By Henry Umoru
ABUJA— AHEAD of the January 8, 2013 election where the new Chairman of Board of Trustees, BoT, of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, will emerge, former deputy national chairman of the Party, Alhaji Shauibu Oyedokun has joined the race.
Meanwhile, the BoT Secretary, Senator Walid Jubrin, yesterday, told Vanguard that the list of those who have purchased forms, completed and submitted to the Secretariat will be made public tomorrow, Tuesday, where he said the party would address a press conference to intimate the world on the journey so far.
Vanguard reliably gathered that Oyedokun who hails from Osun State hurriedly completed his nomination form, weekend, to beat the deadline and submitted to the BoT Secretary, Senator Walid Jubrin. Though it was rumoured that former Vice President Alex Ekwueme who was eighty years old last October has also showed interest for the position, Vanguard gathered, yesterday, that the elder statesman was not interested in the position.
The source said that being the founding Chairman of the PDP and the first BoT Chairman, it was time for Dr. Ekwueme to rest and play a fatherly role which he has been playing and not necessarily as Chairman of BoT. He added that though Ekwueme was experienced to be and would command respect from the Senate president, members of the National Assembly, governors, BoT members, but at the moment he is said to be old and weak.
A close associate of former governor of Old Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo, told Vanguard, yesterday, that his boss was not interested in the position and that he never picked form to contest for it. It was also gathered that Oyedokun’s ‘sin’ may be the fact that he is a friend of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and left with him for the Action Congress, AC, now Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN when the former Vice President left the PDP to pick the ticket for the Presidential election on the platform of AC, but Oyedokun hurriedly came back to the PDP.
As it is now, the strong contenders for the BoT chairmanship position are former Chairman of the board, Chief Tony Anenih from Edo State, South South, ex-Senate President, Ken Nnamani from Enugu, South East and the Publisher of Champion Newspapers, Chief Emmanuel Iwauanyanwu from Imo State, South East.
Though others like the former Chairman, Board of Trustees of the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, Chief Harry Akande; former National Chairman, PDP, Dr. Ahmadu Ali from Kogi state, North Central, but what may work against Ali is the fact that the present Secretary of the BoT, Senator Jubrin who replaced the then Secretary, Senator Abdullahi Adamu is from Nasarawa State, the same zone with Ahmadu Ali.
Nnamani is also a very contender from the South East, but the ghost of third term may reincarnate from the camp of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, even as Chief Anenih may have an upper hand in the race against the backdrop that he will be very much respected by party stakeholders, leaders, NWC members, governors among others from all the zones of the country and also for the fact that his friends, loyalists whom he must have assisted in the party, cut across the country.
If the PDP BoT goes ahead January 8, 2013 to conduct the election, it would be the first of its kind that a BoT Chairman will emerge through election as against the previous consensus method, just as it will be recalled that Dr. Ekwueme the first Chairman emerged through consensus, but was replaced by Chief Solomon Lar when he went to contest for the Presidential election.
Chief Lar was replaced through consensus when Chief Tony Anenih emerged, but Chief Olusegun Obasanjo came in not also through election.
It will be recalled that former president Olusegun Obasanjo resigned his position as BoT Chairman, April 3 this year.
The board of trustees of the party, according to the constitution comprises of men and women of integrity that have contributed critically to the party, and who act as the conscience of the party.