As the opposition Peoples Democratic Party gets set to name a new leader of the party, governors and other chieftains of the PDP are on a manhunt for a former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nuhu Ribadu, in their bid to make him chairman.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that a meeting of the national caucus of the PDP is currently holding in Abuja, after which the National Executive Committee will meet at the Wadata Plaza secretariat of the party by 2p.m. on Tuesday.
Mr. Ribadu was tipped for the chairmanship position last year, shortly after the then chairman, Ahmadu Muazu, resigned from office.
However, we gathered that the move to have him replace mr. Muazu, championed by governors elected under the party, was thwarted by the National Working Committee, NWC, under the interim leadership of Uche Secondus.
We also gathered that Mr. Ribadu, who had earlier agreed to take the offer, also abandoned it on account of “lack of seriousness to truly reform the party by its top echelon”.
However, after a long back and forth and controversy, including court cases, the party agreed to hold a special NEC meeting to fill the position created by the resignation of Mr. Muazu.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt of spirited attempts in the last few days by some top party chieftains to persuade Mr. Ribadu to accept to chair and transform the party.
A source privy to the goings on in the PDP said some of the party’s governors visited Mr. Ribadu in a last-minute effort to get him to change his position. He was, however, said to have stuck to his guns.
“Since midnight yesterday, party chieftains led by a governor from the South-south region began a search for Ribadu, to no avail.
“The ex-EFCC chair was said to have gone incommunicado since last night, making all attempts to reach him impossible,” the source said.
He also said at least four governors of the party and other chieftains are currently waiting at the Bayelsa Governor’s Lodge in the Maitama area of Abuja, scrambling to reach Mr Ribadu.
“Mr. Ribadu, PREMIUM TIMES learnt, is skeptical of taking the PDP job because of the battered image the party has suffered, especially with the ongoing corruption probes.
“He is also not confident that the party’s bigwigs would tolerate his radical disposition,” our source said.
PREMIUM TIMES reporters have been unsuccessful in reaching Mr. Ribadu for hours. His telephones were switched off the several times our reporters called.
At his residence in the Asokoro District of Abuja, security guards denied our reporters entry, saying the former EFCC chairman was not at home, and that his whereabouts was unknown.
When contacted, his spokesperson, Abdulaziz Abdulaziz, said he had not been able to reach Mr. Ribadu in the past two days.