President Goodluck Jonathan
By Chuks Okocha in Abuja
Ahead of the January 8 meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees (BoT) members to elect chairman for the board, stakeholders and members are considering a consensus approach in selecting a chairman.
Some members of the Board are also insisting that President Goodluck Jonathan should not be seen to be apolitical in the emergence of the next chairman of the Board.
This is coming as the former chairman of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Chief Don Etiebet, has shown interest in becoming the chairman of the party’s BoT
Two members of the BoT that spoke to THISDAY over the weekend said that it would be a bad precedent to subject members of the BoT to an election, as this was capable of dividing the members of the board.
The member from the North-central geopolitical zone said, “Historically, when the former Vice-President, Alex Ekwueme, was elected the chairman of the board, to the era of Chief Anthony Anenih and even that of the former President Olusegun Obasanjo, there was no election. The normal procedure was selection of a chairman through consensus.
“Some of us think that it should not be changed now. For the continued peace and unity of the board and to allow the chairman to play the needed fatherly role, the best option is for the next chairman to be elected through consensus.
“By this, there would be no winner or loser,” the member said, explaining that the role of the president is to mount pressures on all the members that have indicated interest for a consensus chairman to emerge.
Still on this line of thinking, another member of the PDP BoT from the North-east told THISDAY that an election to determine the board’s chairman was not the best option, because of the role the chairman of the BoT is expected to play as the conscience and father of the party.
According to the member, “If there is election for the next chairman to emerge, then the unity of the Board is broken and it cannot play that role as the conscience and advisory role, when there is any crisis”
Accordingly, the member said, “It is on the basis of this that some of us are calling on President Jonathan to take sides. There is no way, it could be said that he is apolitical in this matter, after all, he took side in the emergence of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur as the national chairman of the party.
“He has to take sides, because it concerns him. But what some of us are advocating is that let there be sense of balancing and equity by ensuring that all organs of the party are reflected within all the geo-political zones.”
Meanwhile, the former national chairman of ANPP, Don Etiebet who decamped to the PDP after his tenure has indicated interest in succeeding Obasanjo, who resigned in April.
THISDAY gathered that Etiebet was among members of the BoT of the party that submitted an expression of interest form to become the chairman.
A source within PDP said, “Etiebet is seriously campaigning underground to become the next chairman. He submitted interest before the December 7 deadline.”
He is from the South-south state of Akwa Ibom and the governor of Akwa Ibom is said to be in support of his aspiration.
Others in the race to become the chairman of the BoT are Anenih (Edo), Chief Ken Nnamani (Enugu), Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu (Imo), Dr. Ahmadu Ali (Kogi) and Chief Harry Akande (Oyo), among others.