Chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum, Ayo Fayose, has said that unforeseen circumstances that sprang up after some leaders of the party (including himself) asked Ali Modu Sheriff to lead the PDP made them to change their minds about Sheriff’s competence.
Fayose, who was a guest on FOCUS NIGERIA, a live political programme on AIT, said Nigerians should stop viewing them as leaders that refuse to respect the rule of law but should understand that in politics, nothing is sacrosanct.
He explained that in a democracy which is characterized by a fragile political situation, circumstances can change in a minute and cause one to rethink the position on a particular issue.
The governor explained that it was until later that they discovered Sheriff lacked the capacity to lead an all-inclusive party like the PDP that has a good spread across the country. Hence, it was necessary to replace him.
Fayose said that the national convention of the party that was scheduled to hold in Port-Harcourt last year would have produced a South-Westerner from among Bode George, Jimi Agbaje, or Prof. Adeniran as national chairman, which would have put the leadership crisis in the party to rest, had that convention not been thwarted by Sheriff and his cohorts.
He said the choice of a Southerner for the national chairmanship position of the party was a common-sense fact and morally right since the party has decided that a Northerner will fly its flag in 2019.
The governor insisted that, for posterity sake, some leaders of the PDP will appeal the ruling of the appellate court that affirmed Sheriff as the leader of the party. He said the removal of Sheriff will bring a lasting solution to the crisis in the party, which, according to him, will fizzle out soon.
He said: “In politics, what you say today; circumstances can change it tomorrow. The reason is this; a minute is too long in politics. So many things can happen in politics. Nothing changes the party but it is the individuals in the party that makes things happen.
“In a political situation like this; when you say it will happen this way circumstance can change it. So nothing is sacrosanct in politics.
“Let me say to you, if we got it wrong at first, we would have had another opportunity to get it right had the Port-Harcourt convention held last year, which could have produced a South-Western as national chairman of the party.
“These days, nobody has the right to zone any office to a particular geopolitical zone. Zoning is not in the constitution, Zoning is just a gentleman’s agreement that leadership should be rotational.
“If President Jonathan had allowed somebody in the North to contest for presidency under the PDP, President Buhari would not have had a field day in the North. Zoning is just common sense and morally right but it is not in the constitution of the party or the constitution of Nigeria.
“There are three ingredients that produce tomorrow in politics. They are the people, the party, and the candidate. I want to tell you the people component is the most important. Makarfi has the people of the party behind him.
“The amount of stalwarts that turned-up for the Makarfi stakeholders meeting shows you where the people are in the party.
“The PDP was founded on some many interests – the minority, the majority, everybody – it is an all-inclusive party that has a good spread. It is like a sleeping lion. So, anybody that is playing to the gallery or playing games with us should remember that what goes around will come around.
“Again let me tell you Ali Modu Sheriff joined PDP after a while. He will not say he is a founding member of the PDP. We will not abandon PDP to Sheriff or anybody. We will take the whole matter to a logical conclusion for posterity sake.
“To bring lasting peace in the PDP, we do not want Sheriff in any capacity in the party. That is the long and short of the solution to the PDP leadership crisis.
“If you want to lead PDP, there are certain things that must be part of the leadership qualities you must show. I reiterate we do not want Sheriff as our leader. Makarfi is our national chairman.
“This crisis will fizzle away. Let us watch and see.”