As the race for the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gathers momentum, the Southwest members in the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT) have commenced a search for a consensus candidate among contenders from the zone.
It was gathered that some Southwest caucus of the BoT has also penciled down those that should not contest for national chairman of the party.
They are Oyo State governor, Senator Rashid Ladoja; former Ogun State governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel; the immediate national secretary of the party, Prof. Wale Oladipo; former Lagos State governorship candidate of the party, Jimi Agbaje and Akin-Deko Akintayo from Ondo State.
It was learnt that the move was occasioned by concerns that the array of contenders from the Southwest might cost the zone the position.
It was gathered that the caucus has narrowed their options to former minister of Sports and Special Duties, Prof. Taoheed Adedoja; former National Vice and Deputy Chairman of the Party, Chief Olabode George; and Former Education Minister Prof. Tunde Adeniran.
A document obtained by our correspondents showed that the Southwest BOT caucus of the party decided to prune the number of chairmanship aspirants from the zone to three with a promise to pick one as a consensus candidate for the office.
While the clamour for the Southwest to produce the next chairman of the party has been raging, majority of the contenders so far are from the zone, while two contenders are from the South-south. The convention is scheduled to hold on December 9.
A former deputy national chairman of the party, Alhaji Shuaibu Oyedokun, on behalf of other members of caucus, signed the document dated November 3, 2017.
According to the document, the caucus picked Chief Bode George to represent Ogun- Lagos axis, Prof. Adedoja from Osun- Oyo axis and Prof. Adeniran from Ekiti and Ondo axis respectively.
The caucus listed the reasons for its action as follows: “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.
Reduce tension, rancour and friction that may rise before, during and after the Convention among the winner and othe contestants.
“Assist the voting process on the election day, reduce expenditure for non-recommended contestants, 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 further pointed out: “In the over all interest of the Party and after wide and due consultations, we have been taking cognizance of various factors such as experience, acceptability across Nigeria, Educational exposure, vision, public perception, international visibility, wining chances, Party standing nationwide, members perception and expectations
The Southwest BoT caucus further noted that its recommendations are 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. Adedoja Taoheed Prof. (Oyo state); Adeniran Tunde Prof (Ekiti State) George Olabode Chief (Lagos State”.
The caucus further stated that its ultimate plan is to prune the shortlisted contenders to a single aspirant after wide consultations ahead of the national convention.