Members of the Peoples Democratic Party in South-West are currently in dilemma over the fear that the geopolitical zone can lose out in the race of who becomes the next national chairman of the PDP, The PUNCH has learnt.
Already, leaders of the party in the zone are said to be meeting on what strategy to use to convince members of the party from the South-South and the South-East to concede the position to the South-West.
A member of the Board of Trustees of the party in the zone, Chief Shuaib Oyedokun, said he and the leaders of the party had been thinking on how to woo their counterparts from the other two geopolitical zones, especially the South-South on how to leave the position for the South -West.
The national leadership of the party had at its last national convention, ceded the office of the national chairman to the South and zoned its 2019 presidential ticket to the North
Out of the three zones in the South, only the South-East has refused to present any candidate for the position.
A former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus and Dr. Raymond Dokpesi who are from the South-South, have shown interest in the race.
The South-West, however, have about six candidates, who have been campaigning for the position.
They are Chief Olabode George, Chief Gbenga Daniel, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, Mr. Jimi Agbaje and Senator Rashidi Ladoja.
Oyedokun, who chaired a meeting of the BoT in the zone where three aspirants were endorsed, told our correspondent in an interview that the party in the South-West would soon.meet again.
Those endorsed then were George, Adeniran and Adedoja.
But he said that the endorsement did not mean those left out had been disqualified from the race.
Oyedokun was at the meeting of the party’s national caucus in Abuja where he defended the action taken by the board in the zone.
Our correspondent gathered that majority of those disqualified from the race in the zone had told the board to allow all the aspirants test their popularity at the convention on December 9.
Oyedokun told our correspondent that the zone would fight for the office, adding that if this did not work, then it would have to officially adopt a single candidate for the position.
He said, “We will continue to fight for it. We will appeal to our leaders and members especially from the South to allow us field candidates from the South-West for the office.
“But if they don’t agree, then we will meet and decide on an official single candidate for the position from the zone.”
Our correspondent gathered that Secondus, who recently declared his intention to run for the office, remains the headache of some members of the party from the South-West.
Apart from being described to be a popular candidate, his zone alone has five states out of the 11 states being controlled by the party.
“That means that he already has delegates from these states and may also have majority of the delegates from the South-East,” a member of national caucus of the party said.
Meanwhile, the National Caretaker Chairman of the party, Ahmed Markafi, has disclosed that aspirants with pending cases in court would not be disqualified from contesting the national chairmanship position.
Markafi said this while fielding questions from journalists on Saturday night in Kaduna when Daniel alongside his campaign team paid him a courtesy visit.
Hew said, “If you play that game (disqualification of candidates based on pending EFCC case), that will be playing into the hands of the government in such a way that every one of us can be charged to court so that the PDP will have no candidate.
“Except you are convicted by a court of law, nothing can stop you from contesting even the general election let alone party poll. So, we shouldn’t play into the hands of those we want to unseat.”
Speaking on the disqualification of some candidates by a section of the Board of Trustees in the South-West, Markafi said, “The decision of the party is to be heard from the National Caretaker Committee and we didn’t say so and I can affirm that nobody was delegated to say so.”
“Let me remind you that at our caucus meeting we had on Wednesday in Abuja, the BOT chairman categorically scolded those that did that and he said they acted without directive and the action was unconstitutional as far as the BOT was concerned.” Punch