Estimated reading time: 19 minute(s)
By BUSOLA SAMUEL
Nigerian politics, to an extent, is a very interesting one that comes in different negatives only in time of election. What is unique about the country is that, it has perfect system that puts him, who alleges to check with strict demand for proof.
At this juncture, attempts by some negative minded politics players to make headway with their blackmailing of Ali Modu Sheriff with sponsorship of dreaded Boko Haram has continued to fail, not even when such attempts reared their heads again just because of his stature as the most qualified for the position of National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Unfortunately, those that have mischievously spread this evil against the good name of the former Borno State Governor are the same ones that erroneously spread lies of “baboo will soak with blood” using that as political tool to deprive President Muhammadu Buhari the easy access to Presidency of Nigeria until they were exposed in 2015, when the truth finally came and their lies hit back at them that chieftain of the same PDP that celebrated such dangerous, wicked and false allegation against Buhari was the one that made such threat against Jonathan election (2011).
Since that 2015 till date, President Buhari has been President and Nigerians now know who truly are sponsors of Boko Haram, even with the additional ones (IPOB/ESN and bandits of North West). It is the common knowledge, since 2015, that insecurity has become a political tool by opposition as means for getting to power. So, those who allege have been told to bury their heads in shame, if they cannot proof their allegation of Boko Haram sponsorship against Ali Modu Sheriff.
From a distant state of Nasarawa, North Central geopolitical zone, a former lawmaker, Kassim Kassim, further neutralised the unverified claim linking the former Governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, to sponsorship of Boko Haram. From his submission, it became clear that, although it is business as usual for politicians to run fellow players down with negative tags, such gimmick no longer works in Nigerian politics because no claim comes except for the system to demand he that alleges to proof or earn a place in any branch of correctional centre.
From all indications, the lawmaker was right. This is because, if Sheriff was truly involved in sponsoring Boko Haram, he would have been arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS) and would have been further talked about by other security agencies. To this end, for a man, whose party, ANPP, was not in charge of Federal Government, it is not right to blame him for such easily traceable security problem that PDP, which was in power then should, in all honesty, be asked to account for. To link him with sponsorship of the dreaded group is, therefore, unacceptable and unfair.
If it is not about corruption, and, of a surety it is not, any other allegation is mere wishful thinking of some opposition politicians, that cannot be proved and therefore holds no water in the matter of the former governor and senator. Anybody who must allege or has alleged must prove and he that has no proof should not dare, because, there is a law in the land, which makes it impossible for such rascality of politicisation to thrive.
The former All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmaker was reacting to a report on the race for the national chairmanship position of the party and the reference to an accusation by an Australian hostage negotiator, Stephen Davies, that Mr Sheriff was a sponsor of the insurgents.
He said the former governor has consistently rejected the tag and that if the allegation was to be true, the successive administrations in his home state and the Federal Government would have exposed him.
He said the tag is a ploy by the opposition to weaken his campaign to lead APC as the national chairman.
He said; “As far back as December 10, 2004, the State Security Service (DSS) had cleared him of the allegation. The SSS in their report claims that Stephen Davis and others fraudulently conspired to blackmail and implicate Sheriff and Mala Othman, former APC chairman of Borno State as sponsors of Boko Haram.
“If Sheriff was involved in sponsoring Boko Haram he would have been arrested by DSS and other security operatives for questioning.”
He said there is an attempt to discredit Sheriff ahead of the possible zoning of the position of the APC national chairman to the North East “in order to weaken his chances.”
The mischievous politicking recently rose because of fear that once the national chairmanship of the party is zoned to the North East, where Mr Sheriff had served as two-term governor and represented his state, Borno, in the Senate more than once, he will be the only person with the weight to pick it.
Be that as it may, the former governor, who led the All Nigeria’s Peoples Party (ANPP) to the merger talks that culminated in the formation of the ruling APC in 2013, before he left for the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has shown interest in the position if zoned to the North East.
In February 2021, while confirming his interest to run for the office, he was reported to have said, “the leadership of the party has not been zoned to any particular zone of the country for now. People have expressed their interests across the country.
“But the real thing is that whether I will run for the office or not will be determined by what the caretaker committee takes as a decision on where the leadership of the party will go. Whether it will go to another place or it will remain in our zone.
“If it goes to another zone, I will not contest. But if it stays in our zone, I will contest,” Sheriff said it n February last year and now, as the elective national convention holds on 26 February, this year, he is in the rink gunning for the exalted party office.
Speaking about the former governor, Kassim said having served in the senate twice and being the first governor to be reelected in the state, Mr Sheriff’s legacies could not be wished away by mere condemnation.
He said the new leadership in the state could trace their emergence to what he described as Mr Sheriff’s political sagacity.
He said Mr Sheriff singlehandedly installed his successor, Kashim Shettima, after his initial choice was assassinated.
“He practically dragged Mr Shetima into politics from the banking sector and made him a governor using his vast networks and goodwill.
“He first made him a commissioner in 2007. Today, apart from Governor Babagana Zulum and a few others, every politician, both national and at the state level from Borno State, made it through the Sheriff empire.”
He said it is on record that during the Third Republic, Mr Sheriff of the NRC had defeated Kolo Kingibe of the SDP, wife of Babagana Kingibe, to emerge Senator for Borno Central in 1992.
He added; ”Sheriff was also elected a senator on the platform of the UNCP during General Sani Abacha’s military regime and returned in April 1999 as Senator on the platform of APP during the Fourth Republic.
“In 2003, he ran for governor of Borno State on the ANPP platform and won and he was re-elected in 2007 and in both cases he defeated the PDP candidate, Kashim Ibrahim Imam…”
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