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OGBULAFOR'S SUCCESSOR: PDP CRISIS DEEPENS

By NBF News
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Ogbulafor
The battle for succession in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is literally boiling over barely 72 hours after the resignation of its National Chairman, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, over allegations of corruption.

At press time, power brokers of the ruling party including the Governors' Forum were polarized with many insisting that the South East must retain the position while others were pressing for zoning the seat to the northern part of the country.

A top member of the PDP told Sunday Sun that power brokers in the South East think that it is not yet time to give up the position while their colleagues from the north believe that the death of late President Umaru Yar'Adua has configured the zoning arrangement in the ruling party.

It was gathered that President Goodluck Jonathan is being urged to appoint a northerner considering that during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is from the South West, the party's chairmanship seat was zoned to the northern part of the country.

'At the moment, nobody is sure where the seat will be zoned to. The South East is insisting that they do not have enough representation in this administration while the North feels that with the death of President Yar'Adua, the seat should be zoned to the North to ensure that the seat of the President and Chairman do not remain in the South', he said.

Contenders for the race include former secretary of the party, Chief Okwesilieze Nwodo, Nigeria's former Ambassador to Togo, Aguiyi Ironsi, former Senate President, Anyim Puis Anyim and Dr Haliru Mohammed from Enugu, Abia, Ebonyi and Kebbi states respectively. Sunday Sun source revealed that while some of the governors have pledged their support for Nwodo, they are apprehensive that he may turn out to be the lackey of the PDP Reform Group and the G-84, fighting for the control of the PDP.

A Sunday Sun source revealed that G84-group, which has the backing of the President is also toying with the idea of supporting the PDP's deputy national chairman to pilot the affairs of the party for six months, before convening a national convention. According to their permutations, while Bello will be in charge, it would be easy for the group to insist that the PDP zoning formula has not been fundamentally altered.

It was gathered that those desirous of a Jonathan presidency in 2011 are said to have seen through the reasoning and insisted that Mohammed be allowed to steer the ship of the party in line with Article 13.1 of the party's constitution, which states: 'There shall be a National Chairman who shall be the chief executive of the party. His functions shall include to: …delegate his powers to the Deputy National Chairman or any of the national vice chairmen…'

Haliru Bello is from Kebbi state in the North West while Jonathan who is allegedly gearing to contest the 2011 presidential election is from Bayelsa of the southern part of the country.

But according to our source, those pushing for Ogbulafor's successor to come from the South East are said to have drawn attention to Article 14.5 of the party's constitution, which states that 'where a vacancy occurs in any of the offices of the party, the committee (NEC) shall appoint a substitute from the zone where the office originated pending the conduct of election to fill the vacancy.'

Our source revealed that the choice of the former Senate President, Anyim Pius anyim has however polarized the PDP governors as they support different candidates to emerge from the zone . 'Sullivan Chime, the Enugu state governor is supporting Ambassador Aguiyi Ironsi for the office, but surprisingly the Ebonyi governor, Martin Elechi, has vowed that Anyim, who is from his state, would not emerge as national chairman of the party''

Ogbulafor threw in the towel on Thursday, citing the need to 'frontally face' the N104 million graft allegation filed against him by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).