The factional National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, on Tuesday, declared that he would not take sides in any conflict over the choice of candidate by the Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC), in any state of the federation, including Ondo State where governorship election is holding on November 26.
This was contained in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja, on Tuesday,by Mallam Inuwa Bwala, the Special Adviser, Media, to Senator Sheriff.
According to Sheriff, “This is against widespread speculations linking him with controversies surrounding the emergence of Eyitayo Jegede and Jimoh Ibrahim as candidates of the PDP for the Ondo elections, to the effect that he has been arms twisting the electoral body.”
“Sheriff wishes to state that, as a law abiding leader, he is bound by whoever INEC publishes as both candidates in contention are respectable members of the PDP, and he will treat their issues based on merits and in accordance with the law”, the statement stated.
He dismisses insinuations that he was behind several petitions against the INEC, stressing that he “has done his duty by submitting a name to INEC, and expects that the commission will act in accordance with its own mandate.”
According to the statement, “Sheriff is not unmindful of events leading to the emergence of the two candidates, but wishes to assure Nigerians that steps are being taken to resolve all such issues, even beyond what INEC may do, to avoid past experiences occasioned by internal bickering in the PDP.
“The national chairman wishes to assure the people of Ondo State that party leaders have been working to ensure the PDP wins in the forthcoming elections, immaterial of who flies its flag.
“He is not aware of any alleged move to blackmail INEC as he has high regards for the commission, even as he charges INEC to ensure that the PDP is not shortchanged in any future election, but should allow the people’s votes to count.
“Ali Modu Sheriff did not author nor did he authorise any petition to be written on his behalf, as is being mischievously alleged in some sections of the media and wishes to state that people should stop using his name to settle scores.”