By; Bala B. Bitrus, Minna.
With the recent favourable Appeal Court verdict in his kitty, National Chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ali Modu Sheriff on Sunday evening had a shuttle visit to Minna where he held separate meetings with former Military President, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, (IBB) and Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, immediate past Governor of Niger state.Sheriff’s first port of call was to former Governor, Babangida Aliyu after which he headed for the Uphill mansion of former Military President, General Ibrahim where he had another round of meeting held behind closed doors.
His meeting with IBB lasted for about two hours and ended much into nightfall when he emerged from the palatial residence of the former Military ruler with a grinned smile on his face.
Dependable sources close to the former Military President said General Babangida had commended Sheriff for the manner he handled his victory at the Appeal Court without any rouse.
General Babangida is quoted as saying, “I am very happy with the statement you issued after the court ruling. It shows that there is room for reconciliation and unity within the PDP”.“Indeed there is the need to bring everybody back together to make the party a formidable opposition party” our source further quoted the former Military Head of State as saying.
Sheriff who spoke to journalists on the Appellate Court’s verdict, was very magnanimous in victory. He said, “my victory is a victory for the PDP all over Nigeria. There is no loser in this matter” he said.
He described the protracted case that had seen verdicts and counter verdicts by High Courts in both Abuja and Port Harcourt as mere interplays of the elements of democracy and judicial practices. “It is just a misunderstanding within a family and we are calling on everybody to come together so that the party could be made stronger and formidable once again”.He said his visit to the former Military President was in recognition of the fatherly status of IBB. “IBB is like our father. During our meeting he said he is happy with my statement after the court ruling. He told me to continue that way so that i can bring everybody back together to make the party more stronger and formidable as an opposition party”.
He revealed that with the legal tussles now over, the PDP would commence fence mending process and break new grounds. “What we want to do now is to put the party back on shape so that everyone that is aggrieved is brought back as one united, indivisible family once again.
He said the party can ill afford to have it’s ranks balkanised or dismembered for any reason. Saying; look, united we stand, divided we fall”.When asked if he had reached out to the Senator Ahmed Makarfi led group, Sheriff revealed that “i have even called Makarfi himself. And I have called on everybody that needed to be reached out to i am asking them to come back so that we can work together for the good of the party”.Former Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu who had pitched his tent with the Senator Ahmed Makarfi led faction while the imbroglio within the party lasted, was very tactful and diplomatic in his remarks to journalists on the new development.
He said, “now that we have a legal decision which supports the resolution of the matter, even though other people talk about pursuing or going higher to the Supreme Court, others are saying no; we should start widening the solution because we need not waste more time in terms of legality”.The former Governor noted that “that is why for the moment, until anybody is able to go higher and setting aside the decision of the Appeal Court, for the moment, Ali Modu Sheriff is the Chairman of the Party. And those of us who love to see solution to this party will continue to find ways of mending fences” he summed up.
And as if he was flying a Kite, the former Governor said “i think we should all bury our ambitions because you can’t have an ambition without a platform. We need to have a platform first of all. We are in the opposition. We need time to organize, re-organize restratigize and go back to the people with plausible, real solution to their problems. If we don’t get these solutions, then what do we have? He asked rhetorically.He said “we need to all come together and appeal to all of our members. All PDP lovers and members need to really look at the issues objectively so that we have a platform that we can call a Party which can win elections but certainly not as a fragmented party” he cautioned.