Ex-convict, corrupt politicians grace PDP’s BOT meeting

The Peoples Democratic Party

Former and present leaders of PDP attended the BOT meeting.

An ex-convict, and several politicians indicted and being prosecuted for corruption attended the Board of Trustees meeting of Nigeria’s ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.The Board of Trustees is one of the largest organs of the ruling party.

The meeting was held on Friday night at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Top among the attendees are Bode George, a former Deputy National Chairman of the party. Mr. George was convicted for contract splitting and corruption while he was chairman of the board of the Nigeria Ports

Authority. He was sentenced to jail and served his time.

Another major attendee of the meeting was Vincent Ogbulafor, a former national chairman of the party. Mr. Ogbulafor, while he was Minister of Special Duties, forged documents to dupe Nigeria of N107 million, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC, said. The commission is already prosecuting him at the Abuja High Court.

Former governor of Nassarawa State, Abdullahi Adamu, was also at the meeting. The former governor is believed to have mismanaged N15 billion of state funds while he was governor from 1999 to 2007. He is currently being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on a 149-count charge at the Federal High Court in the state.

Former Governor, Danjuma Goje of Gombe was also at the meeting. The EFCC believes Mr. Goje misappropriated N52 billion of the state funds while he was governor. He is being prosecuted on an 18-count charge at a Federal High Court in Gombe.

Others who attended the meeting, not being prosecuted, but whose names have been mentioned in various corruption scandals are Tony Anenih and Haliru Bello. Mr. Anenih, a former Chairman of the BOT, has been severally mentioned in the mismanagement of over N300 billion meant for road constructions while he was Works Minister. Mr. Bello, a former chairman of the Party, is alleged to be one of the beneficiaries of the Siemens bribe. Siemens a German firm was indicted in Germany for bribing Nigerian officials in order to secure a government contract. Mr. Bello is believed to be one of the beneficiaries, although no Nigerian has been prosecuted for the crime.

Some others like the party’s national chairman, Bamanga Tukur, and one of his predecessors, Ahmadu Ali, have their wards directly linked to corruption scandals. The sons of Mr. Tukur and Mr. Ali are being prosecuted for defrauding the Federal Government in a fuel subsidy scheme.

The EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde, had lamented the inability of the commission to convict top government functionaries, including the PDP leaders, indicted for corruption. Mr. Lamorde said the indicted officials are frustrating the corruption cases through the use of frivolous court processes.

PDP not in a hurry

At the end of the BOT meeting on Friday evening, the party said it is not in a hurry to elect a new chairman for its Board of Trustees, BOT, a position considered one of the most powerful and influential within Nigerians ruling party.

The Secretary of the BOT, Walid Jibrin, said this at the end of the meeting.

“We are not in a hurry to elect a new chairman; we want a chairman that is sound, accepted, credible and with proven integrity; a chairman who has a clear vision for the party’s mission,” Mr. Jibrin said.

A new date, January 8, was fixed as the day of the election of the BOT chairman, a position last held by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who resigned from the position earlier in the year.

The party had been expected to elect a new person, on Friday night, to fill the vacant position, with top contenders being Mr. Anenih, also a former Works Minister and previous holder of the position; and Mr. Ali, a former National Chairman of the Party.

Mr. Jibrin said contrary to reports that the election would hold on Friday night, the meeting only discussed the modalities that would be adopted for the election of the chairman and secretary of the board.

“We came to discuss the modalities that will lead to electing the new chairman. The election will be a pride to Nigerians. The issue of the new chairman of the BOT will come up on January 8 next year but before then, we must have intent from members.

“Up till the time we held the meeting, there was no intent from anybody to contest. The discussion was held on the best way to elect the chairman. However, anyone interested should submit his intent to the secretary of the party,” he said.

The board secretary stressed that contenders for the position must come from members of the BOT, adding that the aspirants have only one week to submit their intent. He said that the restriction placed on party members who are eligible to contest is in accordance with the Section 9 of the PDP Constitution, which states that the chairman and secretary of the party’s BOT should be elected from members of the BOT.

Apart from the earlier mentioned, others who attended the meeting include Senate President, David Mark; and former Vice-President, Alex Ekwueme.

Others include PDP National Secretary, Olagunsoye Oyinlola; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Pius Anyim; a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Na’Abba; and former National Chairman, Barnabas Gemade.

Others that attended the meeting include Mariam Amodu-Ali, Sunny Odogwu, Kema Chikwe, Ibrahim Mantu, Bode Olajumoke, Maina Waziri, Don Etiebet, and Ebenezer Babatope.

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