A vivid accounts of what actually led to the ouster of the former Borno Governor and the ouster opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff have been unearthed.
A close monitor of an account of Punch Newspaper's account on what really transpired at the factional PDP convention in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Capital is nothing but that of a civilian coup necessary to save the face of an already battered major opposition party.
In Punch Newspaper's account reviewed by Newspunch.org, the coup to salvage the party was a necessary one, else the party was on the verge of a total disintegration, hence some governor in connivance with some aggrieved leaders hatched it.
According to Punch Newspaper, some governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party and a flurry of text messages triggered the revolt that led to the removal of the National Chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff.
Top officials of the party who took part in the game of intrigues that led to the ouster of the party chairman said Sheriff did not realise the level of conspiracy against him till it was too late.
The coalition that worked against Sheriff also included senior party members led by Prof. Jerry Gana, Punch Newspaper confirmed from a source privy to all that happened at the convention.
These party members, the officials added, were the ones who persuaded the governors to send last-minute text messages to their delegates to reject Sheriff on the convention ground.
One of the text messages read, “Reject Sheriff at the convention by passing vote of no confidence in him and voting ‘no’ on his ballot paper.”
It was learnt that the text message leaked to Sheriff, who hurriedly left his hotel room and headed to Government House, Port Harcourt.
Sheriff, who had scheduled a press briefing for the early morning of Saturday, was said to have rushed to the Government House where he met the governors, including the host, Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, seated.
One of the governors, who spoke with one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity, said Sheriff confronted the governors, some senators and members of the Board of Trustees at the meeting, but failed to sway them.
The governor, who spoke to our correspondent, said, “The crisis started when Sheriff refused to abide by the terms of agreement that he should spend just three months in office and he started manoeuvring to remain in office.
“We spoke to our colleagues that we should take a position and ask him to leave, they said no. Even when the party was factionalised, they remained adamant.”
The governor added that two of Sheriff’s main backers and sponsors, Governor Wike and Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, abandoned him when they saw the level of opposition against their choice.
The governor added, “Wike and Fayose went to beg the Gana faction that they should support Sheriff, they returned with nothing. The members of the Gana faction said ‘over their dead bodies.’
“We then agreed that we (anti-Sheriff governors) would play along and act decisively at the eleventh hour. That’s what we did today (Saturday), by sending text messages to our delegates to pass a vote of no confidence in him at the convention ground.
“Unfortunately, the message leaked and that was why he rushed to meet us at the Government House. We asked him to go and resign in order to save the party, but he refused.
“When he knew that the game was up, he stormed out of the meeting and rushed down to his hotel to address you people (journalists). He knew that there was no way he would survive the gathering storm. We needed to save our party from disintegration and total collapse. That’s what happened.”
The Nation Newspaper's account gave more light to what preluded the eventual ouster of Ali Modu Sheriff.
It was reported in the newspaper that Governors Nyesom Wike of Rivers Sate and Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State ended their vociferous support for Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as acting national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on a rather sour note yesterday.
The duo almost came to blows after it became clear that they were riding a lame donkey.
While Wike remained steadfast in his support for the retention of Sheriff as chairman of the party at its convention in Port Harcourt, Fayose sensationally backed out.