PDP Governors In U-Turn, Back Ex-Minister Wakil As Chair | Independent Newspapers Limited
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PDP Governors In U-Turn, Back Ex-Minister Wakil As Chair

Posted: Feb 7, 2016 at 12:52 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Power seems to be tilting in favour of former Minister of State for Power, Mohammed Wakil, to take over as the next chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

PDP governors and other influential stakeholders are said to be rooting for him over and above other aspirants for the position.

The choice of Wakil, who is from Borno State, is also said to have received the blessing of some members of the Board of Trustees of the party.

Notwithstanding, five other aspirants from the North-East have not given up on their ambition to lead the party.

They are the National Vice Chairman (North-East) of the party, Girigiri Lawal ; Second Republic Governor of the defunct Gongola State, Wilberforce Juta;  ex-Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Bala Mohammed ; Deputy National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Abdullahi Jalo and Ahmed Gulak, former Special Adviser on Political Matters to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.

The PDP governors, it was gathered, opted for Wakil on account of age, his cosmopolitan outlook and being receptive to advice.

It was also learnt that as a former Majority Leader of the House of

Representatives from 1999 -2003, Wakil may serve as a bridge builder between the party and its members in the Legislature.

A source familiar with the unfolding scenario said: “We have spent the last five days consulting across all the strata of the party.

“The PDP governors who led the search group, have met with other stakeholders and built a consensus on Wakil.

“Some members of the BOT and the National Working Committee (NWC) have also endorsed the choice of Wakil.

“The NWC and the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the PDP will meet during the week on the recommendation of Wakil and weigh options on others who have not given up.

“What we are trying to do is to avoid going into election in order not to cause fresh division in PDP. We cannot afford any move to divide us again.”

Another source said: “The governors and some stakeholders opted for Wakil because age is on his side. He is also well-respected by most leaders of this party. We need a bridge builder to reshape PDP.

“Wakil was born on 6 June 1965 in Damboa Local Government of Borno State and is a graduate of law faculty of the University of Maiduguri, Borno State.

“We also discovered that the North-East vital to PDP’s political calculations for 2019.”

Responding to a question, the source said: “The governors are skeptical about the choice of ex-Minister Bala Mohammed because he has a strong financial muscle and might be difficult to control.

“Some party leaders also cautioned the party not to pick Bala Mohammed because he just left a strategic office and the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari may join issues with him on the management of the Federal Capital Territory.

Those sympathetic to the ex-FCT Minister and four others are demanding for election of the candidate by the North-East Caucus.

They claimed that any imposition of a new chairman without the input of the North-East Caucus might not fly.

“These five aspirants have embarked on intense lobbying too. They have not given up at all. So, the next few days are left for horse-trading. In politics, a minute is important.

“Whatever the leaders of the party decide, we still have to make peace with Gulak who is in court.”

The PDP had last Tuesday slated a meeting of the North-East Caucus for Gombe to elect a new chairman but tension forced the party to shift the session.

Article 14.5 of the PDP Constitution says: “Where a vacancy occurs in any of the offices of the party, the Committee shall appoint a substitute from the zone where the officer originated pending the conduct of election to fill the vacancy.”