The agitation by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South-west to clinch the chairmanship position may be threatened by infighting within the geo-political zone.
Some party chieftains lobbied the party to cede the chairmanship position to the South-west Zone, but the party’s caretaker committee, chaired by Senator Ahmed Makarfi, on Tuesday, zoned the position to the South which comprises the South-west, South-south and South-east geo-political zones.
Politicians pushing for the position to be zoned to the South-west argue that the zone has never produced PDP chairman since the inception of the party in 1998.
However, infighting within the PDP in the South-west, might, again, rob the zone of the position as the party is currently factionalised in many states that make up the zone. The infighting, it was gathered, is standing in the way of the zone to present a candidate who will fly its flag.
At least, six candidates from the zone have indicated their interest in becoming the PDP chairman. They include a founding member and the former deputy national chairman of the party, Chief Bode George, a former minister of sports and youth development, Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, a former minister of education, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, and a former governor of Ogun State, Mr Gbenga Daniel.
At the time of filing this report, it was learnt that the South-west stakeholders may have thrown the position open for interested aspirants, following their inability to agree on a consensus candidate. The implication of this development, according to sources, is that a state in the South-west can produce two or more aspirants for different positions. A party stakeholder, who spoke with our correspondent, yesterday, said: “What is happening now is that the race has been thrown open. Lagos can buy forms for the position of organising secretary in addition to the chairmanship which two people, including Senator Bode George has shown interest. Ordinarily, we had expected that there will be internal zoning within the zone so that the six states (Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ekiti and Ondo) can be allocated positions.”
The positions zoned to the South include that of national chairman, deputy national chairman 1, national treasurer, national legal adviser, national youth leader and national organising secretary. Offices of deputy national publicity secretary, deputy national woman leader, deputy national auditor and deputy national financial secretary, were also zoned to the South.
The result of the internal wrangling within the South-west was seen in the inability of stakeholders to reach an agreement during a meeting convened, last week, by the trio of governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State, Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State and Senator Buruji Kashamu, representing Ogun East Senatorial District. It was learnt that stakeholders failed to agree on how to share delegates’ among the warring factions, especially in Lagos, Oyo and Osun states.
A former minister of works, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe said yesterday, that competence and contact would now determine who wins the coveted position in the zone.
“There is no agitation anymore,” he said. “It is individual competence now that would determine who will take it. If you are an aspirant, go round the country and present yourself because you will not serve your zone alone. You will serve the party and anybody who wants to serve the party must be known throughout the nation. There is no restriction. Everybody will assess you. Who are you? What have you been doing? You have to visit all the states to campaign. It is as if you are competing for presidency.”
Speaking, Moshood Salvador, the Lagos PDP chairman, however, said that there is no more division anywhere in the zone. Salvador expressed his optimism that the South-west would get the topmost position.
He said: “South-west has never produce chairman of PDP since its inception. So, that increases the chance of South-west having it. There is nothing bad in the zonal committee doing their work and saying that they zone it to the South. It is now left to the zonal officers to look into how to sub-zone to the appropriate zone and state.”