When I warned the Nigerian people about what the All Progressives Congress, APC, represented and that, if given power, they would be the most reactionary, repressive, vindictive, insensitive, vicious, thin-skinned, paranoid, divisive and, worse of all, incompetent government in the history of Nigeria no-one listened.
When I told the people that the leaders of the APC were not only unfit to hold power but that they were also Nigeria’s local equivalent to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood no-one listened.
When I warned the people that their initial plan was to field a Muslim/Muslim ticket for the 2015 presidential election (until public outrage killed the idea) no-one listened.
When I warned our people about the limitations of President Muhammadu Buhari and what he would do if trusted with power no-one listened.
When I warned the People’s Democratic Party leadership and particularly our PDP governors and Board of Trustee members about the dangers of making Ali Modu Sheriff National Chairman of our party they would not listen.
When I warned them to remove him immediately and not to let him stay as National Chairman for the three months that he asked for they would not listen.
When I told them that the government would NOT allow the National Convention of the party to hold on 17th August or indeed at any other time, no matter what, because Sheriff is working for them they would not listen.
Now I have been proved right and vindicated on all fronts. Let us consider what took place in Port Harcourt on the day of the convention. Armed with a questionable court ruling the Buhari administration set out to destabilise, destroy and silence the opposition. It was well planned, well-orchestrated and well-executed.
Governors were temporarily barred from moving around freely and were essentially put under house arrest. The convention venue was sealed off and delegates were prevented from entering the stadium by gun-wielding mobile policemen and soldiers. It was not only a show of shameful, naked brute force but it was also thoroughly evil.
Let me make a another prediction: this is just the beginning of their tyranny. It will get far worse. That is “mai chanji” for you!
The sooner the leaders of the PDP wake up, smell the coffee and appreciate the kind of monster they are dealing with and the sooner they elect and select leaders that are prepared to risk their lives and liberty to confront this government, the better.
If you want democracy and freedom you must be prepared to confront the dictator and fight for it. Where there is no justice, there can be no peace. Where there is no freedom, there can be no development. Where there is no equity, there can be no progress.
Our land has been turned into a barren and poverty-stricken shell of its former self by President Buhari’s administration.
They have stripped away the glory of our nation, ruined the economy, created ethnic, and religious divisions, impoverished the people, brought tears to the eyes of the downtrodden, dashed the hopes and dreams of the young, and destroyed the destiny of millions.
The only thing that is left for them to do is to crush the leading opposition party and to attempt to silence, humiliate, discredit, destroy, jail, and break every single opposition leader that remains vocal.
That is where Senator Ali Modu Sheriff comes in and that is why his disruptive role and questionable mission in the PDP is of so much interest and so useful to the government.
That Sheriff has turned into the proverbial stubborn bone that is stuck in the throat of the PDP is no longer news .
The role and noble efforts of the Senator Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee have been exemplary and commendable and, in my view, they have earned the support and affection of every loyal party leader and member.
I am not surprised by that because I happen to have known Senator Makarfi, Senator Ben Obi (the Secretary of the Committee) and Hon. Minister Dayo Adeyeye (the Publicity Secretary) for many years and I can attest to the fact that they are all profoundly good men who are very restrained in their manner and approach to complicated issues and who are not only experienced but also rational, reasonable, and balanced.
Yet, despite their efforts the question that still needs to be answered is how best to handle Ali Modu Sheriff.
Dr. Doyin Okupe, a man for whom I have the greatest respect and affection and one of the most formidable and credible leaders in our party, suggested on his Facebook wall that we should “negotiate” with Sheriff with a view to settling this issue.
He has also said that we should “not blame Buhari and the APC for our woes” but rather we should blame ourselves.
He may be right on the latter point but I beg to respectfully and humbly differ with him on the former. There can be no question of any further negotiation with Sheriff. My response to him, which was posted on his Facebook page and on twitter, reads as follows:
“My dearest brother, I beg to differ with you on your suggestion that we must negotiate with the former national chairman of our party, Ali Modu Sheriff. If you remember I warned the governors about Sheriff when they imposed him on us.
“The PDP Ministers Forum rejected him as did the PDP Board of Trustees did at the initial stage but the governors would not listen.
“Now, we have been vindicated because everything that we said would happen has come to pass.
“The imposition of Sheriff by the Governors Forum was the biggest mistake that we have made since President Goodluck Jonathan and the then leadership of our party conceded the election to Buhari without at least contesting the matter in court.
“Frankly, as I wrote at the time, I believe that Sheriff bewitched the governors that brought him to us and indeed those in our party that accepted him and agreed to work with him.
“Now, the power of the spell has worn off and their eyes have opened. Sadly, though, things will get worse because Sheriff is under orders: he is working a script and that script was crafted by those who commissioned him to divide, weaken and kill our party.
“When you open your doors to a snake what do you expect? I am not surprised by all that he is doing because he is acting true to type: he is a green snake who has dipped his fangs deeply into our flesh and whose poison is killing us slowly.
“The truth is that there can never be any compromise with Sheriff. You cannot compromise with the devil or a snake.
“You cannot wine and dine or attempt to cohabit with a creature that the great writer and teacher, Mr. David Icke, describes as a “shape-shifting sociopath and reptilian”.
“There can be no fellowship between light and darkness even in politics. You cannot negotiate with a narcissistic meglomaniac who wants your head to be cut off and served to him on a silver platter.
“Sheriff is working for Buhari to destroy the PDP and he has almost succeeded in his mission.
“The only solution to this intractable and difficult problem is for us to continue to fight him in the courts and elsewhere and, if push comes to shove, form another political party, get our members and supporters to join that party and leave the desperate old scavenger to feed on the carcass of the old PDP.
“Very few people will stay with him because, after some time, carcasses tend to stink and because he is the quintessential plague. After some time even his most diehard supporters will get sick of him, run away and abandon him.
“Permit me to conclude with the following counsel. We must never attempt to appease a bully and a tyrant: it encourages him in his tyranny and it gives him pleasure. To the bully, compromise is seen as nothing more than weakness.
“We must be prepared to stand up, stand firm and speak out against the evil that has gripped our land till the very end knowing that the Lord is with us and that He will never forsake us.
“If necessary, we must also be prepared to pay the price for doing so because the future of our nation and our children depends on it.
“We must not waiver. We must hold the line, firm in the knowledge that no matter how dark the night, joy comes in the morning. Fondest thoughts egbon. Shalom”.
Femi Fani-Kayode is a lawyer, a Nigerian politician, an evangelical christian, an essayist, a poet and he was the Special Assistant (Public Affairs) to President Olusegun Obasanjo from July 2003 until June 2006. He was the minister of culture and tourism of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from June 22nd to Nov 7th 2006 and as the minister of Aviation from Nov 7th 2006 to May 29th 2007. He tweets from @realFFK.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.