By Ibidapo Balogun
Former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party and ex-Works Minister, Chief Tony Anenih, is President Jonathan’s Man Friday.
When he decided to step down as BoT Chair last week after intense pressures had forced the party’s National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, to resign, Anenih had persuaded the president to take over as BoT chair.
In the PDP constitution prepared then under President Olusegun Obasanjo, the BoT chairmanship had been reserved for a former president or a former chairman of the party who are still members of the party.
Former president Obasanjo was obviously trying an opportunity for himself to be relevant, which was why the amendment was made to give the BoT job to a former president who is still a member of the party.
Though an advisory body, the BoT is the custodian of the party’s conscience.
So with that arrangement, President Obasanjo stepped in as BoT chairman, displacing Anenih in the process, shortly after late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua took over the rein of leadership from him (Obasanjo).
So President Jonathan is eminently qualified for the job.
According to sources, Anenih had advised Jonathan to step in as BoT chair to give him a platform to remain relevant within the PDP and to fight back in the face of any attack by the ruling party.
The former BoT chair reportedly told Jonathan thus: “You need the BoT chairmanship to offer you a shield and a platform to fight back. The All Progressives Congress’ top echelon would reach for your jugular as soon as you step down as president. You need a platform to launch a defence and fight back.”
In his resignation letter, Anenih, who thought he had successfully persuaded Jonathan to step in, said among other things that he resigned in order for the president to assume the office.
President Jonathan, however, declined the offer, arguing that he wanted to rest for at least one year after leaving office on May 29.
Sources close to the president explained that given the brickbats associated with politics and the way some of his close associates had denied him and even stabbed him on the back even before he left the stage, the president wanted to give politics a wide berth at least for some time in order to catch his breath.
“The president has been shocked by the behaviours of some of the PDP chieftains and particularly some of his associates who wined and dined with me but abandoned him and started running him and his regime down even when he had not left the stage,” said one of the sources.
Following the president’s failure to take the job, the PDP on Monday appointed former Minister of Defence, Alhaji Haliru Bello Mohammed as acting Chairman of the party’s BoT.
Bello, former Director of Customs, was acting Chairman of the party who piloted Jonathan’s election as PDP presidential candidate and later president in 2011.