Where are PDP ex-na­tional chair­men?

The Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP) has recorded a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of na­tional chair­men in the 19 years of its ex­is­tence in the na­tion’s po­lit­i­cal land­scape. Our cor­re­spon­dent x-rays their an­tecedents and cur­rent roles in the polity.

Sunday Trust - - SUNDAY MENU - By Saawua Terzungwe

Dr. Alex Ek­wueme

He was the pro­tem chair­man of the PDP when the party was formed in 1998. He ad­min­is­tered the af­fairs of the PDP for only three months be­fore he stepped down to pur­sue a pres­i­den­tial am­bi­tion. Cred­i­ble sources within the PDP told Daily Trust on Sun­day that Ek­wueme, a for­mer vice pres­i­dent, has been play­ing ad­vi­sory role on how the vi­sion and mis­sion of the found­ing fa­thers would re­main op­er­a­tional.

He was one of the key stake­hold­ers who the Prof. Jerry Gana-led Strat­egy Re­view and In­ter-Party Af­fairs Com­mit­tee pre­sented its re­port to at the end of its job early this year.

Chief Solomon Lar

Lar was the first civil­ian Gover­nor of Plateau State. He was a prom­i­nent mem­ber of the PDP foun­da­tion group, pop­u­larly called G34, led by Ek­wueme. When the group trans­formed into a po­lit­i­cal party and adopted PDP as its name, he be­came its first sub­stan­tive na­tional chair­man. He quit the of­fice af­ter en­dur­ing a prickly re­la­tion­ship with the then Pres­i­dent, Chief Oluse­gun Obasanjo. Lar be­came a mem­ber of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) in 2004. He died in Oc­to­ber, 2013. Then Pres­i­dent, Good­luck Jonathan, in a con­do­lence mes­sage, said, “Lar brought ex­em­plary hu­mil­ity, great vi­sion, wis­dom and ma­tu­rity to po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship in Nige­ria for over 50 years as a leg­is­la­tor, ex­ec­u­tive gover­nor, party leader and highly revered elder states­man.”

Chief Barn­abas Ge­made

Barn­abas Ge­made took over from Lar in 1999. He later threw in the towel when he was no longer in the good books of then Pres­i­dent, Oluse­gun Obasanjo. He com­pleted his first ten­ure of two years and was said to be gun­ning for an­other term when his bid was scut­tled. He va­cated the seat at the party’s 2001 na­tional con­ven­tion.

Ge­made later jumped ship to the All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC) and is cur­rently the se­na­tor rep­re­sent­ing Benue North East Se­na­to­rial District on that plat­form.

Chief Audu Og­beh

Og­beh took over the man­tle of PDP lead­er­ship in 2001 when Ge­made va­cated the of­fice. Prepara­tory to his emer­gence, the PDP amended its con­sti­tu­tion

In the last quar­ter of 2004, the rift deep­ened in such a man­ner that Og­beh could not with­stand the heat. Con­se­quently, he re­signed in Jan­uary, 2005. He later dumped the PDP for the APC and is cur­rently the Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture

to al­low for a four-year term for the po­si­tion of chair­man. Og­beh was said to have en­joyed the of­fice, but to­wards the end of his ten­ure, he al­legedly en­dured a frosty re­la­tion­ship with Obasanjo be­cause of his com­ments on the ex­cesses of gov­ern­ment. In the last quar­ter of 2004, the rift deep­ened in such a man­ner that Og­beh could not with­stand the heat. Con­se­quently, he re­signed in Jan­uary, 2005. He later dumped the PDP for the APC and is cur­rently the Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture.

Dr. Ah­madu Ali

Ali, an ex-mil­i­tary of­fi­cer, for­mer ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter and se­na­tor, re­placed Og­beh in act­ing ca­pac­ity un­til March 2, 2005, when he was elected as the sub­stan­tive na­tional chair­man of the party. He played key roles in the elec­tion vic­to­ries of ex-pres­i­dents, Oluse­gun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’adua and Good­luck Jonathan. His pre­vi­ous role led to his emer­gence as the Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of the PDP Pres­i­den­tial Cam­paign Or­gan­i­sa­tion in the 2015 gen­eral elec­tions.

Be­ing a for­mer PDP chief, Ali is said to be play­ing a crit­i­cal role in the re-build­ing process of the party, es­pe­cially with the re­cent Supreme Court judge­ment which has in­jected life into it.

Ali was sighted by our cor­re­spon­dent at the re­cent Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee (NEC) and the Board of Trustees (BoT) meet­ings prior to the Au­gust 12, 2017 non-elec­tive con­ven­tion of the party.

His ten­ure as PDP boss ended in 2008 when the party’s chair­man­ship was zoned to the South East.

