The All Progressives Youth Forum plans to hold a nationwide thanksgiving service in churches and mosques over the planned defection of former Governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The forum chairman, Ismail Ahmed, said yesterday that his group received with so much joy the news of Sheriff’s defection as it is the best thing that would ever to the party due to what it calls “strategic blackmail of the APC by the PDD using Sheriff’s alleged links with the Boko Haram, regardless whether Sheriff was guilty or not”.
The Forum said: “It has conducted very serious investigations about all the games in trying to attach a bad name to the APC locally and internationally. We found out that the PDP uses sponsored commentators in Nigeria to link Sheriff with Boko Haram, rightly or wrongly, and because he was a chieftain of the APC, it was easy to sell that to Nigerians using the media.
“The Forum recalled that the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, and Femi Fani Kayode, recently said in public that Sheriff was behind Boko Haram and they openly used that to associate APC with Boko Haram”.
The Forum also recalled that in 2011, the PDP spread the allegation that Sheriff was responsible for the emergence of a violent Boko Haram attack after a certain deal he struck with their late leader to support his bid in 2003 to be governor and in return, Sheriff created a Ministry for Religious Affairs and made one of the Boko Haram’s major financiers, Buji Foi, as Commissioner for Religious Affairs.
However, Sheriff had a fall out with Foi, which led to the first major crisis in 2009 following the killing of Foi and Yusuf Muhammed, the Boko Haram founder.
Ahmed added: “Most importantly also, the PDP and the federal government are in the habit of telling the international community that APC has links with Boko Haram and in each of their meetings with representatives of foreign countries and international institutions, the PDP and the FG cited Sheriff’s membership of the APC as basis of APC’S false link with Boko Haram. At a point two months ago, some agents working to satisfy PDP wanted the British parliament to move a motion in session seeking to probe APC’S alleged link with Boko Haram principally on the basis of Sheriff’s membership of APC
“By the time Sheriff leaves the APC, nobody will have any reason to further demonise the party locally or internationally. We had actually recommended his expulsion to the leadership of the party a while ago
“We don’t want him one bit in APC. He was a big burden to us, we feel so relieved and this is why we will call on our members nationwide to attend special Sunday church service and jumma’at prayers to offer thanksgiving to God almighty for cleansing the APC”.