By Dirisu Yakubu
Weeks away to the national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, members of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT) from the South West caucus have pruned the number of chairmanship aspirants from the zone to three with a pledge to pick one as a consensus candidate.
This was contained in a document signed by Alhaji Shuaibu Oyedokun, a member of the Board and erstwhile Deputy National Chairman of the party on behalf of other members – it was dated 3rd November 2017.
According to the document, the endorsed aspirants are Professor Taoheed Adedoja, a former Sports and Special Duties Minister and former Provost of the Federal College of Education, (Special) Oyo; Chief Olabode George,
ex-Deputy National Chairman of the party; andProfessor Tunde Adeniran, erstwhile Minister of Education.
Those kicked out of the race, according to the document, are Senator Rashidi Ladoja, former Oyo State governor and until recently the founder and National Leader of the Accord Party; Otunba Gbenga Daniel, former Ogun State governor; Profesor Wale Oladipo, the immediate past National Secretary of the party; Jimi Agbaje, the gubernatorial candidate of the party in Lagos State in the 2015 election; and Akin-Deko Akintayo from Ondo State, a late entrant in the race.
According to the document, the caucus picked George to represent Ogun- Lagos axis, Adedoja from Osun- Oyo axis and Adeniran to represent Ekiti and Ondo axis.
But in a telephone conversation with Gbenga Daniel, the former governor rejected the purported endorsement of some of his co-contestants, describing the whole exercise as undemocratic and a huge joke.
According to Daniel, “it is unimaginable that some people will still go and sit down in one corner and say they are imposing an endorsement on the party. This was exactly one of the vices that led to out party’s ouster from power. Nobody knew when they met. I’m on the road in the North West going on with consultations and working to build a virile political party and some people are somewhere still living in the past”.
The caucus said it premised its action based on the following :
“*Numerous calls and wise counsel from several quarters to prune down the number of contestants to manageable number;
“*The need to improve the chance of South West to clinch the position of the National Chairman of the party at the convention;
“*To reduce tension, rancour and friction that may arise before, during and after the convention among the winner and the contestants;
“*To assist the voting process on the election day;
“*To reduce expenditure for non-recommended contestants;
“*To present manageable list of contestants from the South West to
compete favourably with any other contestant(s) from any other zone(s)from the South;
“*To avoid splitting of votes among contestants from the South West and;
“*To provide soft landing for non-recommended aspirants “. It also pointed out that it had, “in the over all interest of the party and after wide and due consultations, taken cognizance of various factors such as experience, acceptability across Nigeria, educational exposure, vision, public perception, international
visibility, wining chances, members perception and expectations.
“This recommendation by the Board of Trustees is without prejudice to the right of any contestant outside the recommended list to contest.
It is also without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the provisions of the constitution of our great Party:
They further promised to come up with a consensus candidate after broad-based consultation across the land.