From Chuks Okocha in Abuja
Former chairman, Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party, ex-President Oluse-gun Obasanjo, is likely to have an uphill task in determining who succeeds him.
THISDAY learnt Saturday that his push for a former national chairman of the party, Dr. Ahmadu Ali, as his successor, is being resisted by governors from the north-central zone where his candidate hails from.
Although the party has not officially zoned the post to any of the geopolitical regions in the country, the five governors of the PDP in the north-central zone are moving against the possible emergence of Ali as the BoT chairman by insisting that the board secretary, Senator Walid Jibrin’s tenure be consolidated. Ali is from Kogi State while Jibrin is from Nasarawa State.
Besides the duo, others being mentioned for the post include Obasanjo’s predecessor, Chief Tony Anenih and former senate president, Ken Nnamani.
According to sources, should Ali scale through as the BoT chairman, Jibrin would come under pressure to resign, as there is no way both the secretary and chairman of the board can come from the same zone.
But it was gathered that the five governors of Kogi, Kwara, Plateau, Benue and Niger States have mapped out a plan to ensure that the office of the BoT secretary currently held by Jibrin is consolidated with the aim of defeating Ali’s candidacy.
The five PDP governors from the zone have written a letter to the PDP national chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, affirming the election of Jibrin for a period of five years.
THISDAY encountered the BoT secretary at the Wadata Plaza office of the PDP, when he came to submit the letter to Tukur.
“The PDP governors from north-central have written a letter to consolidate my office for the next five years. I was elected last year through a consensus and by their letter, I am going to serve my full tenure of office as stipulated in the party constitution,” he said.
With this development, Anenih and Nnamani are being tipped as possible successor to Obasanjo who resigned his position before the expiration of his tenure.
The source said Obasanjo is against Nnamani succeeding him as the next BoT chairman, although he has given no reason.
However, Obasanjo’s opposition against Nna-mani may be connected with the role the former senate president played in stopping the former president’s alleged bid to for a third term in office.
As things stand, the only person that could stop Obasanjo from achieving his ambition of enthroning Ali is President Goodluck Jonathan.
A party source said that the former president’s preference for Ali is part of the game plan to put structures in place for Jonathan should he decide to contest again in 2015.
According to the source, “Ahmadu Ali is amenable to Jonathan in 2015,” stating that there is fear that Nnamani may be more difficult to manipulate as the chairman of the BoT.
“If truly President Jonathan is interested in a second term, then, Ahmadu Ali is sure to become the next chairman of the PDP BoT. But if he is not, then, the south-east may be in contention to get it.
“Both Ali and Nnamani have been tested and we know what each of one of them could do on the job,” the source said.
It was also learnt that the south-east is not relenting in its quest to produce the next chairman of the party’s BoT as stakeholders from the zone have sent emissaries to the president, urging him to support the zone.
They said it would amount to marginalisation of the zone by PDP, if the south-east were to be denied the BoT chairmanship.
The zone said it remains the most marginalised in the PDP, despite its support for the party in the last general elections.
A new twist in the race has also surfaced as a former All Nigeria Peoples Party BoT chairman, Chief Harry Akande, from Oyo State, who recently returned to the PDP has signified interest in succeeding Obasanjo.
He is arguing that since the former governor of Nasarawa State, Alhaji Abdullahi Adamu, who is now a senator has resigned and was replaced by Jibrin from the same zone, it is expedient that the next chairman of the BoT should emerge from the south-west where Obasanjo hails from.
According to Akande, “I am therefore offering myself as a candidate for the office of the PDP BoT to replace Chief Obasanjo as the next chairman. As things are at the moment, Oyo State has no member on the BoT. The last BoT member from Oyo State was Chief Ishola Kolapo and he is dead.”