The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu and the Board of Trustees Chairman, Chief Tony Anenih, on Wednesday bowed to pressure from key members of the party to resign.
Mu’azu, in a letter he tendered during the PDP National Working Committee meeting in Abuja however cited “health grounds ” as the reason for his resignation.
But Anenih, in a one-page letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, hinged his action on the current state of affairs in the party.
Mu’azu, a former governor of Bauchi State, had only last week dismissed calls for his resignation and warned that the PDP would be buried if he succumbed to the pressure.
“The only reason Mu’azu doesn’t want to resign is because if he does, those who want the PDP buried will succeed,” he had added.
Upon receipt of Muazu’s letter, the Deputy National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, took over as the acting national chairman of the party, pending a replacement from the North-East, where the party chairmanship is zoned to.
The National Secretary of the party, Adewale Oladipo, who read a statement on the development to journalists at the Wadata Plaza national headquarters of the party, stated that the status of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the PDP, Chief Tony Anenih, would be made known on Thursday (today) by the NWC.
Oladipo said, “The PDP at its NWC’s meeting on May 20, 2015 received and accepted the voluntary resignation of the National Chairman of our great party, Adamu Mu’azu.
“Consequently, in line with the provisions of section 45 (2) of the PDP constitution, the Deputy National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, acts in place of the national chairman pending a replacement from the North-East.
“On the correct position of the status of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the PDP, Chief Anenih, the NWC will make its position public on Thursday, May 21, 2015.”
He also announced the setting up of a seven-man disciplinary committee headed by Chief Michael Addul .
The members are Chief Mike Ogiadohme, Senator Teslim Folarin, Dr. Akilu Indabawa, Dr. Hassan Kafayas, Nonye Nwangwu and Tony Okeke as Secretary.
The committee, according to Oladipo, will be inaugurated on Tuesday next week.
The NWC called for calm and the understanding of all members and other critical stakeholders, including the media, “at this time of a reengineering process in our great party while directing any member with genuine grievance to channel such through the appropriate organs.”
Before Oladipo read his statement, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Olisa Metuh, had earlier confirmed the resignation of Mu’azu. He commended him for his service to the party and love for the nation.
Metuh said, “I can confirm that we have received the resignation of Alhaji Mu’azu. I can confirm that the chairman who had health challenges, stayed on for the campaigns; he stayed on for the elections and after consultations with his family decided to resign.
“I wish him well. The deputy national chairman has taken charge of the affairs of the party in line with the party’s constitution. The constitution does not recognise a vacuum.”
The PUNCH however learnt from a PDP governor that Mu’azu would have been kicked out of office at 12 noon on Wednesday if he had not resigned.
One of the governors, who was part of those that wanted him out , described Mu’azu as being smart with his resignation.
“He is a smart guy. That’s very good of him. The plan to remove him by 12pm today (Wednesday) was already concluded. There was a document that would have been submitted and it would have seen him out today(Wednesday). I commend him. He is very smart.”
The PUNCH had also learnt in Abuja that Anenih was under pressure to resign.
A few hours after Oladipo spoke, Anenih said in his letter titled “Notice of my decision to step down as Chairman, BOT of the PDP,” that his decision would enable the President to effectively assume the chairmanship of the BoT.
The letter reads, “Your Excellency will recall that in a conversation I had with you a few weeks ago, I had offered to step down from the office of the chairman of our party’s BOT and proposed to hand over to you as its new chairman in a ceremony that would have taken place on May 23, 2015.
“I had also repeated this position at our subsequent meetings.
“As a follow up to the above proposal and in view of the current state of affairs in our party, I have decided to formally put my offer in writing to enable you effectively assume the chairmanship of BOT or approve a process that will enable any other member of the board who is considered competent, to assume the position.
“I am happy to inform you that I remain a loyal foundation member of our great party and will continue to pray for the prosperity of Nigeria, our party, and for you and your family.”
Barely 10 minutes after Anenih’s letter became public, the party’s NWC announced that it had accepted his resignation.
