2015: Shettima, Sheriff play hide, seek over reconciliation
…To meet again next week in Abuja
It was gathered that the meeting called at the instance of the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in Lagos, to reconcile the duo at the weekend, ended in a deadlock.
But sources stated that another leg of the meeting has been slated for Abuja next week.
Indications that the rift has not ended emerged again on Sunday, when the governor allegedly shunned Sheriff in Maiduguri, when he visited the state.
It was gathered that neither the governor nor his deputy, was anywhere near the airport, to receive Sheriff as was the tradition in the past.
Sources close to the Lagos meeting revealed that Tinubu had to call Governor Kashim Shettima on Friday night, requesting to see him on Saturday morning in Lagos and the governor, promptly accepted to honour the invitation without knowing the purpose of the meeting.
Shettima, was said to have travelled with Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, Chief of Staff, Abubakar Kyari; Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Baba Kaka Garbai and the State Secretary of the defunct ANPP, Babakura Shettima. They were all said to have boarded a chartered flight sent to Maiduguri by Tinubu to convey them to Lagos.
Sources privy to the meeting stated: “On arrival in Lagos, Shettima got a hint that Sheriff was already in Lagos. This, immediately gave him a hint as to the reason for the invitation.
“Promptly, he sent Senator Ndume, Garbai and the former ANPP Secretary to meet Tinubu and appealed to him to shelve the meeting, so as to give the governor time to return to Maiduguri and consult with his supporters.
“But Tinubu insisted that the governor should meet with Sheriff because Sheriff had been in Lagos for four days in anticipation of the reconciliation meeting. Shettima’s representatives also told Tinubu that Sheriff was not sincere and only wants the reconciliation so he could penetrate the government and work against the governor ahead of the elections and beyond.
“But Tinubu pleaded that the governor could still meet him and that as a leader of the APC, it was binding on him (Tinubu) to organise such a meeting. Shettima and his delegation met with Sheriff and during the meeting, Sheriff complained about some close aides of the governor, which he was not comfortable with.
“And Shettima for the first time, opened up and told Sheriff the bitter truth about how Sheriff had been secretly undermining the Borno Government, how he has been trying to destabilise the state’s fragile peace by heating up the polity using his anointed governorship aspirant, Mohammed Imam and some other persons, to cause confusion in the state.
“The governor also told him of how he (Sheriff) has also been running him down at the APC national headquarters despite his (the governor’s) sincere loyalty to him as his godfather. Sheriff denied all the allegations levelled against him but Shettima and his team disbelieved his position and the governor was visibly angry so much that he excused himself and left the meeting.”
The second leg of the meeting is expected to hold in Abuja, next week.
When contacted, Shettima’s spokesman, Isa Gusau, confirmed that a meeting between the governor and his godfather has been scheduled to continue next week in Abuja, just as he confirmed that the Lagos meeting did not reach any conclusion.