Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders are mounting pressure on South-South governors of the party and other stakeholders to concede the national chairmanship slot of the party to the Southwest ahead of the December convention.
The party has already agreed to pick its next chairman from the south and its 2019 presidential candidate from the north.
The South-South leaders of the party are believed to be rooting for Prince Uche Secondus to occupy the post.
Secondus was, until recently, a deputy national chairman of the party.
The Southwest has no fewer than five aspirants vying for the post.
They are a former deputy national chairman, Chief Bode George, ex-Governor of Ogun State Gbenga Daniel, ex-Minister of Education, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, ex-Minister of Sports, Prof. Taoheed Adedoja and ex-governorship candidate of the party in Lagos State, Mr. Jimi Agbaje.
It was gathered that some leaders of the party from the South have reneged on the under-the-table agreement to concede the position to the Southwest.
But some respected leaders of the party fear that development is capable of alienating the geo-political zone and have stepped in, pleading for the Southwest to have the position.
They want to avoid a repeat of the loss of votes in the zone by PDP in 2019.
However, party sources said the aspirants from the Southwest are not helping matters with none of them willing to step down for the other.
It was gathered that some stakeholders were even contemplating bringing in ex-Governor Rashidi Ladoja to join the race.
Ladoja recently rejoined the PDP from the Accord Party.
A top party source said: “The party is still trying to resolve the intrigues surrounding the choice of a new National Chairman. The race is between the Southwest and the Southsouth.
“Ordinarily, if the contest is left to the Southwest and the Southsouth, the latter will produce the next chairman.
“If you look at the composition of delegates, the Southsouth with many PDP Governors will have more delegates with enough number to defeat any candidate from the Southwest.
“The Southsouth has already zeroed in on Prince Uche Secondus as its candidate for the chairmanship.
“The Southsouth is seeking the office of the national chairman in case of a probable working alliance or coalition with the Southwest for the presidential elections.”
Another source said all the aspirants from the Southwest are in dire straits because their chances are very slim with fewer delegates from their zone.
“Unless the Southsouth is being magnanimous, all the aspirants from the Southwest, namely Bode George, Gbenga Daniel, Tunde Adeniran, Taoheed Adedoja, are walking a tight rope. The bulk of the votes at the convention will come from the Southsouth and the Southeast.
“But some respected leaders of the party are now begging the Southsouth and Southeast governors to concede the slot to the Southwest to avoid a repeat of the PDP’s defeat in the Southwest in 2019.
“There is no sign yet that the governors and leaders from the Southsouth and the Southeast have agreed on giving the slot to the Southwest.
“This is why some leaders have been prevailing on ex-President Goodluck Jonathan and other stakeholders to beg these governors.
“Some of these governors however described all the aspirants from the Southwest as lighter weight who cannot win significant votes for PDP in 2019.
“They said PDP cannot secure Southwest votes without an alliance or a coalition.”
Party sources said the refusal of the aspirants from the Southwest to step down for each other has compounded the logjam.
It was learnt that some of the aspirants were invited to a meeting by members of the Concerned PDP Forum on how to “agree on a candidate for the Southwest” but they refused to step down.
“Already, some of our leaders are pushing for the choice of ex-Governor Rashidi Ladoja in order to break the tie among the previous aspirants. It is unclear if Ladoja will accept the offer or not.”
“If these aspirants do not agree, the North might also swing its votes for a Southsouth candidate.”
Culled from The Nation.