Final preparations for the defection of former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ali Modu-Sheriff, to his former party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), has reached advanced stage as he on Thursday met behind closed doors with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, at Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The meeting which held at the office of the vice president, INDEPENDENT was told, is a follow up to series of meetings held by Modu-Sheriff and the party leadership on how to plan his smooth return to the APC.
The Borno State born politician had angrily left APC on July 12, 2016 following disagreement with some other leaders of the party over the control of party structure.
His brief sojourn in PDP saw him become the national chairman of the party with a mandate to complete the tenure of Adamu Mu’azu, who resigned his appointment as PDP chairman after leading the party to electoral defeat at the 2015 general elections.
His reign, however, turned awry as he refused to relinquish power at the expiration of his tenure.
He was eventually sent packing by the Supreme Court on July 12 after a protracted legal battle between him and other stakeholders of the party.
Five days ago, his appointed deputy while the crisis lasted, Cairo Ojougboh, had defected to the APC in Delta State with some of his supporters, who formed the Ali Modu-Sheriff faction of the PDP in Delta State while the crisis lasted.
The meeting between Modu-Sheriff and the vice president lasted for about two hours without Modu-Sheriff briefing newsmen when he exited the office of the vice president.
Incidentally, while the crisis in the PDP lasted, Modu-Sheriff was alleged to be working as a mole for the APC.
However, his former party, the PDP, has wished him well in his new endeavour.
The PDP noted that it made efforts at genuine reconciliation with Modu-Sheriff after the Supreme Court judgement but he rebuffed all.
Prince Dayo Adeyeye, National Publicity Secretary of the party, made the response in a telephone chat with INDEPENDENT in response to the move by Modu-Sheriff.
“We did our best to extend our olive branch to Ali Modu-Sheriff despite the fact that he took us through a very harrowing experience in the PDP, but nevertheless in the spirit of ‘no victor, no vanquished’ we extended our olive branch to him which he refused to pick.
“If Ali Modu-Sheriff decides to cross over to the APC, we cannot stop him.
“We are in a democracy and he has the freedom of party, we can only wish him the best of luck as he returns back to the APC.
“He knew the reasons why he left the APC to join the PDP in the first instance, so if he finds now that those reasons are no longer there, what can we say than to wish him the best of luck”, the PDP spokesman said.
Sheriff A Big Spender, Free to Join APC- Tony Momoh
Meanwhile, former Minister of Transport, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, on Thursday said the PDP is not bothered if Modu-Sheriff joins the APC or not.
Babatope, who wished the APC luck, said his greatest joy is that Modu-Sheriff’s reign of impunity was terminated by the Supreme Court and the party now enjoys peace.
“If he is joining, that is the problem of APC. They can take him back if they want. Ali Modu-Sheriff is free to go anywhere he wants to go. My joy is that we in the PDP have succeeded in sending him out.
“If he likes he can go and meet President Buhari and renegotiate his way back to APC. That is their headache. I wish the APC luck but we are not bothered by it at all”
Also speaking, former Minister of Information, Prince Tony Momoh, described Sheriff as a big spender who adds value to the growth of any political party he joins.
Momoh, a chieftain of the APC, said Sheriff is free to join the APC as he was not expelled but left on his own volition.
“Ali Modu-Sheriff is a big spender, a very big spender. I know that because we are in ANPP together and then we also were in APC together. Some of the biggest spenders in Nigerian political scene are Ali Modu-Sheriff and Bola Tinubu. They can spend to grow the party.
“Was it not Sheriff who was invited by PDP and he paid all their bills? I think if he wants to join any political party, there is freedom of association.
“Sheriff was one of our national leaders, he left on his own. He was never expelled from the party. We don’t give any condition for people to join. If he wants to join APC, he should go to his ward in Borno State and register there. If he now encounters problem there, that’s another issue”, he said.