Six names are being considered as likely successor to Bamanga Tukur, who resigned on Thursday as Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chairman.
On the list are the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar(Gombe State); former Governor Adamu Muazu (Bauchi), a former member of the House of Representatives, Mohammed Wakil (Borno), former National Chairman of the Grassroots Democratic Movement(GDM) Gambo Lawan(Borno).
Others are former Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) President Ambassador Hassan Adamu from Adamawa State and former Minister of Commerce Ambassador Idris Waziri(Taraba).
Three groups, it was learnt, have emerged on the search for Tukur’s successor. They include the President’s Strategy Team (PST) being coordinated by Governor Henry Seriake Dickson; a group being led by the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan and the Board of Trustee (BoT) leaders/ PDP Governors Forum headed by Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio.
Sources say the groups have not been able to reach a consensus on the choice of national chairman, a decision which PDP’s National Executive Committee(NEC) has deferred till Monday.
It was learnt that the Dickson-led PST met yesterday for hours to consider which of the candidates will be most suited for the job.
The PST, it was gathered, has drawn up seven criteria, which are hinged on the prospective chairman’s ability to deliver the party’s ticket to President Jonathan.
Inside sources told our correspondent in Abuja that the criteria are being considered for the job include being a committed democrat and team player; rich experience in politics and party administration; ability to reconcile aggrieved members of the party.
Others include the readiness to reorder PDP for electoral victory in 2015 in at least 25 to 28 states; being a good listener who will have respect for all organs of the party and must be a political asset and not a liability to PDP.
One of the sources who spoke under anonymity said the search for a new chairman actually started on Wednesday morning when Tukur’s exit became inevitable.
“I can tell you that we have six candidates so far but the list is inexhaustible due to ongoing permutations. With Tukur in charge, the President’s strategists had taken the second term ticket of Jonathan for granted. But his exit has left this flank open and it has become important to be strategic before the new National Chairman is hijacked by vested interests.
“This is why Governor Seriake Dickson is leading the strategy team to ensure that all is tactically okay for the President. The team is very strong on Mohammed Wakil.
“ The First Lady and some National Executive Committee (NEC) members are, however, working on Idris Umar because he is less controversial out of the six.
“For instance, the choice of Muazu will upset Governor Isa Yuguda and some stakeholders in Bauchi. And there is no point creating crisis in any state again. There is still a cold war between Yuguda and Muazu.
“The strategists of the President are uncomfortable with Muazu, who is an in-law to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. It is like handing over the party to Atiku. They cannot take such a risk.
“As for Mohammed Wakil, apart from being a former member of the House of Representatives between 1999 and 2003, he has no solid political base because Borno belongs to the opposition. He has limited political clout to win mileage for PDP in 2015.
“The strategists believe that a PDP National Chairman must have a strong political base. Although Wakil is loved by Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State( a loyalist of the President), some PDP leaders said the choice of PDP National Chairman must not be personalised.