Nathaniel Gbaoron, Abuja
A former Senate President, Iyorcha Ayu, has been elected the National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), as Taofeek Arapaja also emerged as the Deputy National Chairman (South). Dr. Ayu, who was the consensus candidate at the party national convention in Abuja, got 3,426 affirmative votes out of 3,511 accredited voters.
However, Mr. Arapaja secured a total of 2,004 votes to defeat his only rival, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, former Governor of Osun, who polled 705 votes, while invalid votes were165. Also, Umar Damagum scored a total of 2,222 votes to defeat his sole rival, Inna Ciroma, for the position of Deputy National Chairman (North). Mr Ciroma polled 365 votes.
The position of National Youth Leader was won by Mohammed Suleiman with 3,072 votes, while his co-contestant, Usman Elkudan, had 219 votes. Efforts to achieve consensus candidates for all 21 elective national offices of the party suffered a setback as agreement could not be reached for three offices.
The three offices were the Deputy National Chairman (South) and Deputy National Chairman (North), as well as the National Youth Leader of the party.
Those returned unopposed with uniform votes of 3,426 were Samuel Anyanwu as National Secretary; Ahmed Mohammed – National Treasurer; Umar Bature as National Organising Secretary and Daniel Woyegikuro as National Financial Secretary.
Others returned elected by the Returning Officer, Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa, were Stella Effah-Attoe as National Woman Leader; Kamaldeen Ajibade as National Legal Adviser; Debo Ologunagba as National Publicity Secretary and Okechukwu Daniel as National Auditor.
Also elected were Setonji Kosheodo as Deputy National Secretary; Ndubisi David as Deputy National Treasurer; Ibrahim Abdullahi as Deputy National Publicity Secretary and Ighoyota Amori as Deputy National Organising Secretary,
Adamu Kamale was elected the Deputy National Financial Secretary; Hajara Wanka as Deputy National Woman Leader; Timothy Osadolor as Deputy National Youth Leader, Okechukwu Osuoha as Deputy National Legal Adviser and Albdulraman Mohammed as Deputy National Auditor.
The new members of the National Working Committee are expected to assume offices after the tenure of the incumbent members expires on December 9.
In his appreciation remarks, Dr. Ayu said the PDP was back to take over Nigeria and develop it. The national chairman-elect said the PDP did it before and would do it again.
“I want to sincerely appreciate the PDP family. Today is simply a “thank you” address. When we started this party 23 years ago, we never in any way imagined that the journey would get us to this stage.
“A stage where we ruled for 16 years, we went through rough times, but for anybody who bothers to see, PDP is back. “I want to appreciate all of you who have taken time as delegates, as observers, as supporters, as members of the media as members of the security services who have made this event such a wonderful event.
“Many people imagine that this convention will lead to the breakup of PDP. Those people who are dreaming like that, their dreams were misplaced. “Those who have lost hope should know that Nigeria is not a divided country. A small group of people decided to divide Nigeria.
“PDP will come back to unite our people, put them together, north and south, east and west. “We will move ahead to develop this country. We did it before. We are going to do it again. I want to thank the governors,” Dr. Ayu said.