In a bid to save the new National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff from being booted out of office, the Ondo State governor, Segun Mimiko who also doubles as chairman of the PDP Governors Forum has invited some former ministers in the cabinet of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan to a meeting to beg them to accept Sheriff who was picked by PDP governors as the party’s new national chairman.
Many influential members of the PDP, particularly ministers in the Jonathan Administration, are uncomfortable with Sheriff’s leadership of the party, and are threatening to dump the party if the governors’ decision is not reversed.
The party’s Board of Trustees (BoT) is not disposed to confirming Sheriff’s nomination either.
The governor dispatched a chartered jet to convey the ex-ministers to Abuja for the parley but some of them declined to honour the invitation.
They opted to meet on Tuesday decide their next line of action.
The Forum of ex-PDP Ministers may be expanded to include those who served under ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo and ex-President Umaru Yar’Adua .
Mimiko, investigations revealed, is greatly disturbed by the negative reactions sparked by Sheriff’s selection.
A well placed party source said: “In the last 72 hours, Mimiko has been personally reaching out to all the aggrieved ex-Ministers, state chairmen of PDP, Senators, members of the House of Representatives and members of the Board of Trustees(BOT).
“Today (yesterday), a chartered jet was provided by Mimiko to bring the aggrieved ex-Ministers to Abuja but some of them shunned the sudden invitation. A delegation led by ex-Minister of Special Duties, Tanimu Turaki (SAN), however, left for Akure.
“Mimiko is trying to pacify all groups in order to allow Sheriff to be in charge. He does not want the crisis in the party to degenerate further.
“The governor has been making calls to all those who are against Sheriff. He asked them to sheathe their swords. He is trying to save Sheriff. The truth is that Governors Ayo Fayose and Nyesom Wike led us to this mess.
“The ex-Ministers are however adamant. They have fixed a meeting for Tuesday to decide the next line of action.”
Sheriff himself has embarked on reconciliation shuttles to strategic leaders of the party.
For a start, he has paid a surprise visit to Turaki, who is coordinating the Forum of ex-PDP Ministers.
Another source said that Sheriff seemed to be monitoring the ex-Ministers’ meeting.
“Before the meeting ended on Wednesday night, Sheriff was already waiting in Turaki’s home. He begged the ex-Minister to prevail on his colleagues to give him the opportunity to lead the party,” the source said.
“The ex-governor assured Turaki that he would not disappoint the party if allowed to lead the party.
“But there was no concrete assurance from Turaki who said he would consult widely.’