After series of horse trading and compromises, the Board of Trustees, BoT, of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Monday agreed to the extension of the tenure of chairman of the Party, Senator Ali Modu, by two years. He is to now quit office in 2018 to allow for the emergence of a chairman from the southern part of the country, while the north produces the party’s presidential candidate for 2019 election. On their part, the chairman of the party and its governors dropped the proposal to amend the party’s constitution at the forthcoming convention in Portharcourt, while also promising to revisit the conduct of state congresses that were contentious in some states.
The Board also confirmed the position of its chairman, Senator Jibril Wali, who had been in acting capacity, while also appointing Ambassador Ojo Maduekwe as secretary of the board. While Jibril was appointed unanimously, Ojo Maduekwe’s appointment followed the stepping down of his sole challenger, Senator Stella Omu. Addressing journalists after a marathon meeting of the board that lasted for more than six hours, the Secretary of the board, Ambassador Ojo Maduekwe, said the decisions arrived at the meeting were borne out of the over all interest of the unity of the party. According to him, the decisions arrived at by the Board were done after ‘intensive and heated arguments’ which he said had helped in moving the party “away from the brink.
He said “inspite of the well articulated reservations by some members of the board calling for postponement of the forthcoming convention in Portharcourt, we have decided to support the National Executive Committee of the party that the convention should hold.” He added that the Board arrived at the decisions based on consensus, since a divided BoT would portend a “divided conscience of the party”. It would be recalled that members of the BOT had been stridently opposed to the continuation of Senator Sheriff in office, while faulting the process of his emergence which they said did not agree with the principles of equity and justice that the party professed. Addressing the meeting earlier, the National Chairman, Ali Modu Sheriff, who spoke shortly before the party’s BOT went into a closed door meeting, said the proposed constitution amendment which he said he inherited from the former leadership of the party had been suspended while states and zones where the outcome of congresses had been controversial would be reviewed by the party.
The decisions by the national chairman of party were seen as a way of pacifying some members of the party who had mobilized against his leadership, leading to the setting up of a parallel leadership structure to take over from the chairman when his tenure expires on May 21, 2016. He said the party’s position that the presidency was zoned to the North remained unchanged and would be ratified at the party’s national convention in Port Harcourt later this month. Sheriff apologized to Professor Jerry Gana for some uncomplimentary remarks made against him by one of his aides, Inuwa Bwala, who threatened to drag Gana to EFCC for collecting loan in the name of PDP.
Earlier in his welcome address, the acting chairman of the Board of Trustees, Senator Jibril Wali, said there was the need for members of the party to bury the hatchet and act in the interest of the party. He commended the national chairman of the party for the moves he had so far made for the unity of the party and urged him to sustain the momentum. Some members of the board in attendance at the meeting include Ibrahim Mantu, Tom Ikimi, Adolphus Wabara, Chris Uba, Josephine Anenih, Ojo Maduekwe, Shettima Mustapha, Professor Tunde Adeniran, Esther Audu, Stella Omu, Ina Ciroma, Vincent Ogbulafor, Jerry Gana, Tanimu Turaki, Mike Oghiadome, Ahmadu Ali, Bode George, Dan Suleiman, Margret Icheen, among others