The two-term Borno State governor, Ali Modu Sheriff has said he is the best candidate for the exalted office of National Chairman of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) expressing confidence that the APC would govern the country for more than 40 years.
He made the declaration at the weekend while speaking with newsmen in Abuja.
Sheriff maintained that for this to happen, there is need to hand over its national secretariat to someone who would cement cordial relationship with all the tendencies in the party after the exit of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Having said that, our party, the APC, you all know that today as a political party, we are about six and half years. It is a combination of different political parties that became APC and we also know that our President, Muhammadu Buhari even before coming into the APC had already made 12 million votes from the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) days and Congress for Progressives Congress days.”
Among other contenders for the position ahead of the national convention with no scheduled date are Abdul Aziz Yari, Kashim Shettima; Tanko Al-Makura; George Akume; Danjuma Goje; former governors of Zamfara, Borno, Nasarawa Benue and Gombe States, respectively. Also in the race are former chieftain of the defunct CPC from Kwara State, Mustapha Salihu; Sunny Moniedafe from Adamawa State and Senator representing Niger East, Mohammed Sani Musa.
Senator Ali Modu Sheriff noted that amongst the aspirants, he remains the only one who combines the experience of being state governor with party administration.
He assured that he will leverage on his goodwill and experience to ensure genuine reconciliation in the APC as it prepares for next general elections.
He said: “What I am bringing in as National Chairman. See, I am bringing my experience as somebody who knows the terrain of Nigeria. I am bringing my experience as a two-term Governor of a state. I will be bringing my experience as a leader of the National Assembly. Who are the politicians? House of Assembly members, chairmen of local governments, National Assembly members, Governors. These are the leaders of the party. I have been all.
“So, I am coming to the table as someone who understands the terrain. I am coming as someone who has run political parties in different aspects. I am not a newcomer. I am not a novice. I told you I was the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of ANPP that formed the APC today. I am bringing to the table my knowledge of who and who worked hard to make sure that we succeed and who and who left because they were angry. I will go to their houses and bring them back. So, I am bringing a package that will meet the aspirations of every man and woman of this party.”
He brought that to the table and what are we going to face after the exit of His Excellency, the President? It is we the APC members that will tell the world that we are capable of getting their trust even when he finished his tenure. Doing that, you need everybody. You need people who know the history of the party, where we are coming from, who know the history of this country, someone who has been in different aspects of life and we need to work together, we need to build bridges across the country.
“Today, as a party we are only six years in government, our aspirations are for the APC to be in government in the next 30 to 40 years.
Doing that doesn’t come on the platter of gold, we need to put in hard work. Therefore, I believe it is important for me to reach out to all leaders of our party: the youths, the women, different organizations, to tell them that we must come together to get our party to run for the next 30, 40, 50 years by the grace of God.
And doing that, you need a rugged captain, you don’t need a captain that will capsize. A ship has to be navigated by a knowledgeable person who knows the water and I believe I can do that for our party, if given the opportunity by party men and women who are the decision-makers.
“There are so many people in the field but you can look at everybody and see where you can put your deposit. We don’t want a bank that will collapse after a short period.”
Senator Ali Modu Sheriff further dispelled insinuation that governors in the ruling party are opposed to his aspiration, as he noted that “every governor will be interested to work with somebody that he can relate with and somebody that is one of them. I am one of them. I was a Governor and by that automatically I am one of them. I don’t think I have any problem with any governor. I respect them that is why I visit them.”
“I am going to work with them as leaders of the states and people that are stakeholders of this party, people who collectively will decide the future of our party with His Excellency, the President on top. I don’t have fear of that at all because I don’t think any governor will like to see somebody that people will not respect as his National Chairman. Every governor will like to see his Chairman be somebody that will be respected by the larger society. I don’t have any problem with any governor. I respect them, they are the ones that will make decisions on behalf of the party because it is in the Constitution of our party that they are leaders of our party.”