Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur
• S/East caucus throws weight behind Iwuanyanwu
Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The battle line seems to have been drawn between the former Senate President Ken Nnamani and the former Minister of Works, Chief Anthony Anenih, as the two frontline contenders slug it out for the post of chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees (BoT).
The election is scheduled to hold on Friday at 9 pm at the banquet hall of the presidential villa, Abuja.
Although three other contenders – former National Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Ahmadu Ali; former Chairman of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) BoT, Chief Harry Akande; and Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu – have also thrown their hats into the ring for the post, THISDAY gathered that aides of President Goodluck Jonathan and Chief Bode George have stepped up efforts to rally support for Anenih.
Anenih was previously the chairman of the PDP BoT but was ousted in 2007 by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
According to a source who spoke to THISDAY, “Chief Anenih as chairman of the BoT will be an added advantage to the second term presidential ambition of President Jonathan.
“We see the person of Anenih as a necessary check to the former president (Obasanjo) and some of those seen as anti-Jonathan elements in the party.
“It is expected that all pro-Jonathan members of the Board of Trustees will support the candidacy of Anenih as the next chairman and we are working seriously along that line.”
But a founding member of the BoT told THISDAY that Anenih’s candidacy is a hard sell.
“The first tenure of Anenih as the BoT chairman was tumultuous and full of controversial decisions which did not go down well with members of the then board. He is the wrong person to aspire to become the next chairman,” the source said.
He disclosed that some senior members of the board from the North were favourably disposed towards the South-east producing the next chairman of the board.
He said: “The president is from the South-south zone, the vice-president is from the North-west, the national chairman is from the North-east, while the national secretary is from the South-west.
“Meanwhile, the South-east is left out at the highest echelon, so it is the belief of some BoT members that the zone should be given the chance to produce the next chairman of the BoT.”
He reminded THISDAY that the South-east currently holds the office of the deputy senate president and deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, which he maintained are not de facto heads of the institutions.
On Obasanjo’s position on who should succeed him, the former BoT member said: “He will certainly prefer anyone but Anenih as BoT chairman,” adding that it was for this reason the former president was in the South-east last weekend.
In the event a South-east candidate does not get the post, Obasanjo’s Plan B, it was gathered, is for Ali to emerge as the next chairman.
Also, THISDAY gathered that members of the board from the North have shown a preference for Nnamani on the grounds that he will bring credibility to the board and party, especially due to the growing negative perception of the PDP.
But Nnamani will have a strong challenger from his zone in the person of Iwuanyanwu who has the backing of the South-east PDP caucus.
The South-east caucus was said to have shifted its support from Nnamani to Iwuanyanwu, because the former senate president is considered anti-Jonathan.