20 January 2014

Nigeria: New PDP Chairman Emerges Today

A new national chairman of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) is to be named today, following late-night discussions between President Goodluck Jonathan and the party's governors yesterday.

The new chairman will succeed Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, who resigned last week in the wake of a long-drawn dispute with key party stakeholders.

Last night's meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja was convened to harmonise positions ahead of today's national executive committee meeting of the party, which is scheduled to approve the selection of a new chairman.

Media reports at the weekend said the governors were not comfortable with the candidate preferred by the President, hence last night's meeting was called to resolve the differences.

The chairmanship position has been zoned to the Northeast, and among the leading contenders are former House of Representatives leader Mohammed Wakil, Transport Minister Abdullahi Idris Umar, former Defence Minister Shettima Mustapha, former Agriculture Minister Adamu Maina Waziri, Alhaji Gambo Lawan, Senator Mohammed Abba Aji, former FCT Minister Ibrahim Bunu, former Bauchi Governor Ahmadu Mu'azu and former PDP acting national secretary Musa Babayo.

Whoever was selected at the meeting last night would be presented to the party's NEC for endorsement by consensus today.

Governors at the meeting were Martins Elechi (Ebonyi), Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta), Gabriel Suswam (Benue), Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Idris Wada (Kogi), Muktar Yero (Kaduna), Ibrahim Shema (Katsina), Jonah Jang (Plateau), Saidu Dakingari (Kebbi), Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa), Liyel Imoke (Cross River), Sullivan Chime (Enugu), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe), Taraba Acting Governor Garba Umar and Adamawa Deputy Governor Bala Nigilari. Also in attendance were Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo, PDP Deputy National Chairman Uche Secondus and Secretary to the Government of the Federation Senator Anyim Pius Anyim.

Journalists were asked to leave the vicinity of the venue of the meeting, which security officers said was not meant for coverage.

The meeting was still going on by 11.05pm when this report was filed.

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