•PDP govs in crucial meeting
•We’re ready for the exercise —Tambuwal
•Anyanwu gets govs’ backing for scribe, to face Muo-Aroh
•Oyinlola, Arapaja, Oladipo tussle for dep. nat’l chairmanship (South)
•Olafeso, Ologunagba dig in for publicity scribe
•Hajia Ciroma, Damagun square up dep. nat’l chairmanship (North)
•Coast clears for Anyanwu after meeting with PDP govs
•Party generates N63m from 33 aspirants
•PDP’ll reclaim lost grounds in S-East in 2023 —Senator Nnamani
By Clifford Ndujihe, Henry Umoru & Dirisu Yakubu
DISTURBED by the inability of stakeholders in geo-political zones of the country to produce consesnsus candidates for the various posts, governors elected on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, were locked in a crucial meeting, last night.
The meeting, Vanguard gathered, was to ensure the PDP resolved brewing crises and approach the October 30 and 31 National Convention as a united front.
The consensus arrangement did not work in the South-West, South-East, North-East and South-South.
The meeting, held at the Akwa Ibom State Governor’s lodge, had in attendance Governors Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Duoye Diri (Bayelsa), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Ahmed Fintiri (Adamawa), Seyi Makinde (Oyo) and Bala Mohammed (Bauchi).
Governors Darius Ishaku and Samuel Ortom of Taraba and Benue states respectively were represented at the meeting.
An official of the PDP Governors’ Forum, who pleaded anonymity, said the meeting was connected with the heat generated by the collapse of consensus arrangement, particularly in the South-East.
“The governors are scared of the implication of going to the convention in crisis. When you see a position micro-zoned to a region or state and a consensus cannot be reached, then there is a problem. This is what the governors want to deal with,” the source said.
Meanwhile, no fewer than 33 aspirants obtained and submitted nomination forms for various positions, with the PDP raking in N63 million from the sale of nomination forms.
Screening of the 33 aspirants by the Bello Adoke-led Screening Committee started yesterday with Adoke assuring that all aspirants would be screened within the next 24 hours, adding that after that, the Appeal Committee will take over, if necessary.
The convention, billed to hold at the Eagles Square, Abuja, has 33 aspirants contesting for various leadership positions.
The PDP had earlier fixed N5 million for the national chairmanship forms, while those vying for deputy national chairmen and national secretary were expected to pay the sum of N3 million each.
While fee for other substantive offices was pegged at N2 million each, nomination forms into national deputy offices fixed for N750,000 each.
Among the 33 aspirants are Iyorchia Ayu (Benue), Ahmed Mohammed (Gombe), Umaru Bature (Sokoto), Daniel Woyengikuro (Bayelsa) and Kamaldeen Ajibade (Kwara) are consensus candidates for the positions of national chairman, national treasurer, national financial secretary and national legal adviser respectively.
Stiff contest for deputy nat’l chairman (South)
A stiff contest is expected for the position of deputy national chairman (South) where Taofeek Arapaja, Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Wale Oladipo all picked and submitted forms to test their popularity at the convention.
While Oyo State governor is said to be backing Arapaja, Oladipo, former PDP national secretary is banking on the support of Senator Ademola Adeleke and a good number of PDP stakeholders from Osun State to coast home to victory.
Oyinlola, on the other hand, seems to be heading to the convention on his own, having seen earlier support from Makinde swayed in the direction of Arapaja. Oyinlola and Oladipo both hail from Osun State, while Arapaja is from Oyo State.
Hajia Ciroma, Damagun square up dep nat’l chairmanship (North)
For the position of deputy national chairman (North), former Minister of Women Affairs and a one-time PDP national woman leader, Hajia Maryam Ina Ciroma, is up against Ambassador Umar Damagum. Hajia Ciroma hails from Borno State while Damagum is from neighbouring Yobe State in North-East geo-political zone.
Olafeso, Ologunagba seek to succeed Ologbondiyan
Similarly, ex- national vice chairman (South-West) of the PDP, Eddy Olafeso and a former House of Representatives member, Debo Ologunagba are intent on succeeding Kola Ologbondiyan as the party’s national publicity secretary.
Daniel, Nwosu, Benson-Oraelosi square up for nat’l auditor
Anambra state which had the national auditor’s office micro-zoned to it failed to settle for a consensus candidate as the trio of Okechukwu Daniel, Ikechukwu Nwosu and Mrs. Chibuogwu Benson-Oraelosi will test their popularity among party delegates at the convention ground.
C-River’s Effa-Atoe faces Arong for woman leader position
It is the same for Cross River state where renowned academic, Professor Stella Effa-Attoe is vying for the position of national woman leader against Hon. Divine Arong.
Govs clear coast for Anyanwu for scribe, to face Muo-Aroh
For the national secretaryship, PDP governors may have settled for Senator Samuel Anyanwu following his closed door meeting with them, yesterday.
Anyanwu alongside the consensus national chairmanship candidate of the party, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu met with the governors, at the Akwa Ibom Governors’ Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja, shortly they were screened by the screening committee ahead of the October 31 elective convention.
Vanguard gathered that Anyanwu, who enjoys the backing of Governors Okezie Ikpeazu and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has emerged the pick of the 13 governors of the PDP and now has only Okey Muo-Aroh standing between him and the office of the national secretary following earlier withdrawal from the race of Cyril Maduabum.
A party official told Vanguard in confidence that Maduabum’s withdrawal followed the intervention of the governors who told him to yield ground to Anyanwu.
“Maduabum, the DG of the PDP Governors’ Forum has been a loyal servant to our governors and has served them well.
“So, when they called on him to shelve his ambition for now, he listened. They want Anyanwu to serve as the next national secretary.
“That is why he penned a letter of withdrawal addressed to the chairman of the convention planning committee earlier today (Wednesday),” he said.
We’re ready for convention — Tambuwal
Meantime, Tambuwal said the meeting with Ayu and Anyanwu had nothing to do with governors’ endorsement of them, saying they came to interact with one or two governors.
Addressing newsmen at the end of the meeting, Tambuwal said, “They (Ayu and Anyanwu) came for a private discussion with one or two governors. They had their private discussions and left.”
He gave an update of preparations leading to October 31, saying: “We have just finished our meeting where we received briefings from the convention planning/organizing committee, the governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, that we are on course and by the grace of God, they have almost concluded every arrangement and plan for a very successful, free and fair convention for the PDP coming up on the 30th and 31st of this month.”
PDP’ll reclaim lost grounds in S-East in 2023 — Sen Nnamani
Meanwhile, Chairman, Senate Committee on Cooperation and Integration in Africa/NEPAD, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Enugu East, has assured that the PDP will regain its lost grounds in the South-East ahead of the 2023 polls.
In a statement yesterday in Abuja, the former Governor of Enugu State also hailed Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State for what he described as an outstanding maturity in the discharge of his assignment as chairman of the PDP Committee on zoning of key party offices.