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Southwest eyes PDP national chairmanship


Chief Bode George

Ahead of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national convention, interested aspirants for the post of the national chairman in the Southwest zone have begun underground consultations to achieve their ambition.

Before the party’s last aborted convention in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the jostle of who becomes the national chairman of the PDP was a strong factor that pitched members of the zone against one another.

Some were of the view that the position should be reserved for old, knowledgeable and capable members of the party while others believed there was the need to introduce young, fresh and agile hands that would understand intrigues of modern day politics.

To buttress their position, those who held the second view hinged their arguments on the premise that the challenges that brought the party on its knees before it was ousted from power by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 general election, was caused by the older generation members of the party.

The altercations over age, experience and capacity led to a lot of cracks and consequently factions that went to the aborted convention.However, since the Supreme Court verdict of July 12 restored peace to the party, former Deputy National Chairman, Chief Olabode George has indicated interest to vie for the position at the coming national convention.

The Chairman Olabode George Campaign Committee, Chief Ebenezer Babatope made the ambition known to the public, saying: “Chief George is now the man of destiny, he is the right choice for our party now in these challenging times.”

Babatope posited that putting into consideration the challenges before the PDP, the party would need no less than the kind of George to steer the affairs of the party ahead of the 2019 general elections.

According to him, “Now, this much is our position. Now this much is our pursuit. Now, this much is our absolute declaration: We need the best of us. We are resigned and resolved to bring out the great personality that will seize the moment and steer our party back to national leadership and purposeful renewal.

“In this pursuit, in this firm resolve and contemplative clarity, we hereby proclaim and assert that Chief Olabode Ibiyinka George is the best candidate for the job.”

The former Minister of Transport added that George’s ambition to lead the PDP hinged on collective agreement among the Southwest stakeholders of the party and even beyond. “We have weighed Chief Bode George on all complementary criteria for our party’s leadership. He is proven and tested. He is serious and dedicated. He is honest, fair, smart, sharp, intelligent, humble, sincere, patriotic, accommodating, selfless, candid, totally resolved on justice and fair play.
“He has a fantastic network that is hardly rivaled in this nation. He is never detained by tribalistic urges. He is vast, expansive in his national accommodating largeness.”

However, investigations by The Guardian across the zone yesterday indicated there is still strong opposition to the idea of presenting any of the old folks in the PDP as national chairman.

Those who spoke on condition of anonymity believed that the likes of Chief George should for the sake of unity, progress and posterity leave the stage for fresh blood to handle the party while he continue to play the advisory role in the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT).

When contacted yesterday, the National Vice Chairman of the PDP South-West, Dr. Eddy Olafeso dismissed the argument of old and fresh blood as a criteria to be used by the zone to decide who leads the party “this position is alien to the party’s constitution. Nobody votes by age but by experience, competence and capacity to deliver.”

Olafeso disclosed that the race is open to the entire South since the presidency had been zoned to the north “what we are doing in the Southwest now is negotiation across the South with the motive to convince other regions to support our ambition.”

When asked the list of those that have already indicated interest in the region, Olafeso simply replied that the list would be made available in the nearest future adding, “what is paramount to us now is the support of other zones, principally the South-South and the Southeast geo-political zones.”

The Lagos State PDP governorship aspirant for 2015 election, Mr. Jimi Agbaje in his comment yesterday said individual ambition is not the utmost for now but rather a collective effort to ensure that the Southwest got the position for itself by interacting positively with other zones in the South “this is what should be paramount and what I hold in high esteem for now.”

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