… They are on their own– NWC
From Taiwo Amodu, Abuja
Internal crisis rocking the People Democratic Party (PDP)O continued yesterday when the national leadership failed to agree on a replacement for its erstwhile national chairman, Adamu Mu’azu who resigned last May.
Two statutory organs of the party reportedly disagreed on the choice of former two-term governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as the new national chairman.
Nomination of former chairman of the Board of Trustees of the defunct All Nigerian Peoples Party, (ANPP) by PDP national caucus was rejected by the Board of Trustees (BOT).
Sheriff recently defected to the PDP from the All Progressives Congress (APC). Daily Sun investigation indicated that a meeting of the BoT was deadlocked as majority of the members expressed concern over Sheriff’s choice whom they noted, would compound the party’s image problem.
Some members contended that Sheriff has been severally linked with the deadly Boko Haram sect, an allegation he has consistently denied.
It was gathered that Sheriff was picked by the national caucus of the party after rigorous meetings between Monday night and Tuesday afternoon. He defeated his closest rivals for the office, Senator Gingiri Lawal, national vice chairman for North-east zone and Ambassador Wilberforce Juta who had earlier been nominated by the Adamawa State chapter of the party.
Daily Sun also learnt that other contenders who lost out were former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT), Alhaji Abba Gana, (Borno State) and Senator Seidu Kumo from Gombe State. Others were Alhaji Mohammed Garba from Bauchi State and former minister of State for Power, Hon. Mohammed Wakil.
A party source privy to the meeting of the national caucus told Daily Sun that Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose lobbied his colleagues in the PDP Governors’ Forum in favour of Sheriff.
The source further revealed that all the aspirants were subjected to oral interviews.
“ At the end of the oral interviews, nominations were reduced to two: Juta and Sheriff.
“ Juta lost out on religious ground, as the national caucus wanted for religious balancing. The deputy national chairman, Uche Secondus and National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo are Christians.” Juta is a Christian from Adamawa.
Ahead of the BoT meeting, National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Olisa Metuh told newsmen that the national caucus unanimously adopted the former Borno governor and further claimed that their choice enjoyed the support of the BoT.
But, indications later in the evening and at night showed that the nomination met a brickwall. This scenario emerged two hours into the meeting of the BoT when some members stormed out of the meeting, leading to a deadlock.
In defiance of the stance of the BoT, PDP National Executive Committee later met and endorsed Senator Sheriff.
He surfaced at about 8.45 pm and took the oath of office and allegiance as new chairman of the party in the presence of NEC members.
Reacting to the rejection of Sheriff, by majority of BoT members, Metuh said the position of NEC was in the best interest of the ertswhile ruling party as he declared that members of BoT were not bigger than the party.
“Those aggrieved said they were not properly briefed, but there would be consensus at the end of the day. All the different organs of the party were involved. You can’t talk about walkout in a meeting that has the likes of Senator Ahmadu Ali and Professor Jerry Gana in attendance.
“Nobody is bigger than the party. Nobody can walk out on the party; it is improper for anybody to walk out on the leaders of the party.”
The new chairman, in his inaugural remarks, promised to rebuild the party ahead of 2019 while assuring the party faithful of an inclusive administration.
“The task is a very challenging one; to rebuild this party and carry everybody along towards 2019.
“I want to assure everybody that the choice you made today, nobody will regret it.
“ PDP is a party that is structured and well-organised. All we need is to build this party and pilot it to success.
Nobody will be alienated in the business of running this party. We shall all build it to victory,” Sheriff assured the gathering made up of the party’s PDP NEC.