The Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has replaced the embattled chairman of the Board, Haliru Mohammed Bello, with Senator Walid Jibrin.
Bello is currently undergoing trial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over alleged involvement in the $2.1 billion arms deal scandal, allegedly coordinated by the immediate past National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), who is also on trial.
Until his elevation yesterday, Jibrin was the Secretary of the BoT.
He will occupy the position in an acting capacity pending the appointment of a substantive chair. He will also combine his new role with being secretary.
The decision was conveyed by the new acting BoT Chairman at a briefing in Abuja yesterday.
It was contained in a communique issued after a meeting of the Board held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel.
The meeting by the BoT raised suspicions of a fresh round of crisis of confidence between the board and the National Working Committee, which said that all meetings of the organs of the party be shifted to next week.
The national publicity secretary of the PDP, Olisa Metuh, had on Monday issued a statement saying the meeting of the National Caucus of the party had been shifted to Monday next week, while that of the BoT would hold on the morning of Tuesday, February 16th to be followed by a meeting of the National Executive Committee, NEC.
However, dousing any suspicion of mistrust or crisis in the opposition party, Mr. Jibrin said the BoT decided to ignore the decision of the NWC because it is a special organ of the PDP, adding however, that, members of the BoT would still attend next week’s meeting of the caucus and NEC.
“The BoT has already called for this meeting. It is a special organ that regulate its activities. We can take our own decision. We will still attend next week meeting.”
The new chairman said they decided to replace Mr. Mohammed because his tenure had already expired.
“On the 25th of May, we appointed the outgoing acting chairman, Mr. Mohammed to act for three months, when the three months expired, we decided to extend his period by two weeks and that has expired.
“Very soon we are going to hold a meeting to elect a substantive chairman, probably during the next meeting of BoT, we will do it properly and elect a substantive Chairman”, he said.
The party organ also declared its unflinching support for the Northeast zone for the position of National Chairman to replace Prince Uche Secondus, who is acting chair.
An Abuja High Court had in November 2015, ordered Secondus to vacate the position within 14 days, but Secondus said he had filed an appeal against the order.
Jibrin said the Northeast zone would meet next week to pick a National Chairman to replace Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu who resigned last May after leading the party to its first shocking defeat in the 2015 general elections.
He said party leaders expected the north-east to meet and pick a short list of three candidates and submit same to the meetings of national caucus and NEC next week.
He said the two meetings would now zero in on one of the three candidates and announce him as the new chairman of the party.
Among the contenders from the north-east are two former presidential aides, Ahmed Gulak and Rufai Alkali, as well as a former Minister of State, Power, who is being tipped as favourite, Mohammed Wakil; and a former ambassador and Governor of defunct Gongola state, Wilberforce Juta.
“The Northeast is going to meet to consider members short listed and bring them to Caucus, BoT and National Executive Committee (NEC) meetings for final approval”, Jibrin stated.