Party chiefs battle for BoT chairman
The bitter rivalry among influential forces within the party is likely to go on – no thanks to the quiet campaigns for 2015.
The party has split into three camps — the Presidency-Anenih group, pro-ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo caucus and the reformists(ex-Military President Ibrahim Babangida and ex-Vice-President Atiku Abubakar), who are insisting on due process and transparency.
The Presidency is believed to be pushing for a former Chairman of the BoT, Chief Tony Anenih.
About 20 leaders of the party have obtained forms to occupy the seat, which was vacated last June by Obasanjo.
Some of the aspirants are: Anenih; former National Chairman of the PDP Senator Ahmadu Ali and Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo; a former Deputy National Chairman, Chief Shuaib Oyedokun; ex-Senate President Ken Nnamani; and Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu.
There are also a former National Chairman of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Chief Don Etiebet, who is a returnee to the party; a former Chairman of the BoT of the ANPP, Chief Harry Akande and 12 others.
Others who did not apply but are being recommended for the post are ex-Vice-President Alex Ekwueme and a former acting National Chairman Alhaji Kawu Baraje.
Although horse-trading was ongoing last night, none of the candidates has agreed to step down.
A source in the BoT said: “The situation is still dicey because none of the candidates is willing to step down. The horse-trading is getting keener and challenging.
“All the affected zones (Northcentral, Southsouth, Southeast, Southwest) are insisting on their right to occupy the seat.
Responding to a question, the source added: “So far, the party has split into three. We have the Presidency-Anenih group, pro-ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo caucus, and the reformists (ex-Military President Ibrahim Babangida and ex-Vice-President Atiku Abubakar), who are insisting on due process and transparency.
“But leaders are trying to be careful in managing the situation to avoid any crisis within the main advisory organ of the party.
“What is fueling the tension is the 2015 campaign being read into the choice of a new chairman and secretary for the BoT.”
The Nation learnt that the situation has degenerated with some BoT members opposing the conduct of the election because the tenure of the organ expired in July, last year.
All the BoT members came on board in 2007, shortly after the election of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua.
The members are citing Article 12.77(A) of the party’s constitution to demand the shift of the poll.
The article says: “Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 12.81 of this constitution, all members of the BoT specified in paragraphs (e)-(g) of Article 12.76(1) shall serve a single term of five years.”
The pro-postponement group is calling for an interim chairman, who will lead the organ till March when a new BoT will be constituted.
A source said: “Those in favour of postponement are saying that the Southwest should act as interim chairman till March when the tenure of the current Secretary of BoT, Sen. Walid Jibrin, will expire.
“If that works out, a former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Shuaibu Oyedokun, might serve as the acting chairman of the BoT.”
But most members of the BoT were still locked in lobbying ahead of the agenda, which slated election of new chairman for today.
It was gathered that the presidency is pushing for Anenih’s candidacy because of the 2015 presidential poll.
The popular thinking in the Presidency is that only Anenih as the BoT chairman can strategise for Jonathan to get the party’s ticket.
A source said: “The President’s strategists favour Anenih because most of the political godfathers in PDP, like former President Olusegun Obasanjo, ex-Military Head of State, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, and ex-Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, are believed not to be for Jonathan.
“These point men are of the opinion that only a political tactician like Anenih could assist Jonathan with a counter-plot to secure a second term ticket. The Presidency is already buying into this idea.
“The idea behind Anenih’s choice is not to leave Jonathan bare – politically.”
But Anenih may face a big hurdle because the PDP Constitution does not allow a second term for a BoT chairman.
A member of the National Executive Committee of the party said by virtue of Article 12.77 (c) of the PDP, Anenih cannot return to office as the BoT chairman.
The article reads: “The Board of Trustees shall ensure that the Chairman and Secretary of the BoT shall subject to Article 12.81 of this constitution serve a single term of five years.
He said: “If Anenih is made the chairman of the BoT, it would amount to a violation of the PDP constitution. We do not know the justification behind the Presidency’s push for Anenih.
“Some people are arguing that Anenih was humiliated out of office in 2007 by ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo. But the real issue is that whether Anenih spent a day in office as BoT chairman, he cannot come back to lead the organ.”