Ex-governor to take over Nigeria ruling party in stability move

ABUJA Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:00am EST

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ABUJA Jan 20 (Reuters) - Nigeria's People's Democratic Party (PDP) appointed a former state governor as its new chairman on Monday as President Goodluck Jonathan looks to stabilise his ruling party after months of infighting.

Africa's second largest economy and top oil producer is growing as an investment destination and political instability is a concern for both direct and portfolio investors.

The former governor of Bauchi state Adamu Mu'azu takes over the PDP chairmanship after Bamanga Tukur, a Jonathan ally, resigned last week under a wave of pressure from party members and after mass defections to the opposition.

Jonathan is facing a crisis within his party centred around his assumed intention to run for another term in the 2015 election. Five governors and several lawmakers have defected to a recently formed coalition opposition.

The removal of Tukur, seen by many as a divisive figure, was one of the demands of Jonathan's opponents inside the PDP.

The party chairman has a strong influence over members who choose the presidential candidate and Mu'azu is also viewed as an ally of Jonathan's, political sources said.

"Today Alhaji Ahmadu Adamu Mu'azu is now appointed as chairman of our party," said Uche Secondus, the deputy chairman of PDP, after a unanimous vote by party leaders.

Mu'azu will remain chairman until the PDP convention, which is expected to take place within 2-3 months. Party members will then elect a long-term chairman, which could be Mu'azu. (Reporting by Camillus Eboh; Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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