The crisis in Nigeria’s major opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, deepened Wednesday as the Board of Trustees, BoT, held its meeting, thereby defying the decision of the National Working Committee that all meetings of the organs of the party be shifted to next week.
The spokesperson of the party, Olisa Metuh, had on Monday issued a statement saying the meeting of the National Caucus of the party had been shifted to Monday next week, while that of the BoT would hold on the morning of Tuesday, February 16th to be followed by a meeting of the National Executive Committee, NEC.
A member of the BoT had on Tuesday informed PREMIUM TIMES that the BoT was “not answerable to the NWC and would therefore, hold its meeting on Tuesday as scheduled”.
The BoT carried out its threat and held its meeting at the Nicon Luxury Hotel in Abuja.
One of the major outcomes of the meeting was the decision to sack its acting chairman, Bello Haliru, and appoint a replacement.
Mr. Haliru is currently facing trial at a Federal High Court in Abuja over allegations he received large sums of money from the embattled former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, through his son.
Briefing reporters at the Wadata Plaza secretariat of the PDP, the secretary of the BoT, Walid Jibrin, said he had been asked to take over as acting chairman, pending when a substantive chairman would emerge.
Mr. Jibrin said the BoT decided to ignore the decision of the NWC because it is a special organ of the PDP, adding however, that, members of the BoT would still attend next week’s meeting of the caucus and NEC.
“The BoT has already called for this meeting. It is a special organ that regulate its activities. We can take our own decision. We will still attend next week meeting.”
The new chairman said they decided to replace Mr. Mohammed because his tenure had already expired.
“On the 25th of May, we appointed the outgoing acting chairman, Mr. Mohammed to act for three months, when the three months expired, we decided to extend his period by two weeks and that has expired.
“Very soon we are going to hold a meeting to elect a substantive chairman, probably during the next meeting of BoT, we will do it properly and elect a substantive Chairman,” he said.
On the controversy surrounding the position of the acting chairman of the party, Mr. Jibrin said the BoT aligns itself with the court ruling that the North-east should produce a Chairman to complete the tenure of Adamu Mu’azu, who resigned after the party was defeated in the 2015 general elections.
He said party leaders expected the north-east to meet and pick a short list of three candidates and submit same to the meetings of national caucus and NEC next week.
He said the two meetings would now zero in on one of the three candidates and announce him as the new chairman of the party.
Among the contenders from the north-east are two former presidential aides, Ahmed Gulak and Rufai Alkali, as well as a former Minister, Mohammed Wakil, and a former ambassador and Governor of defunct Gongola state, Wilberforce Juta.