Makinde backs ex-gov Oyinlola
From Ismail Mudashir, Muideen Olaniyi (Abuja), Abdullateef Aliyu (Lagos) & Jeremiah Oke (Ibadan)
Ahead of the October 30, 2021 national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), top shots of the party in the South West geopolitical zone are demanding the national chairmanship position.
The national caucus of the party had slated October 30 – 31, 2021 for the party’s national convention which will birth a new National Working Committee (NWC).
The 94th National Executive Committee (NEC) had last Thursday named Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State as chairman of the party’s convention committee. It also named Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State as the party’s zoning committee chairman.
Daily Trust had exclusively reported that the party will pick its presidential candidate for the 2023 elections from the northern part of the country and zone its chairmanship position to the South.
Chieftains of the party in the South West said to be eying the chairmanship position include a former military governor of Ondo State, Chief Olabode George; former PDP candidate for Ondo State governorship, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede; former governor of Osun State, Ọlagunsoye Oyinlọla and a former governorship candidate of the party in Lagos, Mr Jimi Agbaje.
There are indications that a former governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, may also join the race.
This, it was learnt, could further re-ignite the crisis in the party before the conduct of the zonal congress in which Ambassador Taofiq Arapaja, a candidate supported by Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, emerged as zonal chairman.
Party sources said leaders of PDP in the six states of the South West geopolitical zone are all out to grab the chairmanship position. The zoning committee is expected to commence sitting today.
One of the sources said the chairmanship should be specifically zoned to the South West to compensate them for the 2017 situation when they were denied the slot after the post had been zoned to it.
Dr. Layi Ogunbambi, a PDP chieftain and member of the elders’ forum in Lagos, said in the interest of equity, fair play and justice, the South West should produce the next chairman.
According to him, the emergence of Chief Uche Secondus as the party chairman should not have happened in the first place. He said it was an injustice to the South West.
The retired Federal Permanent Secretary and former member of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) said there are at least four candidates in the South West that can become national chairman of the party.
Also speaking with our correspondent, a former chairman of PDP in Lagos State, Capt. Tunji Shele said, “The party is trying to manage the crisis now. A similar thing is happening in APC. One party is watching what the other party would do.”
He, however, said the situation is dicey, adding that PDP should try and put its house in order before the convention.
A former South West Chairman of the PDP, Dayo Ogungbenro, told one of our correspondents that Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde is strongly behind former governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola.
Ogungbenro, who spoke with Daily Trust in Ibadan on Wednesday, said Makinde and other leaders who are supporting Oyinlola are only preparing for any eventuality.
A factional leader of the party in the state, Alhaji Abdlerasheed Adebisi Olopoeniyan, in his reaction said all the party members must wait for the decision of the party on zoning.
The “zoning committee is in place already. It is to determine where to zone the chairmanship of our party. We have to wait for them to decide. So, if anyone is saying anything about having chairmanship permutations, it is left for such person.”
The Chief Press Secretary to Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, said he has no official statement on the story, adding that he didn’t know where the story emanated from.
When contacted, PDP National Publicity Secretary Kola Ologbondiyan said he could not make any comment on the matter since the zoning committee had not submitted its report.