Sunday, January 19, 2014

Tukur’s Successor: Jonathan under pressure to dump Patience’s candidate

AHEAD of tomorrow's National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, where a successor to the immediate past National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, will emerge, strong indications emerged, yesterday, that President Goodluck Jonathan was under pressure to dump the Minister of Transport, Idris Umar.
Sunday Vanguard gathered that following the plan by governors elected on the platform of the PDP to protest against the President if he succumbs to submitting Umar's name to the NEC as the new party leader, Jonathan has begun to beam his searchlight on Senator Abubakar Mahdi; a former Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Abba Aji; and former National Chairman, Grassroots Democratic Movement, GDM, Gambo Lawan, all from Borno State.
Before yesterday's pressure on the President, he was said to have favoured the Transport Minister for the position against the backdrop that he is an absolutely loyal personality and his name was coming from his wife, Patience.
A source told Sunday Vanguard that Governors Isa Yuguda of Bauchi and Ibrahim Dankwanbo of Gombe and acting governor of Taraba State, Umar Garba, all from the North-east to which the PDP national chairmanship is zoned, had settled for Mahdi as their candidate.
According to the source, the governors discussed the name, presented it to the PDP Governors Forum and subsequently to Jonathan.
A source said several blocs have also emerged to be part of the selection of Tukur's replacement, just as the Chairman, Board of Trustees, BoT, Chief Tony Anenih, was said to be rooting for Mahdi as a leader of his group, Peoples Democratic Movement, PDM, while the former federal commissioner and Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark, and his group were, reportedly, backing Aji for the position of the PDP National Chairman.
But when contacted yesterday by one of our correspondents on the matter and whether he was supporting Aji, Clark said he was not part of the process as he had chosen to be neutral.

Tukur Resigns: From left, former National Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur; President Goodluck Jonathan with Tukur's resignation letter and Vice President Namadi Sambo at 63rd National Executive Committee meeting of PDP held in Abuja, yesterday. Photo: Gbemiga Olamikan.
According to a source, the pendulum is shifting to Borno, a non-PDP state, to avoid having a party National Chairman from a state with a PDP governor to guard against what happened in Enugu State where Governor Sullivan Chime and former PDP National Chairman, Dr. Okwesilize Nwodo, engaged in a cat and mouse relationship throughout Nwodo's tenure, as well as the fight between Tukur and his governor, Murtala Nyako.
Aji is seen as a stabilising factor in the PDP, a good party man, but a source disclosed that issues that revolved round the alleged letter by the late President Umaru Yar'Adua to the National Assembly when he sought medical vacation, even as it caused disquiet then in Aso Rock, may work against him, just as the Presidency is of the view that having Lawan is like having former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori.
The position of the PDP National Chairman was, in 2012, zoned to North-east where Tukur, from Adamawa State, emerged from while the zone, as part of continuity, retains the position.
The underlining factor now is that the fight is between the PDP and non-PDP controlled states in North- east. The PDP states are Bauchi, Gombe and Taraba while Adamawa, Yobe and Borno are the non-PDP states.
Still as top contenders are the former Acting National Secretary, Dr. Musa Babayo, from Bauchi State, who was the choice of the zone in 2012 before politics played out and Tukur got it. Also from Bauchi is former Governor Adamu
Mauzu. Babayo and Muazu are said to be good party men, humble, loyal, and loved by the people.
The list of aspirants include Barrister Ibrahim Birma, Shettima Mustapha, Abba Gana, all from Borno State.
Speaking with Sunday Vanguard on the development, a member of the PDP BoT said, "We have discovered that the problem of PDP is orchestr

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