Former governors and Southwest Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, leaders yesterday rejected the Enugu plan to choose a national chairman.
The Enugu decision by leaders of the PDP left the contest open to all candidates from the South instead of micro-zoning the position to the Southwest, a zone yet to produce the chairman since the formation of PDP in 1998.
According to them, “These PDP governors are trying to underrate the Southwest. And we were surprised that Governor Ayo Fayose is playing an integral role in the plot to deny his own people the office of the national chairman.
“It is apparent that Fayose does not want a party leader who will be greater than him from the Southwest. He is enjoying the monopoly of being the only PDP governor in the zone,” they added.
The ex-governors insisted that the Southwest should get the slot automatically.
They said some of them might leave the party if the governors won’t allow the Southwest to produce the chairman at the December 9 convention.
It was learnt that the ex-governors met on Tuesday night till the wee hours of Wednesday at the home of one of their colleagues at Gnassingbe Eyadema Street in Abuja.
At the session, they faulted the “open race” clause in the peace accord and warned that the isolation of the Southwest could affect PDP’s chances in the 2019 presidential race.
The ex-governors are to meet all PDP governors and leaders to have a rethink before the December 9 National Convention.
A former governor at the session, who spoke with our correspondent, said: “We have rejected a vital part of the Enugu Accord, which has left the contest for the office of PDP National Chairman open. This clause has negated our last agreement in Port Harcourt that the post should be zoned to the Southwest.
“We believe the accord will amount to a fresh crisis in PDP and keep the party out of power for the next four years.
“Some of these serving PDP governors influenced the ‘open race’ to anoint a predetermined candidate. They sold a dummy to party leaders by claiming that the Southwest has ‘nothing to put on the table.’ It is this bad.”
Another former governor from the Northcentral at the meeting said the ex-governors were advising the chairman of PDP, Sen. Ahmed Makarfi, to “seek a second opinion from the leaders of the party and review the Enugu Accord”.
The ex-governor added: “At our session, we discovered that the presidential ambition by some governors and the plot to hijack the party structure accounted for the “open race” decision.
“Unfortunately for PDP governors, they have forgotten that the Southwest is known to fight better from the opposition. The late Chief Obafemi Awolowo was a strong opposition leader; the Southwest formed NADECO and fought the military to a standstill and APC could not have defeated the PDP in 2015.”
A Southsouth former governor at the meeting confirmed that the meeting planned talks with the party leadership and the PDP governors “for the umpteenth time”.
“But if these governors remain adamant, we won’t mind leaving the party for them and we will then see how far they can go,” he said.
There were indications that some former governors and PDP leaders may hold a parallel national convention, “if there are enough signs of imposition” by the governors”.
A former governor from the Southeast said: “Some of our leaders certainly have Plan B bordering on a possibility of a parallel convention.”
National chairman candidates signed a peace accord on Tuesday in Abuja, including readiness to” support whoever emerges as the National Chairman as long as the process is transparent”.
In Ibadan, National Vice- Chairman (Southwest) Dr. Eddy Olafeso urged all aspirants for national chairman to come to a round table to reduce the number so as not to jeopadise the zone’s bid.
He said the party should allow the Southwest to produce the chairman.
Olafeso said: “The position of the zone is emphatic; it’s unassailable historically. We are supposed to produce the national chairman of the party. But in a party that has six zones, we can only persuade and plead with other zones to see reason with us and that is what the leadership of the zone has been doing. We still believe that they will see reasons and the Southwest will produce the chairman of the party. From 1999 till date, we’re yet to produce the chairman for the party.
”Let it be on record that we have at present the best of all candidates in the country. Chief Olabode George, Otunba Gbenga Daniel,Senator Rashidi Ladoja, Professor Tunde Adeniran, Professor Taoheed Adedoja, Jimi Agbaje and there is possibility between now and one week for other people to come in. But we want to take our team straight down there and say make your choice, not a situation that we will just bring an individual to the race.
“We will want to plead with all contestants that we should reduce the field. If we don’t reduce the field you get fragmented…, and now that we’re competing with the Southsouth, it’s very easy for us to share votes in a way that will be inimical to our dream of producing the chairman.”
At on the meeting were Chief Shuaib Oyedokun, Captain Tunji Shelle, Dr Jimi Oke, the former deputy governor of Ogun State, Mrs Salimonu Badru, Dr Saka Balogun, Alhaji Sharafadeen Abiodun Alli and Dr Yemi Farounbi, among others.
Olafesoo announced the micro-zoning of other national executive slots allotted to the west – treasurer, deputy publicity secretary, deputy woman leader and two ex-offico members.
The committee that zoned the positions was chaired by Senator Iyiola Omisore.
The committee submitted its report which was adopted. National Treasurer was zoned to Ekiti State, Deputy Publicity Secretary, Osun state, Deputy Woman Leader, Lagos and the two ex-offico members –Ogun and Oyo states.