...as consensus candidate for National Secretary
The last is yet to be heard about the zoning crisis in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) despite ratification of the zoning of National Working Committee (NWC) positions by the Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi Zoning Committee.
Leaders of the party in the Southwest are still at loggerheads over who should be presented as the zone’s choice for the position of Deputy National Chairman. The position has been micro-zoned to Osun State by leaders of the party in the zone.
Conflicting reports continue to emerge from the state over who the consensus candidate is for the position of National Secretary. But factions of the party in the state, with the backing of prominent chieftains and groups within and outside Osun State, have continued to battle for the slot, making a decision on a consensus candidate difficult.
Checks by The Nation revealed that efforts made by some elders of the party in the zone to make the various stakeholders agree on the matter were rebuffed by the gladiators.
A former member of the National Assembly from Osun West said yesterday: “It is not true to say Osun PDP has failed to unite and produce a candidate for the position. The truth is that the confusion is actually being created by leaders, groups and interests beyond Osun State.
“The two groups that have been battling for the control of the party in the zone are the same people behind the ongoing struggle for the National Secretary slot. The resolution of the current impasse is beyond us in Osun.
“As it is, we may go to the convention divided over most of the positions allocated to us in the Southwest.”
The resolution was contained in a statement issued PDP’s National Vice Chairman (South East), Chief Ali Odefa, yesterday.
The statement released to the media by Odefa reads in part: “The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Southeast Zone has once again displayed its maturity and readiness to reclaim all its stolen mandates in the zone through the peaceful and united manner in which the zone arrived at a consensus in nominating an illustrious son of the zone, Sen. Samuel Nnaemeka Anyanwu (Sam Daddy) as the zone’s sole candidate for the position of National Secretary of our great party ahead of our national convention.
“Despite the desperation of political jobbers and power mongers who have adopted all manner of undemocratic moves to lure away our members, the Southeast remains a stronghold of the PDP, and we assure our teeming members and supporters that our great party remains strong, firm, on the ground and poised for victory as the 2023 general elections approach.”
As at yesterday, reports said the two PDP factions in Osun State opted to adopt different candidates for the position. The Soji Adagunodo-led faction met and adopted a former governor of the state, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, as the consensus candidate of Osun State, for the Deputy National Chairman position.
Adagunodo, the suspended state chairman of the PDP, enjoys the support of the group loyal to Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State in the Southwest. Makinde is currently the only PDP governor in the zone.
On the other hand, the faction led by the Acting State Chairman, Sunday Bisi, according to reports, nominated Prof. Wale Oladipo as its preferred candidate. In a communique at the end of an extraordinary emergency stakeholders’ meeting in Osogbo on Thursday, the faction stated that Prof. Oladipo was nominated based on the zoning and micro-zoning of the position to the state by the national headquarters and the zonal leadership of the party in the Southwest.
While Nathaniel Ojetunji, PDP Chairman in Olorunda Local Government Area of the State, nominated Oladipo for the position, he was seconded by Abiodun Fafaojo from Ayedaade Local Government Area.
However, the other faction of the party led by Adagunodo is insisting that its choice of Oyinlola, a former Military Administrator of Lagos State, is supported by numerous prominent chieftains of the PDP in Osun State. Amongst these are Shuaib Oyedokun, former Deputy National Chairman, South; Chairman, Elders’ Caucus, Senator Olu Alabi; Senator Francis Fadahunsi; Akin Ogunbiyi; Segun Odekunmi, Secretary of the Elders’ Caucus of Osun PDP and Olusola Obada, a former Osun State Deputy Governor and ex-Minister of State for Defence (Navy).
Checks by The Nation further revealed that the confusion over the position goes beyond Osun State. According to very reliable party sources, Oyinlola is being backed by the Governor Makinde faction of the party in the Southwest.
At the time of filing this report, he enjoyed the support of the leadership of the party in Lagos, Oyo and Ondo states. “We are also very much on ground in Osun State as you can see from the arrays of party leaders that gathered at the endorsement of our preferred candidate in the state,” a source said.
On the other hand, Prof. Oladipo, banking on the support of the group led by Ayo Fayose, former governor of Ekiti State, is hoping to add the support of the leadership of the PDP in Ekiti and Ogun states to the strength of the Bisi-led faction of the party in his native Osun State to drive him to victory in the race.
Meanwhile, The Nation gathered that another meeting to discuss the stalemate over the position has been called for next week by Board of Trustees (BoT) members of the party in the zone. “We are hoping the meeting will be able to resolve the face-off and save the Southwest PDP from embarrassment at the convention,” our source added.
How Southeast settled for Anyanwu as PDP national secretary
Some stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Southeast yesterday narrated how the former member representing Imo East in the Senate, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, was selected as the zone’s consensus candidate for national secretary ahead of the party’s national convention.
They alleged that a governor from South-South region who nominated Senator Anyanwu virtually forced down his choice on the two governors from the Southeast.
While Chief Okey Aroh, a member of the party’s national executive council who was running for National Secretary from Anambra State could not be reached for comments, former governor of Imo State Chief Achike Udenwa and the Imo State chairman of the PDP, Engr. Charles Ugwu, refused to be drawn into the subject.
However, one of the stakeholders, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Nation that “Governors Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and Okezie Ikpeazu of Enugu and Abia states respectively came to the meeting and just announced the selection of Senator Anyanwu.
“Most of the people who attended vehemently objected to it and refused to accept that decision.
“The entire Anambra delegation led by Peter Obi rejected it. Imo delegates led by former Governors Emeka Ihedioha and Achike Udenwa also rejected it. The state chairmen of some of the states also said no. The meeting ended without any agreement.
“What was most annoying to Southeast leaders was that Senator Samuel Anyanwu is being imposed on them by a governor from the South-South who nominated him. He is forcing down his choice on the governors from the Southeast.
“The meeting was attended by former Senate President Adolphus Wabara, Onyema Ugochukwu and many others. Most of them didn’t agree with the imposition of Senator Anyanwu as secretary, as he wasn’t a product of the zone.
“Definitely, Anambra and Imo states have better materials for the office if it was zoned to them.”