Dr. Alex Ekwueme
He was the protem chairman of the PDP when the party was formed in 1998. He administered the affairs of the PDP for only three months before he stepped down to pursue a presidential ambition. Credible sources within the PDP told Daily Trust on Sunday that Ekwueme, a former vice president, has been playing advisory role on how the vision and mission of the founding fathers would remain operational.
He was one of the key stakeholders who the Prof. Jerry Gana-led Strategy Review and Inter-Party Affairs Committee presented its report to at the end of its job early this year.
Chief Solomon Lar
Lar was the first civilian Governor of Plateau State. He was a prominent member of the PDP foundation group, popularly called G34, led by Ekwueme. When the group transformed into a political party and adopted PDP as its name, he became its first substantive national chairman. He quit the office after enduring a prickly relationship with the then President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Lar became a member of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) in 2004. He died in October, 2013. Then President, Goodluck Jonathan, in a condolence message, said, “Lar brought exemplary humility, great vision, wisdom and maturity to political leadership in Nigeria for over 50 years as a legislator, executive governor, party leader and highly revered elder statesman.”
Chief Barnabas Gemade
Barnabas Gemade took over from Lar in 1999. He later threw in the towel when he was no longer in the good books of then President, Olusegun Obasanjo. He completed his first tenure of two years and was said to be gunning for another term when his bid was scuttled. He vacated the seat at the party’s 2001 national convention.
Gemade later jumped ship to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and is currently the senator representing Benue North East Senatorial District on that platform.
Chief Audu Ogbeh
Ogbeh took over the mantle of PDP leadership in 2001 when Gemade vacated the office. Preparatory to his emergence, the PDP amended its constitution to allow for a four-year term for the position of chairman. Ogbeh was said to have enjoyed the office, but towards the end of his tenure, he allegedly endured a frosty relationship with Obasanjo because of his comments on the excesses of government. In the last quarter of 2004, the rift deepened in such a manner that Ogbeh could not withstand the heat. Consequently, he resigned in January, 2005. He later dumped the PDP for the APC and is currently the Minister of Agriculture.
Dr. Ahmadu Ali
Ali, an ex-military officer, former education minister and senator, replaced Ogbeh in acting capacity until March 2, 2005, when he was elected as the substantive national chairman of the party. He played key roles in the election victories of ex-presidents, Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’adua and Goodluck Jonathan. His previous role led to his emergence as the Director General of the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation in the 2015 general elections.
Being a former PDP chief, Ali is said to be playing a critical role in the re-building process of the party, especially with the recent Supreme Court judgement which has injected life into it.
Ali was sighted by our correspondent at the recent National Executive Committee (NEC) and the Board of Trustees (BoT) meetings prior to the August 12, 2017 non-elective convention of the party.
His tenure as PDP boss ended in 2008 when the party’s chairmanship was zoned to the South East.
Prince Vincent Ogbulafor
Ogbulafor came in in 2008 and was kicked out of office in 2010 after the death of the then President, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’adua. Ogbulafor was thrown out not long after he made a statement that in 2011, the presidential ticket would return to the North after the death of Yar’adua. The statement was allegedly considered an abomination by then President, Goodluck Jonathan, and those close to him. Consequently, the zoning arrangement was jettisoned and manipulated in favour of Jonathan who ultimately won the presidential election.
Sources close to Ogbulafor confirmed that he is still an active participant in the repositioning process of the PDP. He has been part of PDP meetings in recent times.
Dr. Ekwesilieze Nwodo
Nwodo, a former Governor of Enugu State, took over in 2010 as PDP boss and was removed shortly after the presidential primary that produced Jonathan. Nwodo met resistance when he purportedly started initiating policies that would halt state governors from funding and hijacking the party.
He also had a rift with the then Governor of his state, Sullivan Chime, over who took charge of the party structure in the state. The intrigues that followed led to his unceremonious ouster.
However, Nwodo has remained a card-carrying member of the party and was also sighted at the various meetings in the build up to the PDP non-elective convention of August 12.
Dr. Haliru Bello Mohammed
Following Nwodo’s exit, Mohammed took over in 2011 in acting capacity following the resolution of the 56th National Executive Committee (NEC). He was in charge until he was appointed Minister of Defence in July, same year. Mohammed later became the acting chairman of the PDP BoT. However, the ex-minister maintained an extremely low profile during the recent leadership crisis that tore the party to shreds and nearly nailed its coffin.
