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ANPP PAVES WAY FOR IBB, AMENDS CONSTITUTION

By NBF News

The coast may have been cleared for former Military President, Ibrahim Babangida to realize his presidential ambition in 2011 on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) as the party at its Natioånal Convention yesterday amended its constitution and inserted a new clause allowing former presidents and heads of state to come into the party, vote and be voted for.

This is even as horse trading within and among various camps in the party produced former governor of Abia State, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, as its national chairman.

Onu emerged chairman of the party with 3,925 votes, beating Chief Harry Akande who scored 1,479 votes. Shetima Lawal, from Yobe State, emerged the new national secretary of the party.

There have been speculations that General Babangida, a presidential aspirant on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had prepared to use the party as alternative platform should his ambition crash in PDP. The obstacle to his use of ANPP, party sources revealed, is the Article 13 of the party's constitution stipulating that any party member seeking elective public office must have been a member of the party for 12 months consecutively.

However, the newly inserted clause grants waivers to former heads of states and presidents to come into the party and seek nominations, period of membership notwithstanding. The camp of the party's presidential aspirant and Governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau, who is perceived to be the target of the new clause said it was not bothered about the the party constitution amendment.

Mr. Vitalis Ajumbe, erstwhile national publicity secretary of the defunct factional Interim Management Committee told Daily Sun that governor Shekarau was not afraid of anyone. According to him, it is the wish of the presidential hopeful to see many other people and contestants coming into the party, adding that no party worth its salt would shut its door against anyone. 'If Babangida is coming, he is welcome, we shall meet on the field,' he stated.

Four other national chairmanship aspirants of the party, Dr. Yussuf Musa, Chief George Moghalu, Gambo Mogaji, Chief John Odigie Oyegun and Emma Eneukwu accepted the choice of Chief Onu as they publicly announced that they were stepping down at the Conventiomn ground. Chief Harry Akande rejected the endorsement of Chief Onu saying it was against the letter and spirit of the 2010 Electoral Act and announced his preparedness to go into contest with Chief Onu.

Earlier before the aspirants were asked to say their mind, Akande who was also a former presidential aspirant of the party said he detested the decision of the adoption of Chief Ogbonna Onu as the consensus candidate of the party.

'Some cabals in the party rose from a meeting and adopted one Ogbonna Onu as the consensus candidate asking those of us that have been working for over four months to step down. We are not even sure he picked a nomination form to contest. Now they want to impose him to destroy the party completely.'