L-R: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur; President Goodluck Jonathan; and Vice-President Namadi Sambo, at the party's Board of Trustees (BoT) meeting at the Presidential Villa,
Chuks Okocha and Muhammad Bello
For the second time in one month, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday failed to reach a consensus on who should chair its Board of Trustees (BoT).
Efforts to elect a new BoT chairman to succeed former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who resigned his position last April, ended in a stalemate following the refusal of the board’s secretary, Senator Walid Jibrin, to step down.
Jibrin’s decision to tenaciously hold on to his post effectively closed the door against the emergence of the party’s former National Chairman, Dr. Ahmadu Ali, who seemed to have the endorsement of some influential party members to clinch the post.
However, the board, after a three-hour meeting at the State House, Abuja, ratified Jibrin’s election, just as it scheduled a meeting to restructure the board in the next three weeks.
Senate President David Mark called for the ratification of Jibrin’s election in order to truncate Ali’s aspiration to become the chairman of the BoT.
The move was strategic, because if Ali had been elected chairman of the board, he would have become the leader of the North-central zone instead of Mark.
With the board’s ratification of Jibrin’s election for a five-year tenure, Ali has been tactically edged out of the race.
All attempts by Ali to upstage the secretary were truncated by other BoT members who insisted that the principle of the federal character must be upheld.
Ali is from Kogi State, while the secretary is from Nasarawa State, all in the North-central zone.
THISDAY learnt that Ali made spirited efforts yesterday through text messages to persuade the other aspirants to step down for him so he could emerge as the consensus candidate for the post.
One of the texts read: “Good morning. As Africa’s largest political party, (the) BoT chairman should be a man with known passion for total nationalism, a strategist whose legacies transcend mere politics, a craftsman, a committed Nigerian whose services for a long time have been genuinely consistent in line with the desires of our national aspiration. Ahmadu Ali is tested through the crucibles of our nation - Goddy Emeka Ejiofor.”
The restructuring of the 97-member board would be based on the list exclusively published by THISDAY Tuesday.
The board set up a committee headed by former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, to streamline the list of BoT members. The committee is expected to submit its report by the end of the month.
THISDAY gathered that the party would use the opportunity to weed out non-conformist members on the board.
However, Obasanjo was conspicuously absent yesterday as the party tried to find his replacement. No reason was given for his absence.
It was learnt that before the meeting began, the race for the BoT chairman had been narrowed down to 12 aspirants, as eight who had previously shown interest in the position, were dropped for not belonging to the elite conclave.
With the disqualification of eight of the aspirants, the party would now pick Obasanjo’s successor from the 12 contestants that include Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Senator Ken Nnamani, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo and Ali.
Others left in the race are Chief Tony Anenih, Chief Emmanuel Iwuayanwu, Chief Don Etiebet, Senator Bode Olayinka, Chief Yekeen Adeojo, Senator Onyeabor Obi, Chief Harry Akande and Chief Shuaibu Oyedokun.
Yesterday’s meeting of the PDP BoT kicked off at about 8.25 pm with the arrival of President Goodluck Jonathan along with Vice-President Namadi Sambo, Mark, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, the National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, and the Chief of Staff to the president, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe.
Mrs. Josephine Anenih, Katsina State Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Shema, Ambassador Hassan Adamu and PDP National Secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, told State House correspondents before the meeting started that the expectations of the party’s BoT members were to select a chairman that would carry all members of the party along and assist in repositioning the party.