by AYO ESAN

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, slide into controversy continued last week with two principal officers of the party, Alhaji Adamu Muaz’u and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, BoT, Chief Tony Anenih, throwing in the towel the same day.Anenih

Following from the bickering that have trailed the party’s defeat in the March 28 presidential election by the main opposition party in the country, the All Progressives Congress, APC, the former chairman, Alhaji Adamu Muaz’u and the chairman of Board of Trustees, BoT, Chief Tony Anenih have quit in controversial circumstances.

Anenih resigned citing the current state of affairs in the party as his main reason but was to later add that his leaving last Wednesday was to allow President Goodluck Jonathan take over the position. Anenih, who was the PDP BoT chairman before former President Olusegun Obasanjo took over, it would be recalled, was reappointed when Obasanjo resigned in April 2012.

The former president said he resigned to have more time to develop his Presidential Library and to mobilise and encourage investments in Nigeria and Africa. Obasanjo however left the PDP in February this year when he publicly tore his party membership card.

In Anenih’s one page resignation letter dated May 20, 2015 and addressed to President Jonathan, who is now the leader of the party, the Edo State-born ex-police officer said he decided to quit his position in order to enable President Jonathan to effectively assume the chairmanship of the BoT.

The letter entitled, ‘Notice of my decision to step down as chairman, Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party’

Read, “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 Board of Trustees and proposed to hand over to you as its new Chairman in a ceremony that would have taken place on the 23rd of May, 2015. I had also repeated this position in 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 Board of Trustees or approve a process that will enable any other member of the BoT who is considered competent, to assume the position.

“Kindly accept therefore, this letter as notice of my decision to step down from the position of chairman of the BoT of our party with effect from today, the 20th of May, 2015. 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. Your Excellency, kindly accept the expression of my highest regards.”

The party chairman, Adamu Mu’azu, also resigned amid considerable controversy on Wednesday as the ruling party success nosedived into the low valley of history after 16 years of its existence.

The PDP which has been ruling the country ever since sank into crisis immediately it lost the presidential election of March 28 and its subsequent loss of most of the states hitherto under its control to the APC, leading to many of its chieftains defecting to the party.

Top members of the party including the former Deputy National Chairman, Chief Olabode George, and the Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Peter Ayodele Fayose, have been calling on the National Working Committee, NWC, members to resign their positions for leading the party to its most disastrous outing in the last election.

This has also led to counter accusation as the NWC members also said that the party failed in the election because of the hate campaigns embarked upon by Fayose and the PDP Campaign Organisation. As Chief Anenih said in his resignation letter, President Jonathan may succeed him as the BoT chairman.

However, Obasanjo had on the eve of his exit from office, caused the PDP Constitution to be amended to reserve the chairmanship of the party BoT for past presidents, although this was altered during the 2012 Convention to throw open the position for others.

Anthony Akhakon Anenih was born in Uzenema Arue in Uromi on August 4, 1933. In 1951, he joined the Nigeria Police Force in Benin City. He was Bendel State Chairman of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) between 1981 and 1983, helping Dr. Samuel Osaigbovo Ogbemudia become elected as civilian Governor of the state. However, the governorship was cut short by the military takeover of December 1983. He was National Chairman of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, from 1992 to 1993, when he played a pivotal role in the election of the business magnate, Chief M.K.O. Abiola as president. He was a member of the Constitutional Conference in 1994. He was also a member of the People’s Democratic Movement, PDM, until April 2002, when he transferred to the PDP.

Anenih known as ‘Mr. Fixes-It’ was said to have masterminded the April 26, 2002 declaration of President Obasanjo at the International Conference Centre Abuja. He was deputy national coordinator os in the 1999 and 2003 elections. He was appointed Minister of Works and Housing in 1999 and subsequently became Chairman of BOT of the PDP.

His wife, Josephine, a lawyer, was the chairperson of the Federation of Women Lawyers from 1994 to 2000, and was the first National Woman Leader of the PDP from 1999-2005. She was appointed minister of Women Affairs on April 6, 2010.

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