The South-West leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party have said they will not allow the Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko and his Ekiti State counterpart, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, to impose the next national chairman of the party on them.
Rather, the leaders said they would meet in Ibadan before the party’s national convention slated for August 17 at Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to pick the candidate of their choice for the position.
The South-West Zonal Chairman of the party, Chief Makanjuola Ogundipe, stated this in an interview with one of our correspondents on Tuesday.
Ogundipe, who said he was speaking on behalf of officers of the party in the zone, described the meeting hosted by Mimiko and Fayose in Akure on Monday as a “nullity and non-inclusive.”
Makanjuola said, “We won’t allow Mimiko and Fayose to impose any national chairman on members of the party from the zone and the country in general.
“The Akure meeting is a nullity because they didn’t even allow the genuine delegates to have access to the venue of the meeting.
“A meeting that was dominated by non-delegates to the national convention, statutory delegates were barred and so on, cannot be said to be in the interest of the party in our zone.
“It is sad that even when a court of competent jurisdiction gave a valid judgement that our executive should be in office till 2018, the governors are disregarding it.
“We won’t go anywhere if we continue to choose the judgement to obey and the one to disregard. We are therefore meeting at Ibadan this week to take a constitutional decision on the issue.”
At the Akure meeting, the factional leaders had zoned the office of the national chairman to Ogun and Lagos states, Ekiti and Ondo states were allocated the office of the national treasurer while Oyo and Osun states were asked to fill the position of the deputy national publicity secretary.
The Punch reports that it is the Makanjuola-led zonal executive that is recognised by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The executive was however said to have been excluded the faction from the Akure meeting.
It was also gathered that the members of the Ogun State executive committee of the party led by Mr. Adebayo Dayo, were prevented from gaining access to the venue of the meeting.
Ogundipe said that he would call a meeting of the leaders of the party from the zone to decide when they would meet to take a decision on the issue.
The South-West leadership of the party also met in Ibadan on Tuesday and declared that the position of the chairman of the party that was zoned to the zone by the National Working Committee of the party remained open for all interested candidates to contest.
The decision, which was taken on Tuesday in Ibadan after an emergency zonal meeting of the party at its secretariat in Bodija, came less than 24 hours after the South-West elders and governors of the PDP met in Akure, Ondo State, and zoned the National Chairmanship position to Lagos and Ogun state.
A communiqué issued at the end of the meeting in Ibadan said the South-West wing of the party opposed the position taken in the Akure meeting because it was against the PDP’s constitution on who had the power to convene any zonal meeting.
The Ibadan meeting was attended by Ogundipe, the zonal secretary of the party, Pegba Otemolu, the auditor, Adekola Rasaq and other officers.
At the meeting, Ogundipe maintained that the office of the National Chairman of the party remained open to all interested members in the six states in the zone.
He said, “At the meeting in Port Harcourt last week, the position of the National Chairman, National Treasurer and the Deputy National Publicity Secretary was zoned to the South-West. It is only logical for us to come back home and decide how we are going to share the positions
Meanwhile, a PDP national chairmanship aspirant, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, has said that he will resolve whatever crisis his ambition can create between him and his political godfather, Chief Olabode George.
Agbaje, a former governorship candidate of the party in Lagos State, stated this when he visited the makeshift national headquarters of the party in Abuja on Tuesday to pick his nomination and expression of interest forms.
Asked how comfortable he was to contest against his political godfather, he said, “just leave that to us, we will resolve it at home.”
But he said he was sure of his chances, adding that he would not have picked the forms if he did not believe he would win.
“I would not have come here to collect the form if I do not believe I am going to win this election come August 17,” he said with confident.
On zoning, Agbaje said it was difficult to get a consensus candidate “under circumstances where everybody felt that he was qualified, adding that the beauty of democracy remained that people should not be afraid to contest.
Agbaje denied being the candidate of the governors for the position of the national chairman, saying he has yet to meet the 13 governors to inform them about his aspiration.