Former governor of Borno State, Senator Ali-Modu Sheriff (SAS), formally announced his withdrawal from the national chairmanship race, citing obedience to the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling party to zone the ticket to the North Central geo-political zone as reasons.
At a press conference in Abuja, yesterday, he said he will, however, renew his interest should the leadership of the ruling party change the decision on zoning and announce the extension in the sale of the nomination forms.
“I am sure most of you are following the trends of activities of our party within the last 10 days or so. The party has taken decision 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.
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“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.
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“And the president has taken a position. I have 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 a 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 Board of Trustees of this party. What it means is that every decision the party takes in all the time I have been neither chairman of the party chairman, the Board of Trustees, I know the procedure and the process.
“I don’t want to draw battlelines. I respect the president and 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 they are obliged to allow everybody to pick a form. 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.”