27 January 2013

Nigeria: Ex-Governors May Lose Seats On PDP BOT

Former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors, who are, at present, members of the Board of Trustees (BoT) risk losing their seats in the ongoing membership sanitization exercise being embarked upon ahead of the election of the board's Chairman, expectedly in February.

A former Minister of Information, Professor Jerry Gana, is head of the sanitization committee, with a former National Secretary of the party, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, as another strong member.

As the committee is expected to submit its report in the next few days, there are fears that elements currently on the board, who are not in the good books of President Goodluck Jonathan, may not return. Those who may be affected are ex-governors who are on the board because they represent their geopolitical zones.

At the last meeting, some of the ex-governors that attended included embattled Senator Danjuma Goje, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, Senator Andy Uba, and Chief Olagunsoye Oyinlola. Other former governors who regularly attended the BoT are a former governor of the old Kaduna State, Alhaji Isa Kaita, Chief Jim Nwobodo of the old Anambra State, Chief Victor Attah of Akwa Ibom State, and Alhaji Abdulkadir Kure of Niger State. Under the PDP's constitution, ex-governors, unlike ex-presidents and their deputies, are not statutory members of the BoT.

There are indications that some of these ex-governors may not return to the board unless President Goodluck Jonathan so wishes. The constitution gives the following as those who could be members of the board. In Section 12.76(1) with the sub-heading Composition of the Board of Trustees, the constitution says,

" There shall be a Board of Trustees of the party which shall consist of:(a) all past and serving Presidents and Vice Presidents of the FederalRepublic of Nigeria, who held or hold the respective posts asmembers of the party and who are still members of the party;

(b) Past and serving National Chairmen, Deputy National Chairmenand National Secretaries of the Party, who are still members of the party;

(c) All past and serving Presidents of the Senate and Speakers of the House of Representatives who are still members of the party;

(d) All founding fathers and founding mothers of the party.

(e) Two women selected from each of the six geo-political zones;

(f) Three members at least one of whom shall be a woman from each of the six geo-political zones;

(g) Person(s) not exceeding six, who have contributed immensely to the growth of the party and found suitable by the Board;

(h) Membership of the Board of Trustees shall reflect the Federal Character of Nigeria."

From the foregoing, apart from those specifically mentioned on Subsections (a), (b), and (c), the other nominees can only make it to the BoT at the pleasure of the President, and, of course, the National Chairman.

At the last meeting of the BoT, where a chairman was to have been elected from between Senator Ahmadu Ali, a former PDP Chairman, and Chief Tony Anenih, a former BoT Chairman, the exercise could not be carried out because of some intrigues. It is feared that the election of the BoT Chairman is seen as a factor in the power struggle in the PDP.

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