Ali Modu Sheriff, factional chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says he is qualified to be the president of Nigeria. Speaking on Sunday when he appeared on Politics Today, a programme on Channels Television, Sheriff said he has paid his dues in politics and can serve in the highest office in the land. He described himself as a highly principled individual, saying he believes in democracy and the rule of law. The former Borno state governor also denied ever promising to give the vice-president’s ticket to anyone.
“I have never told anyone that I want to be the president or run for the office of the president, but I have a right. I am a Nigerian qualified to be a president. Yes I have the right,” he said.
“I am a highly principled person. If as a founding father of the All Progressives Congress, I could walk out of the convention, then you would know that I am principled.”
Sheriff also denied the report that he had the intention of stepping down in 2018 in order to pick the party’s presidential ticket.
“It is a pure lie. Absolute fabrication, I didn’t discuss such with anybody. The party zoned the presidency to the north, and northern Nigeria is not for Ali Sheriff alone,” he said.
“The fact of the matter is that I have never told anybody anything like that.”
Sheriff accused Ayo Fayose, governor of Ekiti state, and Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers, of plotting to hijack the party, but said they will not succeed.
He said peace will only return to the opposition party if everyone is carried along, and the forthcoming convention is taken to Abuja, not Port Harcourt.
“We will not let PDP to be hijacked by few people like Governor Fayose and the governor of Rivers state,” he said.
“They have a script that they want someone to act, but I am a man of principle. This is not about Ali Sheriff; it is about democracy, and the rule of law.
“I never asked to be chairman of the PDP. I was asked to come and assist the party. I never wanted to be chairman of PDP. I was sitting down in my house when leaders of the party begged me to come and help the party. Initially, I said no, but I later accepted.
“We won’t allow things to go wrong, the party will not be hijacked. If they agree to carry everybody along and take the convention to Abuja, I am ready to step down today.”
On the allegation of being one of the sponsors of Boko Haram, Sheriff said he feels sad whenever he is linked to the sect.
He recollected his faceoff with Femi Fani-Kayode, former minister of aviation, who accused him of Boko Haram sponsorship in the heat of the PDP crisis.
“How can I have a link with Boko Haram? They killed three of my brothers. Do you know any governor that Boko Haram killed his brothers?” he asked.
“When I was in power, there was no local government under Boko Haram control. Chibok that is not peaceful today, I used to go there then, and there was no problem.
“I met Mohammed Yusuf (founder of the sect) when he was arrested by the military. I was invited to the barracks, and I asked him why he was killing people and he said he was doing the work of God. But I challenged him.
“I feel sad that I was linked with Boko Haram. People I served with when I was governor know I will never be part of such thing.
“When Fani-Kayode accused me of Boko Haram sponsorship, I asked my lawyers to write him, and he started begging, he sent about 20 people to me. Fani-Kayode is not the kind of man that Nigerians should take seriously. He changes the goal post on every matter.”