The PDP’s BoT election which will hold tonight at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, is expected to be a stormy session, as President Jonathan and Chief Obasanjo are expected to engage in a political duel to install a candidate to administer one of the sensitive organs of the party.
Former President Obasanjo had resigned his appointment as the BoT chairman, thus creating the vacuum that party leaders are expected to fill tonight. Whoever emerges, according to the party constitution, will serve a single term of five years.
Main contenders for the office are former national chairman of the party, Dr Ahmadu Ali; former Works Minister, Chief Tony Anenih; former Senate President, Dr. Ken Nnamani and Chairman, Champion Newspapers, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu. Findings revealed that the Anenih’s candidature enjoys the support of President Jonathan and his foot soldiers had been impressing it on members of the BoT to support the former minister.
Anenih’s supporters flaunt his experience as former Chairman of the board and his ability to galvanise support for party position at critical moments. But party chieftains and members of the board from the North are opposed to Anenih.
They frowned at an arrangement in the party which could throw up a stalwart from the South-South as the BoT chairman, against the backdrop of the body language of President Jonathan to contest the 2015 election. “It is the apprehension over 2015 that has made those who know what (Mr. Fix It as Anenih is called) can swing that has informed their vow that it could be anybody, but not Anenih.
A source revealed that it was not clear, if Chief Obasanjo has shifted his support for Dr Ali. “His proposal that the National Secretary of the board, Senator Walid Jubril should step down for Dr Ali, since both are from the North-Central would be resisted.
"Such a pleasant man who had been doing the job since Obasanjo left the office, would not be traded off like that", a source further submitted. “It is, however, not clear, if the former president would abandon Dr. Ali, for the candidature of Chief Iwuanyanwu, as it is being speculated. Recall that Anenih served as BoT chairman from 2003 to 2007 after Dr. Alex Ekwueme’s five years’ tenure as pioneer boss of the board.
Ekwueme, a former vice president in the Second Republic, and the founding protem National Chairman of the party, served as the BoT boss between 1998 and 2003. However, Anenih was displaced by Obasanjo in 2007 in what was akin to a palace coup, barely a month after the end of his second term as president.
During his days as BoT boss, Anenih is known to have wielded great-influence in the affairs of the party especially in prosecuting its electoral wars nation-wide. On his part, Ali, a former minister of education, was national chairman of the party during the twilight of Obasanjo’s second term. Incidentally, he was the party boss at the same time Anenih was the BoT boss.
A key ally of the ex-president Obasanjo dating back to his regime as military Head of State in the ‘70s, it is doubtful whether if the PDP former national chairman still enjoys the former leader’s confidence.
According to the party’s constitution, about 120 members are qualified to vote for the BoT chairman. They include former presidents, vice presidents, former speakers, House of Representatives, ex-Senate presidents, former national chairmen and secretaries as well as serving ones.