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SUCCESSOR FOR NWODO: PDP BOT MEETS TOMORROW

By NBF News
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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may have finally decided to respond to the agitation for immediate replacement for the party's national chairmanship slot, coming from gladiators of the party from the South- east geo-political zone.

The immediate past national chairman of the party, Dr. Okwesilizie Nwodo, was removed in January, while the deputy national chairman of the party, Alhaji Bello Haliru Mohammed, had been presiding over the party affairs in acting capacity.

An emergency meeting of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) had been fixed for tomorrow at the banquet hall of Presidential Villa, to discuss how to pick a substantive chairman for the party.

A group, Eastern Leaders Forum (ELF), led by Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, had on Tuesday called on President Goodluck Jonathan and the national leadership of PDP to appoint a new national chairman of the party from the South East zone before the April general election.

According to him, the constitution of the PDP is very clear on who should occupy what position in an event of death, resignation or removal of any member of the National Working Committee, NWC, from office.

Article 14 (5) of the PDP constitution states: 'Where a vacancy occurs in any of the offices of the party, the committee shall appoint a substitute from the zone where the officer originated pending the conduct of election to fill the vacancy'. The acting national chairman of the party, Dr. Bello Mohammed is from the North-west state of Kebbi.

Leader of the ELF, Ezeife, had warned that some opponents of President Jonathan were already working hard to exploit the discontent in the South-east to turn the table against him.

According to him, 'the inability of the PDP and the president to return to them what was theirs was now a subject of worry to Ndigbo and some opponents of the president were working hard to exploit the situation.

'We are worried that the PDP and President Jonathan are exerting great energy on doubtful prospects instead of consolidating on what is better assured. We are worried that a lot of things are being taken for granted while the campaign lasts. Goodwill alone, in our estimation, may not be relied upon in an election of this magnitude.

'We call on President Jonathan and the PDP to hearken to the voice of Ndigbo and restore to them the position of the national chairmanship of the PDP before the general election.'

Already the ELF had forwarded the names of two prospective candidates to the party after screening by an independent body led by Prof. Anya O. Anya. They are the name of former chairman of Anambra State chapter of the party, Chief Dan Ulasi, and former speaker of the House of Representatives, Agunwa Anaekwe.

Besides, the pressures from the Ezeife-led ELF, two chieftains of the party from the zone had already dragged PDP to court to challenge the continued stay in office by Dr. Bello Haliru Mohammed as acting national chairman.

The plaintiffs in suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/283/2011,Onyinyeche Amalu and Nnaemeka Umeh, were asking the court to declare the office of the acting national chairman, Dr. Harilu Mohammed Bello, as illegal because it was alien to the party's constitution.

In the originating summons they wanted the court to determine among others, 'Whether the purported appointment, assumption of office adoption, selection, imposition or empowerment of the 2nd Defendant (Harilu Mohammed Bello) as the acting national chairman of the 1st defendant by the National Executive Committee of the 1st defendant or any of its organs or any person whatsoever, is in flagrant and violent violation of the constitution of the 1st defendant, including its articles 7, 13 & 14 and, therefore, invalid, illegal, unlawful, null, void and of no effect whatsoever.'

The BoT meeting to be chaired by former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, is also expected to deliberate on appointment of a new national youth leader, following the demise of Muyiwa Collins some months ago. The position is zoned to the South West. PDP national caucus is expected to meet after the BoT meeting to deliberate on same agenda before the meeting of the National Executive Committee where all decisions will be formally ratified.