Prince Vin­cent Og­bu­lafor

Og­bu­lafor came in in 2008 and was kicked out of of­fice in 2010 af­ter the death of the then Pres­i­dent, Al­haji Umaru Musa Yar’adua. Og­bu­lafor was thrown out not long af­ter he made a state­ment that in 2011, the pres­i­den­tial ticket would re­turn to the North af­ter the death of Yar’adua. The state­ment was al­legedly con­sid­ered an abom­i­na­tion by then Pres­i­dent, Good­luck Jonathan, and those close to him. Con­se­quently, the zon­ing ar­range­ment was jet­ti­soned and ma­nip­u­lated in favour of Jonathan who ul­ti­mately won the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

Sources close to Og­bu­lafor con­firmed that he is still an ac­tive par­tic­i­pant in the repo­si­tion­ing process of the PDP. He has been part of PDP meet­ings in re­cent times.

Dr. Ek­we­silieze Nwodo

Nwodo, a for­mer Gover­nor of Enugu State, took over in 2010 as PDP boss and was re­moved shortly af­ter the pres­i­den­tial pri­mary that pro­duced Jonathan. Nwodo met re­sis­tance when he pur­port­edly

started ini­ti­at­ing poli­cies that would halt state gover­nors from fund­ing and hi­jack­ing the party.

He also had a rift with the then Gover­nor of his state, Sul­li­van Chime, over who took charge of the party struc­ture in the state. The in­trigues that fol­lowed led to his un­cer­e­mo­ni­ous ouster. How­ever, Nwodo has re­mained a card-car­ry­ing mem­ber of the party and was also sighted at the var­i­ous meet­ings in the build up to the PDP non-elec­tive con­ven­tion of Au­gust 12.

Dr. Haliru Bello Mo­hammed

Fol­low­ing Nwodo’s exit, Mo­hammed took over in 2011 in act­ing ca­pac­ity fol­low­ing the res­o­lu­tion of the 56th Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee (NEC). He was in charge un­til he was ap­pointed Min­is­ter of De­fence in July, same year. Mo­hammed later be­came the act­ing chair­man of the PDP BoT. How­ever, the ex-min­is­ter main­tained an ex­tremely low pro­file dur­ing the re­cent lead­er­ship cri­sis that tore the party to shreds and nearly nailed its cof­fin.

How­ever, since the pro­nounce­ment of the Supreme Court which nipped in the bud a 14-month cri­sis, Mo­hammed has been ap­pear­ing at pub­lic events of the party sig­nalling that the PDP re­mained in his good books.

He is ex­pected to play a key role in 2019 like he did in the past. For in­stance, Mo­hammed sup­ported a change to the PDP zon­ing in favour of Jonathan to run in 2011, in­stead of a north­ern can­di­date. When Jonathan be­came pres­i­dent, he (Jonathan) was al­leged to have re­warded him with the post of Min­is­ter of De­fence, a post he held be­tween 2011 and 2012.

Al­haji Kawu Baraje

Baraje took over from Mo­hammed in 2011, also in act­ing ca­pac­ity, un­til the elec­tion of Al­haji Ba­manga Tukur at the March 2012 con­ven­tion of the party. How­ever, Baraje later be­came leader of the New PDP (nPDP) which emerged fol­low­ing in­tense cri­sis in the party. He later dumped the PDP and pitched tent with the All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC).

Al­haji Ba­manga Tukur

Tukur an­nounced his re­tire­ment from par­ti­san pol­i­tics in Septem­ber, 2015, af­ter the PDP lost power at the cen­tre. One of the dra­matic and his­toric events that char­ac­terised his ten­ure as PDP na­tional chair­man was the deep cri­sis that led to the de­fec­tion of five PDP gover­nors to the then op­po­si­tion APC. The then gover­nors, Ro­timi Amaechi (Rivers), Aliyu Wa­makko (Sokoto), Mur­tala Nyako (Adamawa), Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (Kano) and Ahmed Ab­dul­fat­tah (Kwara), all jumped ship. Tukur was forced to re­sign in Jan­uary, 2014, fol­low­ing pres­sure from party stake­hold­ers. But de­spite his re­tire­ment from par­ti­san pol­i­tics, Tukur was still play­ing ad­vi­sory role at the height of the re­cent cri­sis that rav­aged the PDP.

An ex-aide to Tukur told our cor­re­spon­dent in a tele­phone in­ter­view that, “It is dif­fi­cult for a politi­cian of that pedi­gree to de­tach him­self com­pletely from pol­i­tics.”

On De­cem­ber 19, 2016, a fac­tional na­tional chair­man of the PDP, Se­na­tor Ali Modu Sher­iff, con­sulted Tukur in his Abuja res­i­dence. Tukur, how­ever, played around and de­clined to tell news­men the de­tails of the meet­ing. He only as­sured that the PDP would sur­vive de­spite the cri­sis be­dev­illing it then. On July 12, 2017, the Supreme Court ended the cri­sis.

