Some leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State have condemned Governor Ayo Fayose’s alleged support for the candidacy of Prince Uche Secondus, from the Southsouth, for the post of National Chairman, ahead of the party’s December 9 national convention.
A former PDP National Vice Chairman (Southwest), Chief Ishola Filani; governorship aspirant in Ekiti State, Ambassador Dare Bejide and factional National Vice Chairman (Southwest), Chief Makanjuola Ogundipe, urged party leaders and members to support the Southwest to produce the party’s next National Chairman.
They spoke yesterday at the inauguration of the headquarters of Ambassador Dare Bejide (ADB) Campaign Organisation on Ikere Road, Ajilosun, Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.
The trio described Bejide, a former Secretary to the State Government (SSG), as a thoroughbred and loyal party man who is fit for the office of the governor because of his experience in party and government positions.
Filani said PDP’s national chairmanship had been zoned to the Southwest during May 2016 National Convention of the party.
The PDP stalwart wondered why some interest groups were working against the agreement to support Southsouth’s candidacy.
He said: “The PDP national chairmanship has not been occupied by the Southwest while every other geopolitical zone has occupied it.
“We recently discovered that our brothers in the Southsouth said they want to contest for the national chairmanship. We want to appeal to our brothers that the Southwest will support the Southeast to grab the vice presidency zoned to the South.
“God will forbid a situation in which our (national) chairman, after being elected at the convention, will be having an Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) case hanging on his neck for him not be sent back to jail.”
Bejide, a former High Commissioner to Canada, who condemned the alleged imposition of deputy governor, Prof. Kolapo Olusola, said Fayose’s alleged impunity was the reason for galvanising support for a candidate from the Southsouth for the PDP national chairmanship.
Bejide said: “That (supporting Secondus) is very uncharitable. The party’s leadership from the Southwest is clamouring for the national chairmanship. You will recall that in the history of the PDP in the last 18 years, we have not had the opportunity of heading the party.
“We have had one chairman or the other from other zones in Nigeria except the Southwest. Secondus was national chairman in acting capacity for a long time. It is quite uncharitable for any leader in the Southwest to now canvass for anybody outside our zone.
“We have five prominent candidates from the Southwest running for the national chairmanship. My position is that if you don’ like Bode George, you should like Tunde Adeniran. If you don’t like Adeniran, you should queue behind Gbenga Daniel.
“If you look at all of them, Adeniran was one of the founding fathers of the party; George was a Deputy National Chairman; Gbenga Daniel was a governor for eight years, while Prof. Taoheed Adedoja has also made his mark.
“If you have an issue with Adedoja, you suppose not to have any issue with Olabode George. Anybody queuing behind an aspirant from another zone, we see that as unpatriotic as far as we are concerned in the Southwest.
“If we want to pick any chairman from outside the Southwest zone, you make the job more difficult for the zone in 2019. Already, we have the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader from the Southwest and the Vice President is from the Southwest. We have APC governors in Lagos, Osun, Oyo, Ogun and Ondo states – all in the Southwest.
“The best thing you can do is to create a leadership centre to confront the APC in the Southwest. If you take the leadership from the Southwest, you are just saying PDP is not relevant in the Southwest and that you don’t need the people’s votes in the zone.
“You are saying you don’t need our votes to win in Southwest. It is going to create serious consequences for the party in the Southwest.”
Ogundipe said: “The position of the national chairman has been zoned to the Southwest. Anybody from the Southwest working against it is an enemy of the party.”