However, since the pronouncement of the Supreme Court which nipped in the bud a 14-month crisis, Mohammed has been appearing at public events of the party signalling that the PDP remained in his good books.
He is expected to play a key role in 2019 like he did in the past. For instance, Mohammed supported a change to the PDP zoning in favour of Jonathan to run in 2011, instead of a northern candidate. When Jonathan became president, he (Jonathan) was alleged to have rewarded him with the post of Minister of Defence, a post he held between 2011 and 2012.
Alhaji Kawu Baraje
Baraje took over from Mohammed in 2011, also in acting capacity, until the election of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur at the March 2012 convention of the party. However, Baraje later became leader of the New PDP (nPDP) which emerged following intense crisis in the party. He later dumped the PDP and pitched tent with the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Alhaji Bamanga Tukur
Tukur announced his retirement from partisan politics in September, 2015, after the PDP lost power at the centre. One of the dramatic and historic events that characterised his tenure as PDP national chairman was the deep crisis that led to the defection of five PDP governors to the then opposition APC. The then governors, Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (Kano) and Ahmed Abdulfattah (Kwara), all jumped ship. Tukur was forced to resign in January, 2014, following pressure from party stakeholders. But despite his retirement from partisan politics, Tukur was still playing advisory role at the height of the recent crisis that ravaged the PDP.
An ex-aide to Tukur told our correspondent in a telephone interview that, “It is difficult for a politician of that pedigree to detach himself completely from politics.”
On December 19, 2016, a factional national chairman of the PDP, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, consulted Tukur in his Abuja residence. Tukur, however, played around and declined to tell newsmen the details of the meeting. He only assured that the PDP would survive despite the crisis bedevilling it then. On July 12, 2017, the Supreme Court ended the crisis.
Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu
Mu’azu assumed office as PDP national chairman in January, 2014, and resigned on May 20, 2015, after leading the party to a humiliating defeat in the 2015 general elections. PDP governors and other stakeholders mounted pressure on Mu’azu who was left with no option than to throw in the towel. Since then, Mu’azu, a former Governor of Bauchi State, left the shores of this country. He maintained sealed lips on both political and other fronts until recently when he was alleged to have owned a controversial Ikoyi house; an allegation he dispelled in a statement. He did not make any public appearance in 14 months. A source close to him simply said, “He will take a particular line of action at the appropriate time.”
Prince Uche Secondus
Secondus, who was the deputy national chairman of the PDP, took over the party’s leadership in acting capacity following Mu’azu’s resignation in May, 2015. He was supposed to run the party for only three months for a substantive chairman to emerge, but rather adopted a sit-tight style of leadership and refused to leave office until he was ousted by an Abuja High Court which ruled that his tenure had elapsed. This followed a suit against him by Jonathan’s ex-aide on political affairs, Barr. Ahmed Gulak.
Despite the development, Secondus has remained active in the party and has been making public appearances and statements from the time the PDP was in crisis to date.
Senator Ali Modu Sheriff
Senator Sheriff’s emergence was greeted with serious bashing and crisis within the rank and file of the PDP, considering that his name was not among the nominees sent by the North East caucus to the party’s national leadership. He was appointed in February, 2016, to complete Mu’azu’s tenure. He too was expected to serve for only three months but chose to stay put; a development that plunged the party into more turbulence.
However, since the judgement of the Supreme Court which sacked him and recognised the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led national caretaker committee, Sheriff has remained undecided as to announcing his loyalty to the party or exit from it. He left the country at the time but some of his allies have been criticising the decisions of the party. They have also not stated whether they had taken the exit route.
One of the people who worked under him told Daily Trust on Sunday in a telephone interview that “he is coming back” but declined to clarify whether he was coming back as a party member or not.
As former national chairman, Sheriff, however, has the privilege of being a NEC and BoT member and can attend national caucus meetings of the PDP. However, he was conspicuously absent at all the meetings in the build up to the party’s non-elective convention recently and has remained detached from the party.
Senator Ibrahim Mantu and Prof Tunde Adeniran
At the heat of the crisis, a former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, and Prof. Tunde Adeniran emerged as co-chairmen of the party at a national convention in Abuja on May 21, 2016, same day the Port Harcourt convention was held. However, the co-chairmen later declared support for the Makarfi-led caretaker committee.
The two prominent politicians have been making appearances at the party’s events and working together with the Makarfi committee in order for the PDP to reclaim power in 2019.