By EMMANUEL AZIKEN, Political Editor
LAGOS— Immediate past governor of Bauchi State, Alhaji Adamu Mu‘azu, has become the latest candidate to formally enter the contest for the national chairmanship of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Mu‘azu’s entry is coming against the background of increasing lobby by some of the major candidates for the support of northern governors and traditional rulers.
While many of the prominent candidates have been lobbying the PDP governors, Niger State Governor, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, also Chairman of Northern Governors’ Forum is said to have received the highest amount of attention by the candidates perhaps on account of his chairmanship of the forum.
The office of national chairman has been zoned by the party to the Northeast geopolitical zone.
The new national chairman is expected to be chosen at the party’s national convention slated for February 25, 2012.
Confirming his entry into the race, yesterday, Muazu counted the advantages he could bring into the party to include age, experience and his acceptability among the country’s religious and ethnic divides.
“I have been consulting and I am confirming now that I am in the race,” the erstwhile governor said, weekend, in response to a text message enquiry.
“My advantages and what I bring into this contest include my political experience and my capacity to act as a bridge-builder across ethnic and religious groups,” Mu`azu added over the telephone.
Beyond the factors he listed there were also claims in political quarters that Muazu who governed Bauchi State between 1999 and 2007 could draw sympathy from his former colleagues in the contest.
Until now that support had reportedly been shifting towards Waziri who according to sources is being backed by his home Governor, Danbaba Suntai and allegedly by the Adamawa State Governor, Murtala Nyako.
Mu‘azu’s entry into the race is coming against the background of the intensive lobby by the major candidates for the support of the northern Governors who are expected to be a major influence on the delegates at the convention.
Sources in some of the northern states disclosed that a number of the candidates have been seriously visiting the Governors for their support for the ranking party position.
The Governors who have in the past been decisive factors in the election of PDP national chairmen are expected to play the same role this time using their influence on their state delegates at the forthcoming convention.