BY OBUTE JAMES
Senator Bala Mohammed, former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), who is accused of embezzling and misappropriating billions of naira while he was in charge of FCT affairs, and five others are in the race for Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national chairman, Desert Herald Newspaper had gathered.
Others on the race are Prof. Ahmed Alkali, a former Special Adviser on Political Affairs to former President Goodluck Jonathan, former Minister of State for Power Mohammed Wakil and Deputy National Publicity Secretary Jalo Abdullahi.
Some PDP governors are also pushing for ex-Governor Sule Lamido and ex-Katsina State Governor Ibrahim Shema.
But party leaders, including some members of the Board of Trustees (BOT), are insisting that the Northeast should retain the position.
It was, however, learnt that Jonathan might play a key role in the choice of the new chairman.
Jonathan’s camp is said to be in favour of young elements leading the party.
The party is awaiting the date for a mini-National Convention to elect the chairman.
A source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “Already, six candidates appear to be interested in leading the party. While four of the candidates are from the Northeast, two others from the Northwest (ex-Governors Lamido and Shema) are being recommended by some governors and leaders of the party.
“We are not sure whether or not the former governors are interested in leading the party.”
A member of the NWC said: “So far, only the ex-FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed, appears to have launched a subtle campaign for the post. The other candidates have been consulting.” The subtle campaign of the ex-FCT Minister may not be unconnected with his desire to cover up his corruption and escape prosecution.
Bala, it was gathered, has decided to lobby several people with huge amount of money in order to become the FCT Minister.
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has commenced investigation into how public funds were embezzled and misappropriated under the previous government of Goodluck Jonathan.
FCT alone under Bala usually received over N250 billion annually from Federation Account as Statuary Allocation, yet pundits agued there is nothing on the ground to justify for the funds collected over the recent years.
Since the manhunts for the corrupt public figures, several of them have been running places to see how they will avoid prosecution.
It was gathered that if Bala eventually succeeds as PDP Chairman, prosecuting him for his alleged corruption will be painted as persecuting PDP as an opposition party in the country.
The PDP National Executive Committee (NEC) is expected to release the guidelines for the election soon.”
While some party leaders, including some members of the BOT are insisting that the Northeast should retain the chairmanship slot in line with Article 47(6) of the PDP Constitution, some forces in the party have said its constitution is not sacrosanct on the choice of the new national chairman.
The source added: “Anyone elected from the Northeast will be completing the tenure of the erstwhile National Chairman, Alh. Bamanga Tukur, who was elected on March 24, 2012.”
Those in support of Lamido and Shema for the position also cited Article 49 of the PDP Constitution to support their claim.