South-West leaders make strong demand for chairman slot

Ahead of the national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) scheduled for next month, leaders of the party in the six states in the South-West have sent a strong message to the leadership of the party on the need to zone the position of national chairman to the region.

Having survived a major leadership crisis which has been partially resolved with the court judgment sacking Uche Secondus, its erstwhile national chairman, the party is making preparation to elect a new set of executives that will pilot the affairs of the party from December and lead it to the 2023 general elections.

Credible sources in the party informed newsmen that the 44-member zoning committee led by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State begins sitting today and is faced with the difficult choice of whether the national chairman should come from North or South, a decision that will also have implications on where the next presidential candidate of the party for the 2023 election will come from.

Newsmen had reported a few days ago that some stakeholders are rooting for the next national chairman to come from the Northern part of the country. Those behind the plot are also calling for the presidential ticket to be thrown open for all aspirants instead of zoning it to any section of the country.

However, the South-West PDP leaders, which include the six state chairmen of the party in Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti, Osun, Ondo and Oyo states, believe the chairman’s position should be specifically zoned to the region to compensate for what happened during the 2017 national convention, a situation in which it was unjustly denied the slot after the post had been zoned to it.

According to our source, “They also mentioned that the denial of the zone the post of national chairman in 2017 led to the dwindling fortune of the PDP in the zone as demonstrated by the 2019 poll results.

“The South-West PDP leaders noted that apart from Anambra where a gubernatorial election will hold in November, the zone has two governorship polls pending in Ekiti and Osun states before the 2023 general elections and having the national chairman slot will help seal victory in two states, thereby shoring up the chances of the party in the 2023 general elections.

“The South-West leaders noted that they now boast of a united rank more than at any other time in the recent past and if given the chance they will produce a viable, strong and popular consensus candidate capable of uniting the party and leading it to victory in 2023.

“The leaders also believe that the PDP is not fairing badly in the South-West as it has a governor, and senators from four of its six states – Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti and Osun”.

Speaking with newsmen, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, a former Minister of Transport and chieftain of the party, said the PDP, more than ever needs a national chairman that can lead it to victory and rescue power from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 presidential election.

“Right now, we need a national chairman that can lead us to victory in 2023 and deliver Nigeria to us. Anyone who is elected the national chairman must be result-oriented and focused on delivering the country to PDP in 2023. Our focus is to win, and not just winning but convincingly too so that people can know that the PDP is still a force to reckon with in Nigerian politics”, he said.

On whether he wants the position to be zoned to the South- West, Babatope said he is not really bothered since his friend, Chief Olabode George, had said he is not interested in contesting for the position again after he was rigged out in 2017.

“Since they treated Bode George and all of us unjustly in 2017, I have refused to have any interest in anything that has to do with the national chairmanship position. Right now, Bode George is not interested. I asked him specifically and he told me he has no interest at all.

“So, I wish the PDP the best of luck but I must say that we are PDP members and we are fighting seriously to ensure that the PDP by the grace of God attains power in 2023”.

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