The former governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff has formally withdrawn from the national chairmanship race of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
He made the declaration in Abuja on Sunday.
The frontline politician who hails from the North East region of the country said his decision was informed by the zone arrangement of the party that zoned the office, national chairman, to the North Central region.
“I Ali Modu Sheriff will not offer myself for the contest on Saturday because it has been zoned out of my zone. I am from the northeast. North Central is made of Kogi, Kwara, Benue, Nasarawa., Plateau. These are the places where the chairman will come out from. Borno State is northeast of Nigeria. Therefore that’s the position as of today and I want you to communicate to all of our followership men and women all over the country so that they don’t expect to see my name on the ballot paper.’
The Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the party on the 8th of March approved the zoning arrangement presented by Gov. Abdulraham Abdulrazak Zoning Committee. The zoning formula zoned the office of the National Chairman to the North Central zone.
He however said that if the party have a rethink and throw the ticket open, he will not hesitate to offer himself for the office.
Addressing newsmen, Sheriff said, “The party has taken a position that the position of the national chairman should go to the north-central. Meaning, it is exclusively zoned to the contestants of the North Central Zone
“Being someone who respects the rule of law and respects our leaders. No party can take a zoning formula where you have a leader of the party in any setting where there is a government, the President is the leader of the party.
“And the President has taken a position. I’ve always told you that I will contest if it is zoned to my zone. That has been my statement always. And today they have taken a position. I respect the President. I respect him as a person and as President, he is my leader. He must have a reason for allowing the party to zone the chairmanship to north-central.
“I have led a party. I am a founding father of this party. I was the chairman of the Board of Trustees of a party. Meaning every decision Party makes all the time I’ve been neither chairman of the party Chairman, the Board of Trustees. I know the procedure and the process.”
The former Bornu State governor, however, said he would be available to contest if there is a change of policy by the party.
He said, “I don’t want to draw a line. I respect the party unless the party come out between now and Friday to say that, no we have changed our mind, it is now open, in that respect also there are obliged to allow everybody to pick a form. Every form is a party nationalist affairs of a party. Therefore, I don’t want to oppose the President in any way or form. I respect him. I will abide by the decision of the party that it is exclusively zoned to North Central.
“Normally, zoning revolves around a person, you don’t zone in a vacuum. And they must have a reason why it was zoned. And in party congresses and conventions there is what is called a unity list. On the last day of the convention, when the leaders make up their mind, they’ll bring out one list.”
Meanwhile, no fewer than seven aspirants are now bidding for the chairmanship of the party. Six of the hopefuls are from the North Central zone. They are, Senator Mohammed Sani Musa, Malam Saliu Mustspha, Senator George Akume, Senator Tanko Al-Makura, Senator Abdullahi Adamu and Mohammed Saidu Etsu while the last aspirant, Alhaji Abdulaziz Abubakar Yari is from North West.