The saying that a raging inferno does not recognize the person that sparked it off in the first place rightly describes the present situation between the erstwhile governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and the dreaded militant group he allegedly founded and funded for many years, Boko Haram, a group that has been giving Nigerians sleepless nights in recent years and putting Nigeria in the world spotlight negatively.
His name has come up in the news at different times because of his involvement in the formation of this dreaded group, which has been terrorizing the country for some years now. Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, a senator who represented Borno Central between 1999 and 2003 and former governor of same Borno State between 2003 and 2011, whose arrest many people including members of Boko Haram have been clamouring for, seems to be waxing stronger even in the face of serious opposition.
Information reaching us is that the senator almost seems like being courted like a beautiful bride. The man, who was Borno governor for eight years and not a very successful one by most accounts is nonetheless an influential politician in the nation’s Northeast. He’s also relevant considering that he is the chairman of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), one of the merging parties. Recently, Sheriff attended a merger session of the APC in which he reportedly told excited members that: “I am for All Progressives Congress (APC).” This action and utterance shows that he has joined the APC.
Meanwhile, Sherriff’s integrity has been called into question several times. Recall that the senator who succeeded Sheriff at the senate has once accused his predecessor of aiding and abetting Boko Haram members. Senator Ahmed Zana, presently representing Borno Central once said a notorious Boko Haram member identified as Shuaibu Bama, was once arrested in one of the houses belonging to Sheriff, a claim Sheriff himself has not denied up till today.
It is also on record that former vice-president of Nigerian Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has once accused Sherriff and some other governors from the east of supplying weapons to dangerous militant groups. Atiku had allegedly said on a BBC Hausa Service interview then that he had personally called some governors, including former governor Sheriff, and cautioned them on the political repercussions of arming political thugs that have today metamorphosed into terrorist groups.
As a matter of fact, the stupendously rich and influential Sherrif is said to have gone into hiding now and nobody seems to know anything about his whereabouts. This is not unconnected with the fact that he has become the target of Boko Haram members! They have declared a total war on him. Part of his sin is that some of the members see him as a betrayer; someone who has been dealing with them for many years and who will still go to the public and deny them.
He’s also accused of romancing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government and giving out some high-profile information about their group to them. He was even accused of being instrumental to the killing of one of its leaders. One will not forget in a hurry how Boko Haram members, in a manner that can be likened to sending stern warning to Sherrif , murdered one of his political aides who was at that time touted to succeed him as the governor of the state.
For now, nobody seems to know the end of this raging war between Boko Haram and Sheriff because noo ne has heard from Sherrif.
Ali Modu Sheriff, born in Ngala town, Ngala Local Government of Borno State, was elected governor of Borno State in Nigeria in April 2003. He is presently the chairman of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). Ali Sheriff was the first governor in Borno State to win the governorship seat two consecutive times.