BY CHIBUZO UKAIBE, Abuja –
As tussle for the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) continues to mount, the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the party has distanced itself from claims that it has endorsed a candidate for the keenly contested position.
Chairman of PDP BoT, Senator Walid Jibrin, told LEADERSHIP that, the body which is regarded as the conscience of the party, has not offered its mandate to any member of BoT to endorse any candidate on its behalf.
Jibrin’s declaration comes amidst intense intra-party struggle among blocs for their aspirant to emerge the next helmsman of the opposition party.
It was learnt, yesterday, that a South-south governor has heightened his lobbying of delegates for one of the aspirants from his region to emerge the chairman.
A source said, “I can confirm that a South-south governor has been moving around and meeting delegates to induce them to vote his aspirant. But most of the delegates are furious how he seems to want to foist his candidate on the Party.”
However, it was learnt that governors at the recent meeting in Enugu State berated some members of BoT for openly supporting and mobilising delegates for some of their members who are chairmanship aspirants.
Reacting, however, to concerns that the BoT has taken sides, chairman of the Board, Senator Walid Jibrin, told LEADERSHIP that the body has not endorsed any person as its candidate for the position.
While he stressed that they have not met to endorse a candidate, he added that “BoT has not offered any mandate to any member of BoT to endorse any candidate on our behalf.”
He added “First of all, the BoT has no any candidate or aspirant. We have never met as BoT to select any aspirant.
“And some southwest BoT decided to meet in their own without consent of BoT and consulting me as chairman of BoT. We have already told them that this is not the proper way to do.
“We told them that if you want to reconcile all the aspirants you have to call all stakeholders from the zone; Governors; elders working committee, zonal and state leaders and come up with a methodology for harmonising or reconciling. You might even invite all the aspirants and get their consent.
“If you want to make a decision, you have to get all of them together and they will tell you whether they are in support or not.”
He noted that as a chairman of BoT, he refused to attend barrage of invitations from aspirants to attend their functions. He added that it would pass a wrong impression considering that as BoT chairman, he remains a father to all aspirants of the party.
“As chairman, I have never gone out with any member or aspirant. Some invited me to come and open their offices and to witness their taking off but I told them I am the father of all and I will not go right away to any gathering and begin to give support.
“The caucus has met and I gave the stand of the BoT on this issue. And some people are trying to pressure the BoT.
Anybody going out with aspirants BoT is doing so on his own and maybe as a member of PDP.
“This BoT has not anointed anybody. All the aspirants are our children. We will call them and discuss with them and find a way to make the convention become a success.
“They can come and see me they should not be carried by some members of BoT moving around with aspirants.
“Nobody is hindering them. I have not gone with any aspirant. If the chairman of BoT does that, where then is the BoT. People do things on their own but it’s not the BoT that sent them. People have to careful. I will never accept that kind of thing, I will rather not be the BoT chairman.
“I am advising all aspirants to be free. They should carry on with their campaign and discard the belief that BoT has anointed a candidate.”
He added that the position of national chairman has been zoned to all members of the party in the South, the same way it was done for the North.
“The national chairmanship position was zoned to all party members in the South. It is the same way the North has been given the chance to bring presidential candidate of the party. The whole stakeholders from the North met in Abuja and took a decision that every zone and state is qualified to contest for presidency. We are not going to micro zone it. Many people are coming up but it is left to the people to harmonise them.”
He noted that some of aspirants are also members of the other forums like the ministers, former assembly and others but that it doesn’t mean they are doing so on behalf of the organ.
He also noted that some people contesting for presidency moving with an aspirants, noting that it was uncalled for.
On the convention he assured that, “We are coming clean with our convention. Everybody from the South will be given an opportunity contest.”