By Abdullahi M. Kokari
As the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) gears up for its third national convention ahead of the nation’s critical 2023 general elections in which many contenders will participate especially in the presidential poll, the party is in dire need of a competent leader to help it retain power.
Recall that the APC is a product of three political parties that merged to form a formidable platform that grabbed power from the incumbent Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that ruled the country for 16 consecutive years.
These political parties included the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). It was these networks that regrouped and clinched power in 2015 though it was as a result of the party’s team spirit and unity in diversity that led to that victory.
Today, just like all other political parties have their own internal conflicts, the rulling APC seems to be having its share of similar in-house problems which are attributed to lack of internal democracy, impunity and imposition of candidates against the will of the party’s supporters. The survival of the rulling APC will certainly depends on the hard decision and choices that national delegates may take at the scheduled national convention slated for February 2022.
Political analysts and experts are of the opinion that the ruling APC must shield its differences and push for a former governor of Borno state Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as its national chairman being a founding member of the party. He knows the in and out of the party since its formation and will no doubt bring the desirable leadership to sustain the tempo of winning elections to the party particularly the presidency.
It is pertinent to note that Sheriff was among those that kept the defunct ANPP popular having led it to victory several times in different elections including being elected twice as governor of Borno state after serving under the same party as senator of the federal republic. Thus, it would be said without fear of contradiction that he is a better choice to lead the APC as the next national chairman.
Senator Sheriff has proved to be a unique model among those currently running for the APC national chairmanship because he possesses the right credentials to lead the party, considering his antecedents. Many political bigwigs in the ruling party most especially youths and women groups see him as the most qualified candidate for the national chairmanship of APC, knowing his track records of nation-building.
He is a bridge builder that has his clout across all the regions and tribes in the country. At this point in time, the person to lead the party to electoral victory should be an experienced politician with administrative acumen and above all, a bridge builder of which only Senator Modu Sheriff shared the affirmative mentioned traits among other contestants. The national delegates and the APC state governors must look inward towards ensuring that the party get it right in February to sustain the party’s glory in the eyes of Nigerians who massively supported and voted for the rulling party, courtesy of the legacies of former governor of Borno and now the national chairman aspirant.
Ali Modu Sheriff was born in Ngala town, Ngala local government area, Borno state in 1956. His father was a business tycoon Galadima Modu Sheriff. He attended Government Secondary School, Bama (1974–1979). He attended the London School of Business, where he studied Insurance, Banking and Finance. In 1981, he joined his father’s construction company as a firector, later became managing director. In 1985, he registered his first company. His companies include Meroil Organisation and Union Chase.
He was elected as a senator from Borno during the Third Nigerian Republic under the banner of NRC, his opponent then was Kolo Kingibe, wife of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, chairman, Babagana Kingibe. He was also a member of the Constitutional Conference and chaired the committee on states and local governments.The rulling APC must take a holistic decision to save its soul as the narrative of exclusions been sold against the person of the former governor of Borno Senator Ali Modu Sherrif are baseless. They are left with only lamentations and cock and bull stories knowing full that none among them has the qualities and the experience to bring back the lost glory of the party other than the former governor of Borno state.
Senator Ali Modu Sherrif is no doubt the most experienced and visible figure in the national chairmanship race of the APC. A tested grassroots politician, Sheriff is a leader of the defunct All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) one of the legacy parties that metamorphosised into the APC. He broke the record in 2007 when was re-elected as governor; in the history of Borno state, nobody has achieved that feat before. An alumnus of the prestigious London School of Business, the Ngala-born Ali Modu Sheriff has promised to bring his wealth of experience in the private sector, as a lawmaker in the upper chamber of the National Assembly and as party administrator in four political parties to bear if elected as the chairman of APC come February 2022.
A man of enormous financial and political muscle, political pundits continue to see his past in PDP as a plus to his APC national chairmanship aspiration because of his measurable influence in Borno State and Nigeria in general. He is is currently perceived to be a very strong-willed and bold person, some political pundits argue that the emergence of a Sheriff-led NWC will bring back the rulling APC popularity before Nigerians who seem fed up with the party after failing to fulfill in some of its promises.
As much as the party needs a firm leader now especially where imposition and impunity are gradually becoming the order of day and only a politician with great virtue of diplomacy. A leader with team mobilisation, team spirit will set a standard for an emerging new leadership in Nigeria under his watch if elected our national chairman because the party needs a man of the Sheriff’s pedigree at this crucial period.
Kokari, convener of the Coalition of North East APC Youths for Change, writes from Maiduguri, Borno state.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Sky Daily