By NBF News

As the tenure of the incumbent Edwin Ume-Ezeoke, led national leadership of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) winds up in the next couple of weeks, the battle for the soul of the party has intensified. Emerging camps, struggling for the control of the party had largely been built around the two active governors of the party, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano State and his Bornu State counterpart, Ali Modu Sherif.

Already, five aspirants had emerged for the position of the national chairman of ANPP with the two camps strategizing on which of the aspirants would be most suitable to improve on the fortunes of the party in the next general elections in view of the prevailing political circumstances.

Daily Sun gathered that those who had signified interest in the national chairmanship position include; Dr Yussuf Musa, national deputy chairman for the North, Gambo Mogaji, chairman of the party's Board of Trustee (BoT), Emmanuel Eneuku, national publicity secretary, Harry Akande, businessman and former presidential aspirant of the party and Goerge Moghalu, a former national secretary of the party, who decamped to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and returned just last week.

Sources revealed that stakeholders of the party were taking necessary caution not to throw their weight behind moles that have their physical presence in the party but their heart in another rival party.

It was learnt that the party hierarchy was wary of repeat of situation where elected national officers of the party upon election as chairman or secretary abandoned it and decamped to another party.

The camps had vowed to ward off any move from other party to plant surrogates in the party through the coming convention by screening all contestants thoroughly.

Party sources told Daily Sun that the party leadership ordinarily would have considered zoning arrangement to produce the national chairman 'but because of that fear, they are looking at a candidate that will be totally committed to the party and not one that will be elected on the basis of zoning only to jilt the party at the most crucial moment.'

The party appears to be in quandary because of the likelihood of its presidential candidate emerging from the North, in which case the position of national chairman should go to another region. However, only a northern candidate appears viable for the position if the antecedent of the aspirants is to be considered.

The Kano State governor had declared his intention to run for the presidency in 2011. Other aspirants are yet to disclose their intention but it was learnt that four others are keeping their aspirations close to their chest.

Meanwhile, when contacted, the Deputy National Chairman, Dr. Musa told Daily Sun that he would make his ambition known at the appropriate time. He said all he was concerned with at the moment was how to contribute to the stability of the party across the country.

The party leadership will decide appropriately on what is best for the party. I am qualified to run for the position but I will make my position known when necessary,' he said.

In his own comment, the National Publicity Secretary, Eneukwu confirmed that he was interested in the race and that he had been going round for consultation over it. He also promised to make public announcement when the time comes.

However, Ibrahim Geidam, the Yobe governor who heads the Convention Committee has tentatively fixed the convention for July 9th and 10th.

The state congresses which have commenced since June 6, are expected to be concluded by June 26.

The governor has promised that the party will organise a free and fair convention which will produced the best candidates for the party ahead of the 2011 elections.