Oladipo, in a statement noted Anenih’s “outstanding contributions” to the party over the years especially in his capacity as the BOT chairman.
He added, “As one of the founding fathers of the PDP, the NWC appreciates Chief Anenih’s guiding role in the party in the last 16 years and wishes him well in his future endeavours.
“Consequent upon his resignation, the Secretary of the BOT, Senator Walid Jibrin, holds forth pending the election of a new BoT chairman.”
Mu’azu has saved his integrity
Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, commended Mu’azu for resigning and prayed that the future would be kind to him.
Fayose was at the forefront of the calls for the removal of Mu’azu for leading the PDP to defeat during the general elections.
The governor, who spoke with some journalists in Abuja, said without taking such a step, the former chairman would have destroyed his integrity in the long run.
Fayose said, “I will commend him for bowing to people’s reasoning and for not going ahead to destroy his own integrity in the long run.
“He ought to have done this before now, notwithstanding I still commend him. I pray that the future will still be kind to him and all of us will join hand to make the PDP the good rallying point as opposition party for Nigeria.”
Apart from Fayose, Niger State Governor Babangida Aliyu and a former National Vice-Chairman of the PDP , Bode George, had called for the resignation of Mu’azu.
Like the Ekiti State governor, George, who is a member of the party’s BoT, described the decision of Mu’azu to resign as honourable.
He said, “By conceding defeat, President Jonathan saved the nation a lot of bloodshed. The national chairman too has followed suit.
“This has shown that the PDP has people who don’t want to perpetuate themselves in power. We thank him for what he has done for the party.”
Another member of the BoT, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, said the resignation of Mu’azu would begin the process of reorganisation of the party, adding that the country’s elitist cabal had been unfair to President Jonathan, whom he alleged was called several names.
Babatope said, “He (Mu’azu) has tried his best and it is good of him to resign. His resignation is going to begin the process of reorganisation of the party. We will present a formidable opposition to the APC. We will return in 2019.”
The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Musiliu Obanikoro, said the resignation of Mu’azu was a sacrifice that should be commended.
“The PDP is creating a political culture which is alien to this country and Nigerians in good time will appreciate and acknowledge this. Another giant stride has just been achieved by our great party,” the minister said.
Another leader of the party in Lagos State, Gloria Adebajo-Fraser, said Mu’azu’s resignation should be followed by the resignation of all the members of the NWC and the BoT.
“The President will now have to appoint a trusted hand as acting chairman in the next 24 hours so as not to have a vacuum. It must not be business as usual if the party must be salvaged,” she added.
Secondus, Dickson meet Jonathan
Shortly after taking over as the acting PDP National Chairman, Secondus met behind closed-doors with Jonathan at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, at about 5.15pm.
He walked into the President’s office alongside Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, acknowledging greetings from those congratulating him on his new position.
Secondus was believed to have visited Jonathan in order to brief him on the development and seek his support.
He was still inside the President’s office at the time of filing this report.
After the meeting, Dickson, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, hailed Muazu and Anenih’s resignations and urged support for Secondus.
He commended both men for putting the interest of the party and that of the nation above their personal interests and aspirations.
While wishing Mu’azu quick recovery, the governor said he looked forward to his return from abroad in sound health to support in the on-going effort to rebuild the PDP.
He thanked Anenih for his years of service to the party.
PDP orders Osun chapter to investigate Fani-Kayode
Meanwhile, the PDP has directed its Osun State chapter to investigate whether the spokesman for the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, Femi Fani-Kayode, was a member of the party in the state or a usurper.
The NWC said, “You are directed to investigate the membership status of Chief Fani-Kayode, if he is a registered and financial member, proper disciplinary action should be meted out to him through the Ward for engaging in acts contrary to Section 58 (1) of the party’s constitution and if not a member, you are to reprimand him as a usurper.”
But in a swift reaction, Fani-Kayode demanded the resignation of other NWC members.
He insisted that Mu’azu and other NWC members had no right to remain in office “after selling out the party and engaging in hideous and absurd form of leadership.”