Nigerian party picks new leader

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BAK

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Joined Feb 11, 2007
80,439 117,236 280
Nigerian party picks new leader
BBC News Online

Some delegates say the former president holds too much sway
The governing People's Democratic Party (PDP) in Nigeria has elected Vincent Ogbulafor as its new leader at a convention in the capital, Abuja.
Mr Ogbulafor is the party's former general secretary and is considered a compromise candidate, able to unite different factions of the party.

His election is seen as a setback for ex-leader Olusegun Obasanjo who was backing his own candidate.

The PDP won heavily in disputed 2007 polls and dominates national politics.

It won a large majority in last year's elections for the presidency, the legislature and state governors.

President Umaru Yar'Adua was chosen by Mr Obasanjo to stand as his successor.

He had stayed neutral on the issue of who would become party chairman.

Saturday's meeting was seen as a test of the influence of Mr Obasanjo, who retains a powerful position within the PDP structure.

Before leaving office, Mr Obasanjo became head of the PDP Board of Trustees - a virtually permanent position. He also ensured allies took other leadership posts.

'Incongruous'

Mr Obasanjo openly backed one of his allies, Sam Egwu, to become party chairman.

But some groups within the PDP campaigned against his choice and said they wanted to reduce the former president's influence within the party.

"It is incongruous," said Ken Nnamani, a member of the PDP National Executive Council.

"As an elder statesman, he should be advising government in private. He should not hold a partisan position."

Nigerian politics has never really been about ideology but more about personal power and patronage so there was likely a lot of back-room dealing before the result was announced, says the BBC's Alex Last in Lagos.
 

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