There was confusion over the sudden resignation of the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, former president Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday.
According to the constitution of the PDP, Obasanjo’s tenure ends in 2013; having assumed the chairmanship in 2008 in what many described as a palace coup against Chief Tony Anenih, the then acting Chairman of the BoT.
He was about to be ratified as the substantive chairman by the members of the board when Obasanjo suddenly stormed the meeting and took over from Anenih.
Article 12.77 Part (c) of the PDP Constitution says, “The Board of Trustees shall ensure that the Chairman and Secretary shall, subject to Article 12.81 of this constitution, serve a single term of five years.’’ By this provision of the Party’s constitution, therefore Obasanjo’s tenure which started in 2008 should end by 2013.
However, announcing his resignation in a press statement he personally signed, Obasanjo said, “I have formally sent in my letter of resignation as the Chairman of BOT of PDP to the National Chairman of the party as prescribed in the party’s constitution. I have formally requested the President to allow my bowing out and to issue a short statement to that effect.
‘‘By relieving myself of the responsibility for chairmanship of BOT of PDP, I will have a bit more time to devote to the international demands on me.”
The former president said he hoped to channel more energy to serving mankind both nationally and internationally, just as he hoped to develop his presidential library towards encouraging investments in the country.
‘‘I wish to give some attention to mentoring across the board nationally and internationally in those areas that I have acquired some experience, expertise and in which I have something to share and also use my Presidential Library and to mobilising and encouraging investment in Nigeria and Africa,’’ Obasanjo stated.
However as the news of the resignation filtered into town, confusion set in as tongues were left wagging over what could have triggered his sudden and inexplicable resignation as the PDP BoT chairman. LEADERSHIP checks reveal that Obasanjo’s resignation may be aimed at dousing the tension generated among party faithful during the recent national convention of the party.
It was gathered that a series of meetings had been held in the last three days in the north, particularly in Abuja, by powerful northern interests who are already spoiling for a showdown over the 2015 presidential contest which was seen to have been won and lost, considering how the PDP national convention was held.
In a bid to avoid possible clash with the northerners, it was learnt, Obasanjo volunteered to step down as BoT chairman of the party so that “there will be peace within the PDP family”.
A source also said that the decision by President Goodluck Jonathan to proceed on a one-week working leave was to allow him re-strategise and work out a solution to the rat race that has commenced for the 2015 election.
Also, it was gathered that Obasanjo’s resignation may be aimed at showing his disapproval for the aspiration of President Jonathan to contest the 2015 presidency.
In December 2010, Obasanjo had said that if the PDP produced the president, it would be time for him to reduce his partisan political activities, recalling that he was actively involved in bringing forth successors after him.
Another competent source within the PDP told LEADERSHIP that the resignation of Obasanjo did not come as a surprise to him saying that ‘‘the chairman has on several occasions expressed his willingness to resign’’
‘‘If not for the intervention of some party chieftains who prevailed on him to wait, he would have resigned since. However I expect him to leave as soon as the convention is over’’ the source stated.
Already, there are indications that some party chieftains have begun jostling for the coveted seat of the BoT. Among those mentioned is Nigeria’s ambassdor to China, Alhaji Aminu Wali.
There were indications also that the former national chairman of the party, Senator Ahmadu Ali, is gearing up to succeed Obasanjo as the next BoT chairman. A source who spoke to LEADERSHIP on condition of anonymity said even though the process of electing a BoT chairman for the party was clear, President Goodluck Jonathan may have yielded to Obasanjo’s request of having Ahmadu Ali as his successor.
The 2009 Constitution of the PDP (as amended) solely vests the power of electing the BoT chairman and secretary on members of the BoT themselves.
Article 12.77 (a) which deal with Election And Tenure of Officers of the BoT states ‘‘The Board of Trustees shall elect a chairman and a secretary from members of the Board. The Chairman and Secretary shall also be members of the National Executive Committee.’