Al­haji Adamu Mu’azu

Mu’azu as­sumed of­fice as PDP na­tional chair­man in Jan­uary, 2014, and re­signed on May 20, 2015, af­ter lead­ing the party to a hu­mil­i­at­ing de­feat in the 2015 gen­eral elec­tions. PDP gover­nors and other stake­hold­ers mounted pres­sure on Mu’azu who was left with no op­tion than to throw in the towel. Since then, Mu’azu, a for­mer Gover­nor of Bauchi State, left the shores of this coun­try. He main­tained sealed lips on both po­lit­i­cal and other fronts un­til re­cently when he was al­leged to have owned a con­tro­ver­sial Ikoyi house; an al­le­ga­tion he dis­pelled in a state­ment. He did not make any pub­lic ap­pear­ance in 14 months. A source close to him sim­ply said, “He will take a par­tic­u­lar line of ac­tion at the ap­pro­pri­ate time.”

Prince Uche Se­con­dus

Se­con­dus, who was the deputy na­tional chair­man of the PDP, took over the party’s lead­er­ship in act­ing ca­pac­ity fol­low­ing Mu’azu’s res­ig­na­tion in May, 2015. He was sup­posed to run the party for only three months for a sub­stan­tive chair­man to emerge, but rather adopted a sit-tight style

He is ex­pected to play a key role in 2019 like he did in the past. For in­stance, Mo­hammed sup­ported a change to the PDP zon­ing in favour of Jonathan to run in 2011, in­stead of a north­ern can­di­date. When Jonathan be­came pres­i­dent, he (Jonathan) was al­leged to have re­warded him with the post of Min­is­ter of De­fence, a post he held be­tween 2011 and 2012

of lead­er­ship and re­fused to leave of­fice un­til he was ousted by an Abuja High Court which ruled that his ten­ure had elapsed. This fol­lowed a suit against him by Jonathan’s ex-aide on po­lit­i­cal af­fairs, Barr. Ahmed Gu­lak.

De­spite the de­vel­op­ment, Se­con­dus has re­mained ac­tive in the party and has been mak­ing pub­lic ap­pear­ances and state­ments from the time the PDP was in cri­sis to date.

Se­na­tor Ali Modu Sher­iff

Se­na­tor Sher­iff’s emer­gence was greeted with se­ri­ous bash­ing and cri­sis within the rank and file of the PDP, con­sid­er­ing that his name was not among the nom­i­nees sent by the North East cau­cus to the party’s na­tional lead­er­ship. He was ap­pointed in Fe­bru­ary, 2016, to com­plete Mu’azu’s ten­ure. He too was ex­pected to serve for only three months but chose to stay put; a de­vel­op­ment that plunged the party into more tur­bu­lence.

How­ever, since the judge­ment of the Supreme Court which sacked him and recognised the Se­na­tor Ahmed Makarfi-led na­tional care­taker com­mit­tee, Sher­iff has re­mained un­de­cided as to an­nounc­ing his loy­alty to the party or exit from it. He left the coun­try at the time but some of his al­lies have been crit­i­cis­ing the de­ci­sions of the party. They have also not stated whether they had taken the exit route.

One of the peo­ple who worked un­der him told Daily Trust on Sun­day in a tele­phone in­ter­view that “he is com­ing back” but de­clined to clar­ify whether he was com­ing back as a party mem­ber or not.

As for­mer na­tional chair­man, Sher­iff, how­ever, has the priv­i­lege of be­ing a NEC and BoT mem­ber and can at­tend na­tional cau­cus meet­ings of the PDP. How­ever, he was con­spic­u­ously ab­sent at all the meet­ings in the build up to the party’s non-elec­tive con­ven­tion re­cently and has re­mained de­tached from the party.

Se­na­tor Ibrahim Mantu and Prof Tunde Adeni­ran

At the heat of the cri­sis, a for­mer Deputy Se­nate Pres­i­dent, Ibrahim Mantu, and Prof. Tunde Adeni­ran

How­ever, since the judge­ment of the Supreme Court which sacked him and recognised the Se­na­tor Ahmed Makarfi-led na­tional care­taker com­mit­tee, Sher­iff has re­mained un­de­cided as to an­nounc­ing his loy­alty to the party or exit from it

emerged as co-chair­men of the party at a na­tional con­ven­tion in Abuja on May 21, 2016, same day the Port Har­court con­ven­tion was held. How­ever, the co-chair­men later de­clared sup­port for the Makarfi-led care­taker com­mit­tee.

The two prom­i­nent politi­cians have been mak­ing ap­pear­ances at the party’s events and work­ing to­gether with the Makarfi com­mit­tee in or­der for the PDP to re­claim power in 2019.

Chief Audu Og­beh

Dr. Ah­madu Ali

Prince Vin­cent Og­bu­lafor

Dr. Ek­we­silieze Nwodo

Dr. Haliru Bello Mo­hammed

Dr. Alex Ek­wueme

Chief Solomon Lar

Chief Barn­abas Ge­made

Al­haji Kawu Baraje

Al­haji Ba­manga Tukur

Sen. Ali Modu Sher­iff

Al­haji Adamu Mu’azu

Sen. Ibrahim Mantu

Prince Uche Se­con­dus

Prof. Tunde Adeni­ran

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