By Daud Olatunji
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, said factional National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, might be the party’s undertaker.
Obasanjo, while emerging from a meeting with Sheriff, held behind closed doors at his Hilltop residence in Abeokuta, said Sheriff was nursing a party whose soul had already departed.
The meeting, which lasted more than an hour, was held after Sheriff arrived the former President’s residence in a convoy of four vehicles at 11:04.
The factional Chairman was accompanied by some aides and loyalists.
Sheriff was led by Obasanjo to one of the inner rooms immediately he arrived the compound for what they called a private visit.
Journalists were barred from covering the meeting. They were, however, called inside the building after the meeting and briefed them.
Obasanjo, who spoke first, explained that he received a call from Sheriff on Friday, requesting to have a meeting with him.
The factional Chairman has been battling some leaders of the PDP over the party’s top position.
Senator Ahmed Makarfi heads the National Caretaker Committee while Sheriff claims to be the authentic national chairman.
Sheriff’s meeting with Obasanjo is believed to be in connection with the crisis rocking the party.
The former President explained: “I think it was yesterday (Friday), He (Sheriff) called me on telephone and said ‘where are you?’ And I said I am in the country. He said ‘may I come and see you?’ I said my house is open to all Nigerians of goodwill and even non-Nigerians of goodwill. And I said, ‘you can come’.
“Let me make it absolutely clear once and again: I’ve renounced partisan politics. I don’t belong to any political party, not to talk of his own faction of PDP or any other faction”.
While sharing what they discussed at the meeting, Obasanjo said he asked Sheriff to tell him the problem in the party and he gave him the details.
The former President did not divulge what he told him, saying: “I am very, very happy to receive him.
” The soul of that party has been taken out of it. And those who allowed that to happen, unfortunately either in the country or out of the country, are unperturbed about the fate of that party and indeed the fate of the country.
“Because, for our democracy to thrive, we need a strong political party in government and strong political party in opposition. For democracy to be strong and dynamic, today’s PDP cannot claim to be a strong party in opposition. I don’t know if APC can claim, at the national level, to be a strong party in government either now, that is part of the misfortune of this country today”.
Sheriff said he visited the former President because he was looking for solution to the PDP crisis, saying the missing soul of the party might be retrieved from Obasanjo.
The factional leader, who kept interjecting into Obasanjo’s remarks, especially when the former President called him a factional leader of the party, said, “Baba, I don’t have any faction. I’m the Chairman of the PDP, Baba”.
He said: ” Well, Baba has said everything. Baba said the PDP that they gave me is a dying PDP. He built the PDP that everybody cherished. Baba, whether he’s today in politics or outside politics, he has a role in Nigeria’s nation and every one of us that is looking upon to him?, if we have a problem, we must come to him for solution.