President Goodluck Jonathan was served a huge dose of political humiliation today as governors from the North-East geo-political zone conspired to reject his anointed candidate for the national chairmanship of the governing Peoples Democratic Party.
The national chairmanship position has been zoned to the North-East.
At the PDP zonal congress in Bauchi, which ended a while ago, Mr. Jonathan’s candidate for the position, Bamanga Tukur, was defeated by a far younger and less popular Musa Babayo, who was the immediate acting national secretary of the party.
Mr. Babayo scored 14 delegate votes to Mr. Tukur’s two.
Mr. Jonathan has worked hard in the past weeks to rally zonal and national support for Mr. Tukur, a septugenarian, who believe the top PDP position should be for the elderly.
Announcing the result in Bauchi, the outgoing National Vice Chairman, North-East, Paul Wampana, said a former Ministers of Interior, Shettima Mustapha and Federal Capital Territory, Ibrahim Bunu also scored two votes each.
Others, such as the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Rufai Ahmed Alkali, and a former governor of Bauchi State, Ahmed Adamu Muazu, scored one vote each.
Senator Girgiri Lawan from Borno State was elected as Mr. Wampana’s successor.
Governors Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe, Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) Danbaba Suntai (Taraba) and host, Isa Yuguda (Bauchi) were all on hand to lead delegates from their states to reject the president’s choice.
It is not yet clear if Mr. Tukur, who is tipped to emerge chairman, would withdraw from the race, having been defeated in his home zone. But he is at liberty to remain in the race until the convention to see if other zones would vote for him.
His spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comments.
Sources informed Premium Times that Mr. Tukur may have paid the price of refusing to participate in both the ward and state congresses held in his native Adamawa State, leading the delegates to conclude that he was not bothered about what goes on at the grassroots level of the party.
In what was clearly his most obvious public show of support for the aspiration of Mr. Tukur, a former governor of the old Gongola state, Mr. Goodluck Jonathan had on March 12 met with governors of states in the North-east geopolitical zone alongside Mr. Tukur.
But even after the meeting the governor of Mr. Tukur home state of Adamawa, Murtala Nyako, refused to give any public endorsement to the aspiration of the chairmanship candidate.