chairman of the PDP and the Deputy Chairman of the Sheriff faction, Cairo Ojuogboh who introduced his colleagues said they have decided to collapse all their structures into the APC.
He said all the chairmen and executives of then Sheriff faction of the PDP are joining APC en masse.
However, when asked to comment on the absence of the Senator Sheriff from yesterdayâ€™s event, Ojougboh said that he had travelled out the country.
He said Sheriff would be part of a bigger ceremony and rally to be organised by the group to herald their movement into the APC.