PDP chairmanship: S/West stakeholders convene in Ibadan over consensus candidate.

PDP chairmanship: S/West stakeholders convene in Ibadan over consensus candidate.

CORE stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South-West have summoned a meeting for Ibadan, Oyo State, on Thursday on the possibility of a consensus candidate from the zone as the PDP national chairman.

The major contenders for the position, which has been zoned to the South-West by the party, are a former deputy national chairman, Chief Olabode George; former Minister of Education, Professor Tunde Adeniran; former Minister of Sports and Special Duties, Professor Taoeed Adedoja; immediate past governor of Ogun State, Chief Gbenga Daniel, and the 2015 PDP Lagos governorship candidate, Mr Jimi Agbaje.

The meeting is coming amid a seeming cold war within the ranks of some major stakeholders in the South-West PDP, because of alleged pressure on some aspirants to step down towards producing a sole candidate to avoid a divided house, ahead the PDP national convention of the party in December this year.

Already, a couple of the aspirants such as Professor Adeniran and Professor Adedoja have declared their individual intention to contest for the post, which has never been held by the South-West since the party was formed in 1998.

Though the PDP has conceded its presidential ticket to the North, the governor of Ekiti State, Mr Ayodele Fayose last Thursday, officially threw his hat into the ring in Abuja.

Top-level party sources told Sunday Tribune that the stakeholders expected at the crucial meeting included members of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the PDP and NEC; party elders; former and serving members of the National Assembly, as well as former governors and zonal and state officials of the PDP.

Justifying his renewed ambition to lead the party, Chief George, who had also served as the national vice chairman, said he possessed the wealth of experience and pedigree to restore the winning streak of the once ruling party.

A former Transport Minister, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, who is leading the campaign of George, also believed his candidate was the “best man” that could return the PDP “to a new and glorious beginning,” describing calls for him to step down as “improper.”

On his part, Professor Adedoja said he was poised to bring about a reign of sanity, justice and eq­uity that would encourage aggrieved members to sink their differences in the overall interest of the country.

Professor Adeniran, who is a founding member of the PDP, also promised to use his wealth of experience of serving the party and the country meritoriously over the years, to reposition the PDP.

“Zoning has gone extremely well. I have paid my dues in this party and I should not be afraid of anybody. Since 1999, I never left the party to anywhere. I met crisis, I have been able to resolve that. I have risen meritoriously from Vice Chairman (South West) to Deputy Chairman (South) and Deputy Chairman overall. I have been able to resolve problems.

“If people vote for me, I look forward to stabilizing the party and putting it in right position. The ruling party should get ready for serious engagement because we have started a cohesive battle ahead of 2019. So this job requires commitment and determination; it requires justice and fairness. They know me, they know me for that in the secretariat here. Trying to come back it is like looking back, we are lucky we got a bloody nose not a technical knockout; we will rise again.

“Everybody will have to come on board even those of our friends who were angry and left for APC, they are tenants there because they were landlords in PDP. If we are lucky and we get the right leadership who is fair and just and committed in the party, they will come back,” he stated.

A former Transport minister, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, who is leading the campaign of George also believed his candidate was the “best man” that could return the PDP “to a new and glorious beginning, “ describing calls for him to step down as “improper.”

According to Babatope, “What the party needs at this point in time is someone with maturity, experience and passion to reposition the party and return it to winning ways. I can tell you that Chief Bode George is an embodiment of all that. He is experienced, tested and trusted. He is a stickler to the philosophies of the party and he will deliver.”

On his part, Professor Adedoja said he was poised to bring about a reign of sanity, justice and eq­uity that would encourage aggrieved members to sink their differences in the overall interest of the country.

“If truly our party is desirous to win the 2019 presi­dential election, the South West has eminent and qualified per­sons to lead our party as chair­man of the party. I am one of them; I am the bridge builder, the unifying factor that will rebuild the confidence of the founding fathers of our party.

“The party needs a chairman who has never been a factional leader either at the local or na­tional level; a chairman who will be acceptable to all parts of the country; a chairman who has the capacity to reach out to all mem­bers of the party across the coun­try,” he said.

Professor Adeniran, who is a founding member of the PDP, also promised to use his wealth of experience of serving the party and the country meritoriously over the years to reposition the PDP.

You do appreciate the great need of the party for the wealth of experience and the dedication that I represent. We will work together and leave a legacy of honour, excellent party administration and good governance”, he said.

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