With the recent crisis and tussle for power rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a former governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff, has been named the new National Chairman of the PDP.
The spokesperson for PDP, Olisa Metuh, who addressed journalists at the Abuja’s secretariat of the party at Wadata Plaza on Tuesday, revealed that Mr. Sheriff who is also a former senator, was picked by National Caucus of PDP comprising the governors, members of the National Working committee, NWC and the leadership of the National Assembly.
Metuh said the decision would be communicated to the Board of Trustees (BoT) and subsequently, the National Executive Committee, NEC, for ratification before a formal announcement would be made.
Ali Modu Sheriff, who is replacing Ahmadu Mu’azu, the former chairman who resigned shortly after the 2015 polls, has been a controversial figure amid allegations he funded and sponsored the extremist sect, Boko Haram. He denies the allegation.
Uche Secondus, Mu’azu’s deputy, from Rivers state, took control of the PDP leadership, but his intervention irked some members who maintained that the position should be reserved for the Northeast since Mu’azu, who is from Bauchi state, did not complete his term.
Twenty nine names were said to have indicated interest for the position, but later pruned down to seven, even as former Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu who indicated interest for the position, but did not show up for the screening.
Among the contenders for the position were Ahmed Gulak, former Senior Special Assistant on Political Matters to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Mohammed Wakil (Borno State), former Minister of State for Power, Nuhu Ribadu, former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and Wilberforce Juta, former deputy governor of defunct Gongola state.
Sheriff who was the Chairman,, BoT of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, was picked by the caucus as the candidate from the pool of other aspirants that appeared for the interview and screening.
In 2014, Stephen Davis, an Australian negotiator, named Sheriff, the new acting national chairman, as one of the sponsors of Boko Haram, but he failed to prove the allegation against the former governor.
The PDP is Nigeria’s biggest opposition party, and was defeated only in May 2015 after holding power for sixteen years.