Ali Modu Sheriff, chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has received green light to continue in his position beyond the three months initially suggested, as the position has been zoned to the northeast ahead of next month’s convention.
The party also zoned the position of national publicity secretary, to be vacated by Olisa Metuh, to the southwest.
On Thursday, the national executive committee (NEC) of the party received a report containing the proposed zoning arrangements – ahead of its convention on May 21 – from Emmanuel Udom, governor of Akwa Ibom state, who chaired the zoning committee.
According to a communiqué issued after the NEC meeting in Abuja, the northeast will retain the position of national chairman while the south-south will retain that of the deputy national chairman.
The position of national secretary has been zoned to the southwest and that of the national legal adviser to northwest.
Also, the office of national treasurer has been zoned to the south-south, that of the national financial secretary to the north-central, and that of the national auditor to the southwest.
In addition, the northwest takes the position of national woman leader while the southeast takes the slot of national youth leader.
The new executive of the party will emerge at its convention on May 21.
Sheriff emerged acting national chairman of the party in February after a rocky chairmanship tussle.
There was rancour after Adamu Mu’azu, its former national chairman, resigned in May 2015, following the party’s woeful showing at 2015 general election.
His deputy, Uche Secondus, from Rivers state, took control of the leadership, but his intervention angered some members, who maintained that the position should be reserved for the northeast since Mu’azu, who a Bauchi state native, did not complete his term.
Ahmed Gulak, former senior special assistant on political matters to former President Goodluck Jonathan, sued the party leadership, got a favourable judgment and “invaded” the PDP headquarters in Abuja to forcefully take over.
This prompted an emergency meeting of PDP governors, who condemned Gulak’s action but asked Secondus to step down in compliance with the court order that gave him a 14-day ultimatum to do so.
But following agitations that greeted Sheriff’s emergence, Olusegun Mimiko, Ondo state governor and chairman of PDP governors forum, said the ex-governor would only be chairman for three months.
“As you can see, we are just from a meeting. You are all aware of some controversy generated recently because of recent developments in our party,” he said.
“I am happy to let you know that all the major organs in the party: the Governors Forum, National Working Committee, National Assembly Caucus and the Board of Trustees have agreed to stand by our National Chairman to ensure that our party moves forward.
“We have put behind us all the controversies in the press in recent times. I want to assure you that we are together as a party.
“We have also mandated the national chairman and the National Working Committee to put in motion immediately the processes of ensuring that within three months, a National Convention of our party is called.
“And we will brief all our members nationwide within the next two weeks of the timetable in that direction. In the next two weeks, the timetable will be out, all culminating in our national convention within three months.”
Former PDP ministers have continued to reject Sheriff as national chairman, saying he is unfit to hold the position.