By Chidiebere Onyemaizu
There is mounting sentiment towards the South west geo-political zone in the race for the election of the next national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. The new PDP national chairman will be elected at the party’s national convention on December 9.
There have been calls for the position to be micro-zoned to the region but certain interests in the party have resisted this. Chairman of the PDP Interim National Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi is on the side of the anti-micro zoning elements.
He has emphatically maintained that the positions is zoned to the entire South and therefore, open to the three zones of the South. Aside South west, South South is equally angling for the position. Speculations are rife that Rivers state Governor Nyesom Wike is nursing Vice presidential ambition and is positioning former Acting national chairman of the party, Uche Secondus to return to office as PDP national chairman. Wike is allegedly banking on Secondus as Chairman to realize his ambition. The Governor has however, denied nursing vice presidential ambition.
Founder of Daar Communication (owners of Ray Power and AIT), Raymond Dokpesi is another South south aspirant to the chairmanship position. He has been touring state chapters of the party soliciting for support.
In the South west, former National Deputy chairman of the party, Olabode George, former Ogun state governor, Gbenga Daniel, former Education Minister, Tunde Adeniran and the returnee former Oyo state governor, Rashid Ladoja are PDP heavy weights from the zone eyeing the plum party position.
PDP’s only South west governor, Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti state last week convened a meeting of the party in the zone with virtually all the aspirants in attendance. The source learnt that governor Fayose is worried that unless the zone reached a consensus and present one candidate, it will lose the PDP chairmanship position to the South south. A plethora of party chieftains from the North with presidential ambition, the magazine has been informed, are individually courting the South west aspirants.
Top party sources suggest that Ladoja who recently returned to the PDP after a sojourn in the Accord party may emerge the consensus candidate. Former national chairman of the party ,Ahmadu Ali recently warned that the PDP was doomed if the South west does not produce the Chairman in view of the fact that the presidential ticket of the party has been zoned to the North and vice presidential ticket tacitly to the South east.
It has been learnt that the South south has been penciled down for Deputy National Chairman in addition to Senate President should the PDP emerge victorious in the 2019 general elections.