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S/West PDP differs over demand for national chairman


Party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), Chief Ebenezer Babatope

Party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), Chief Ebenezer Babatope

Since the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has agreed in principle to zone the presidency to the North in the coming 2019 elections, the South West zone of the party is of the view that by right it ought to produce the next national chairman, a position it has not held since the PDP was founded in 1998.

The agitation by the zone is coming ahead of the party’s scheduled national convention, the date of which is still in contention. However members of the zone appears not to be speaking in one voice on their demand for the position.

Speaking on the development yesterday, a member of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), Chief Ebenezer Babatope from South West wonders why some members from the zone should be working against such “legitimate demand by a zone that has never produced the national chairman since the party was founded in 1998.”

Babatope said it was an aberration for any right thinking member belonging to the South West zone of the PDP to speak in contrary tone to the popular demand and worst still for such people to go ahead parading their views as if they were representing anybody.

According to him, “Whosoever says the South West is not ready for the position of the national chairman of the PDP now is not only speaking for himself but going contrary to a popular demand from the zone.”

He noted that since the party had agreed to zone the presidency to the north in 2019, which of course is normal in this circumstance, it is imperative to zone the National Chairman to the South West.
Babatope appealed to the current National Chairman, Ali Modu Sheriff on the need to reconsider his position “if he is the one backing anybody from the zone to kick against the demand because it will not work in the general interest of the party.”

Speaking in similar vein, the Chairman Lagos Collectives of the PDP, Prof. Tejumade Akitoye-Rhodes cautioned Senator Sheriff to beware of the antics of some members of the party who may be working towards a script against the collective interest of the party ahead of the party’s convention and the 2019 elections.

Prof. Akitoye-Rhodes said it amounted to a monumental shame and ridicule for few decrepit characters to claim that the South West was not interested in the office of the National Chairman of the PDP.

Describing the development as most illogical and patently absurd, Akitoye-Rhodes said such demand does not in any way represent the position or the will of the Yoruba people.

He said the zone still paraded eminent personalities and powerful evocative names like Chief Babatope, Chief Olabode George, Alhaji  Yekeen Adeojo, Chief  Shuaib Oyedokun,  Senator Awoyelu ,Chief Abiola Ogundokun, Senator Seye Ogunlewe, Otunba Gbenga Daniel , Professor Adeniran,  Dr. Saka Balogun, Dr Olu Alabi , Chief Martins Kuye , Chief Joju Fadairo , Dr. Ogunkelu , Senator Kofo Bucknor,  Chief Onikepo Oshodi, Governor Olusegun Mimiko, Governor Ayo Fayose and so many others, who have the capacity to lead the party.

According to him, “The South West is the only region that has not occupied the prime office of the National Chairman of our great party since PDP came to power in 1999.” He added that the region would fight with all legitimate tools to ensure that justice was duly served in this crucial matter adding, “the present National Chairman should be wary of the few peripheral renegades pushing the unholy pipe dream!”

While all fingers appeared to be pointing at Senator Buruji Kashamu, who represent Ogun East Senatorial District as the alleged brain behind the demand, Kashamu in a statement has clarified the issue, saying that the recent visit of a delegation of leaders of the PDP in the South West to the National Working Committee (NWC) was not done to choose or pronounce anyone as the leader of the PDP in the South West, “rather, it was to pledge our support for the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff-led NWC. All that happened on the occasion was fortuitous. It is also true that people like to have a rallying point, and if some of our leaders and elders see me as a rallying point because of my generosity and empowerments activities over the years, I do not see why anyone should lose sleep over it. Leaders emerge naturally.”

On the proposal that the National Chairmanship of the party should remain in the North, Kashamu said it was the opinion of the delegation “We were and are still of the view that given the strong presence of the PDP in the South, with 10 governors out of 17 governors in the South and just two governors in the 19 states in the North, it would make more sense to leave the National Chairmanship of the party in the North, so as not to be branded a regional party.

“Our view does not foreclose any other opinion or suggestion. If some other persons have any other idea, they are at liberty to push it. At the end of the day, it is either superior argument wins or we go to the convention. For us, as true party men, whatever is best for our party and majority of the stakeholders is all we want.”

Meanwhile a member of the South West PDP’s recent delegation to Abuja, who does not want his name in print said the original purpose of the meeting was just to express solidarity to Sheriff but not to jettison the birthright of the zone.

According to him, “It was in the process of the meeting that some people started pushing the idea that Senator Sherif should continue while Kashamu should be adopted as the South West leader of the party. In all honesty to Kashamu, he wasn’t too comfortable with the development but there was nothing he could do in such situation.

“Contrary to the allegation that Kashamu was the one that sponsored the whole idea, I am of a different opinion.”

He however cautioned that the issue should not be allowed to go out of hand as the party is still having several issues to resolve ahead of its convention and the 2019 election.

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