PDP Chairmanship: Bode George And Agbaje Divide Governors


IM

Governors of the Peoples Democratic
Party are said to be sharply divided on
whether to support Chief Bode George
or Mr. Jimi Agbaje for the position of
the national chairman of the party, investigations by our correspondent
have revealed.
George, who is believed to be the
political godfather of Agbaje, had paid
the mandatory N1m and had therefore
picked his Expression of Interest form at the party’s temporary headquarters
in Abuja on Thursday.
Agabaje, who was the governorship
candidate of the party in Lagos during
the last election, has yet to pay for his
nomination form. However, a source close to him said
that the pharmacist-turned politician
would pick his nomination form on
Tuesday (tomorrow) in Abuja.
“I can confirm and confide in you that
he will pay and pick his form in Abuja on Tuesday,” the source added.
He was said to be the candidate of
Bode George during the election,
which the PDP lost to the incumbent
Governor of Lagos State, Mr.
Akinwunmi Ambode. Ambode was the candidate of the All
Progressives Congress.
Apart from these two men, other
members of the party who are
showing interest in the race are a
former Minister of Education, Prof. Tunde Adeniran; a former Governor of
Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel and
a former Minister of Youths and Sports,
Prof. Taoheed Adedoja.
It was gathered that some of the
governors argued in favour of having someone who had never held any
position in the party as its next
national chairman.
A governor from the southern part of
the country, who spoke on condition
of anonymity with our correspondent on Sunday, said that the party needed
a new face, who he said would be
respected by all factions within the
party.
“We need someone who is not used to
the politics at the national level and who will be acceptable to the other
faction of the party. That’s why we are
thinking about Agbaje,” the governor
said.
He also said that such a person must
not be seen to have political ambition in 2019.
“We don’t need someone who will be
scheming to be picked as the running
mate to our presidential candidate
who will be coming from the North,”
the governor added. However, it was gathered that some
other governors, especially from the
North and about two from the South,
were said to have argued in favour of
Bode George because of his
experience. The former military governor of old
Ondo State, was a former deputy
national chairman of the party.
Some of his supporters were said to be
arguing that he remained the best
candidate for the job from the South- West, where the position had been
zoned to by the leaders of the party
from the South.
A member of the Board of Trustees of
the party, Chief Ebenezer Babatope,
told our correspondent in an interview on Sunday, that the meeting of the
leaders of the party from the South-
West slated for Akure on Monday
(today), would determine who the
caucus would support.
The meeting, which is being hosted by the Governor of Ondo State, Dr.
Olusegun Mimiko, is expected to be
attended by his Ekiti State counterpart,
Mr. Ayodele Fayose, and other leaders
of the party from the zone.
The views of the governors, it was gathered, would have a great impact
on who would get the support of the
caucus.
Babatope said that the Akure meeting
would attempt at getting a consensus
candidate among the chairmanship aspirants.
He said anyone who was not satisfied
with the decision of the meeting was
free to go to the national convention
in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on
August 17. It was learnt that both Mimiko and
Fayose would later brief other 10
governors of the party on the
decisions reached at the meeting.
One of the candidates, George, said he
was not against the idea of a consensus candidate, promising to
abide by the decision of members of
the party at the meeting.
Adeniran, however, differed with
Bode George on the issue of
consensus, saying that each aspirant must be allowed to go and test his
popularity at the convention ground.
He told our correspondent on the
telephone, that he joined the race to
serve the party and not to be served,
adding that his ambition was not a do or die one.
He said, “It is not a matter of life and
death. There’s season for everything.
If the people decide on who they want
as their national chairman, I will agree.
They know what they want. I will abide by their decision.
“But we need someone who is
capable of leading the party. We need
someone who has friends across the
nation. We need someone who the
members of the ruling party can respect as well.
“The other zones are bringing in
season administrators to run the party
and we, the pacesetters, shouldn’t
come with our second eleven.”
Adeniran, however, differed with Bode George on the issue of
consensus, saying that each aspirant
must be allowed to go and test his
popularity at the convention ground.
The former minister, who spoke
through his aide, Mr. Taiwo Akeju, said that even if the office of the national
chairman was zoned to Ekiti State,
other aspirants must be allowed to
contest with himself.
He said, “Democracy is about number.
Moreover, the national chairman of the PDP is not going to serve the people of
South-West alone.
“The idea of consensus is even late
because two aspirants have already
collected their forms and we are
picking our own in Abuja on Monday as well.”
Apart from George, another
chairmanship aspirant who has
collected the form was Chief Raymond
Dokpesi.
The business mogul, who hails from Edo State, has defied the zoning
arrangement, by being the only
aspirants out of the South-West, to pay
for nomination form.
Though he said that the idea of
consensus was possible, Dokpesi however told our correspondent that
it was not desirable.
He said he had received endorsement
of many states since he began his
nationwide campaign for the position.