…South-East leaders kick
By Ayo Fadimu
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has zoned the Vice President slot to the Southwest geo-political zone to pacify the zone for the loss of Chairmanship position to the South South during the last convention of the party held in Abuja.
The keenly contested election was won by Prince Uche Secondus from Rivers State to defeat other candidates, majority of whom are from Southwest. They include, former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Chief Bode George, former Ogun State governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, former Minister of Education, Prof Tunde Adeniran, former Oyo State governor, Chief Rasheed Ladoja, the immediate past PDP flagbearer in Lagos State governorship election, Jimi Agbaje and others.
The Chairmanship of PDP has not been occupied by Southwest before, so, the zone saw the last convention as opportunity to climb the saddle of the party but political bickering and refusal to produce consensus candidate coupled with allegation of conspiracy against the zone by South-south and South-East block of the party robbed the zone the coveted seat.
A statement credited to Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike that the South West has never contributed anything meaningful to the success of the PDP drew a lot of bad blood at the convention and made Bode George to quit the race.
However, sources close to the Umbrella party informed Nigerian NewsDirect that the party might have micro zoned the Vice President slot to the Southwest.
Nigerian NewsDirect learnt that part of the job of the Chairman of PDP National Reconciliation Committee and Governor of Bayelsa State, Henry Seriake Dickson, is to make sure no PDP leader leaves the party after the convention and convey the determination of the party to zone the Vice President slot to them
Our Correspondent learnt that the person must be a Christian as the party will field a Muslim candidate from the north. Some of the popular candidates on the radar include Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose, Otunba Daniel, Chief Jimi Agbaje and Adeniran.
However, the Chairman of the recently dissolved National Caretaker Committee of the party, Ahmed Makarfi denied any knowledge of the decision.
The party will start a two-day retreat for the Chairmen of the party in all the 36 states of the federation and FCT Abuja at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja on Tuesday.
According to invitees sent to the mobile phones of the Chairmen by the Secretary of the State Chairmen of PDP forum and the Chairman of Nasarawa State Chairman of the party, Francis Orogu and was seen by Nigerian NewsDirect, the Chairmen and the newly inaugurated National Working Committee of the party will use the opportunity to interface and chart a winning formula for the party.
Major decisions concerning the 2019 elections are also expected to be discussed.
One of the participants of the retreat, Chief Sikiru Ogundele who spoke with Nigerian NewsDirect said he expected the retreat to discuss many issues that would lead to the progress of the party.
Ogundele, who is the Chairman of the party in Ogun State said he was not at the meeting where Southwest was given the Vice President slot however, said it would be a very good gesture from the party.
“The promise may be political, it may also be to douse the tension that arose from the last convention but all will be decided when the time comes” Ogundele said.
In the meantime, Nigerian NewsDirect learnt that South-East caucus of the party had cautioned the leadership of the party from zoning the Vice President slot to the Southwest.
Our Correspondent learnt that at a meeting in Abuja, notable leaders of the zone include Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Ebonyi State governor, Dave Umahi, Enugu State governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Abia State governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, former Imo State governor, Sam Egwu, erstwhile Senate President, Adolphus Wabara and ex-Abia State governor, Theodore Orji and other bigwigs warned the PDP from micro-zoning the slot to the Southwest.
The zone said it deliberately left the Chairmanship position for the other two zones in the South because it wants something greater.
“We hope our brothers from the South South will support us as we supported them at the convention when it comes to our time” one of the Igbo leaders who craved anonymity told our Correspondent