President Goodluck Jonathan strengthened his hold on the structure of the Peoples Democratic Party on Saturday as his candidate became the National Chairman of the party. The President’s hold was consolidated at the Eagle Square where the National Convention of the party took place as all other contestants withdrew from the race thus leaving Alhaji Bamaga Tukur as the sole candidate for the position of the National Chairman.
The programme that was scheduled to start at 10 am, did not commence until 11 as the convention committee announced the postponement by an hour.
The convention was declared open after the speech of the Acting National Chairman, Alhaji Abubakar Baraje. In his speech, Baraje pointed out that court cases within the PDP had reduced as a result of the internal democracy that has taken root in the party.
Insinuations that the convention was more of a script which had been planned to be acted out became obvious just before the elections as many candidates expressed their intentions to withdraw from the races for the various positions, most of them cited “advice from leaders” and “peace within the party” as factors that influenced their decision.
Instead of the normal voting, affirmation was used since he was unopposed and about 5,000 delegates took part in the “Yes” or “No” vote to affirm 76-year-old Alhaji Tukur as the new Chairman.
It was a similar situation that produced Olagunsoye Oyinlola, the immediate former Governor of Osun State as the National Secretary of the party. Oyinlola had entered the race on Friday and surprisingly, other candidates stepped down for him. The convention also saw Chief Olisa Metuh, former Deputy National Chairman South-East, being returned as National Publicity Secretary, as other aspirants withdrew from the race.
Abubakar Mustapha and Garba Chida were also returned unopposed as the National Organising Secretary and Youth Leader respectively. Umar Ibrahim emerged as the Deputy National Auditor while Dennis Arokpe became the Deputy National Youth Leader.
Speaking after his election, the new Chairman pledged to devote himself to the service and well being of Nigeria.