The last week’s resignation of Adamu Mu’azu as the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has thrown open the contest for the party’s topmost position.
Already, stakeholders are considering the outgoing Minister of State for Power, Mohammed Wakil; outgoing Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed; former Special Adviser on Politics to the President, Ahmed Gulak; and former National Administrative Secretary of PDP, Habu Fari, as top contenders for the plum PDP job.
The new national chairman is expected to come from the North-east as the office is zoned to the geo-political area.
This came to light as fresh facts emerged on how President Goodluck Jonathan got the Chairman, Board of Trustees of PDP, Chief Tony Anenih, to step down from the office, in spite of the willingness he had earlier shown to do so.
Wakil who is from Borno State, according to sources, tops the list of the possible replacement for Mu’azu and his consideration for the office of the PDP chairman, New Mail gathered, is due to his experience on party administration.
Wakil was the leader of the House of Representatives from 1999 to 2003 and later vice national chairman of PDP in the North-east zone.
Before the choice of Mu’azu as national chairman in 2014, he lost out in what could be considered as ‘injury time.’
He also served variously as committee chairman and secretary in most of the committees set up for one reason or the other for party’s sundry issues.
Members of the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) are said to be favourably disposed to have him as the national chairman of PDP till the next national convention of the party in March 2016.
He stands close to pick the ticket because the Yobe / Borno axis is yet to assume national importance in holding of the NWC offices.
The outgoing Minister of FCT, Bala Mohammed, is another strong contender because he is from Bauchi, the same state with Mu’azu, while Fari, the former National Administrative Secretary of PDP, from Taraba State, is also under consideration.
A former minister of state for Transport in the Second Republic, he is seen as the father of PDP in Taraba, having served briefly as Chief of Staff to the former national chairman of PDP, Bamanga Tukur.
Sources also said that Gulak, the former political adviser to President Jonathan, is among those being mentioned as possible replacement for Mu’azu, if Adamawa state is to be given consideration. This is because Tukur, who had occupied the office from 2012 to early 2014, hails from Adamawa State.
However, following the defeat of President Jonathan in the March 28 presidential election, Anenih was said to have voluntarily proposed to Jonathan that he would step down for him (Jonathan) to assume the position in order for him to have a platform on which he would be relevant within the party after leaving office on May 29.
A few party leaders were said to be privy to the proposal, which Anenih has already confirmed in his May 20, 2015 letter to Jonathan in which he formalised his decision to step down.
Jonathan had reportedly rejected the proposal then on the grounds that he would need enough time to rest, having been in government at the state and federal levels since 1999, but that decision did not go down well with the First Lady, Patience Jonathan.
There were feelers, however, that following intense pressure from some quarters within the party on Jonathan to assume the position, he caved in, but could not go back to Anenih to tell him that he was now interested in assuming the position.
The president was said to have quietly entered into a deal with some members of NWC to put pressure on Mu’azu to resign, in order to also pave the way for the resignation of Anenih as the BoT chairman because of his (president’s) renewed interest in the position.
It was learnt that the plan was that as soon as Mu’azu resigned, the NWC should send a delegation to meet with Anenih to convey President Jonathan’s request to him that he should resign as BoT chairman.
Anenih, who was said to have been pissed off by the manner Jonathan went about his renewed interest, did not waste time in sending a one-page letter to the President, recalling his conversation with him (Jonathan) on the issue so as to show how he had voluntarily proposed to hand over to him (president).
Apparently explaining that he had already, even without prompting from any quarters, expressed his readiness to step down for the president, Anenih had, in the letter, formally announced his decision to resign from the office of BoT chairman.