Initially, I wanted to title this as, “Sheriff, how many times controversial”? This is because he swims in controversies right from the days when he was alleged to have purchased all the nomination forms of the defunct All Peoples Party APP leaving the then Borno Governor, Mala Kachalla practically running helter skelter looking for form to enable him stand for a reelection; to his days in the APC when he struggled with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as to who was to be rightly addressed as the national leader of the party, then his dramatic sojourn in the PDP. But, I had a change of mind and settled for, “An old Sheriff in a familiar turf”. Old in the game and so not a new Sheriff in town, swimming in controversies appears a favourite pastime for him; but halfway through the write-up, I discovered that Sheriff is neither here nor there. Chased out from the leaking umbrella, unwelcome by the loosely-knit bunch of broom, Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff is neither here nor there. So, even in picking titles relating to articles about SAS (Senator Ali-Modu Sheriff), formerly GAS (Gov. Ali-Modu Sheriff), it could be a herculean task.
Having left the PDP, the former governor was to be formerly received into the APC on Thursday but that was not to be as the national leadership of the party which had earlier sent out invitations for the event suddenly discovered that it was again embarking on the oath of self-destruct but rather than admit it, the party instead tried to pass the buck to the former governor.
“The former factional chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff, accompanied by his supporters will be at the All Progressives Congress APC National Secretariat tomorrow (Thursday). Time: 12noon”. That was the invitation. Reports quoted party sources as confirming that the former Borno governor was to be accepted into the party along with a throng of his supporters.
But, less than 24 hours later, the party made what looked like a subtle backtrack.
“Our attention has been drawn to reports in some sections of the media that the former factional chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff plans to defect to the All Progressives Congress APC today at the APC National Secretariat in Abuja.
“While 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. We are happy to welcome new members to our party, but membership cards are not issued at the Party National Secretariat”, the party said in a terse statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi.
Aware of Sheriff’s defection plans, the party made to give the impression that they got wind of the defection plan “in some section of the media”. The party should have “restated our earlier position that anyone who wants to join the Party should do so at the ward level”. Coming out to say this on the very day that the former governor was to lead his group into the party gives the impression that the party leadership might have kowtowed to some form of external pressure to decline its earlier decision to receive the former governor into its fold.
But what does the APC Constitution say regarding eligibility for membership? Article 9.1 (ii & iii) of the APC Constitution (as amended) states that; “Application for membership shall be made to and cleared by the Ward Executives of the party in the Local Government Area where the person was born, resides, works or originates.
“Online registration shall also be acceptable provided that it is cleared by the National Working Committee of the Party.
“Where an application is refused, the applicant may as of right appeal to the Local Government Area Executive Committee of the Party or to the National Secretary or National Chairman, in case of online registration”.
As of Thursday, none of these provisions had been met by Sen. Sheriff. In practical terms, and as things stand, he is party less. Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff is neither here nor there.