BARELY a week after the prolonged legal battle that nearly terminated the life of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was laid to rest at the Supreme Court, governors elected on the platform of the party appear set to cause another controversy.
Investigations by the Nigerian Tribune in Abuja revealed that some members of the PDP Governors’ Forum had already penciled in a particular candidate from the South-West and planned to foist the candidate on the party, regardless of the zoning arrangement of the party.
Sources close to the PDP revealed that some of the governors involved were working on the premise that the zoning arrangement would take the chairmanship position to the South-West.
It was confirmed that those already indicating interest in the top job included the former deputy national chairman of the party, Chief Olabode George; a member of the Board of Trustees (BoT), Professor Tunde Adeniran; another BoT member, Professor Taoheed Adedoja; former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode and the candidate of the party in the governorship contest for Lagos State in 2015, Mr Jimi Agbaje.
Of the aspirants, it was gathered that the governors had already shifted their focus from their target in 2016 and zeroed in on another candidate who they believed would wield the big stick and spare no one in the fight for 2019.
It was gathered that some governors elected on the platform of the party were already rooting for one of the aspirants who was said to have once held an office at the federal level, while many of the BoT members who got wind of the plan immediately opposed it.
Sources also confirmed that the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led national caretaker committee of the party had resolved to remain neutral in all its activities in order to ensure that the people’s will prevailed in the selection of the new executive.
According to the source, “the only thing that can save the party from the looming crisis is for the national caretaker committee to remain neutral, if there is any funny game in whatever form, the party will boil again.
“?The party needs an experienced hand to put it together and not somebody who will come and further scatter it. The post is not for the boys but for the men, our governors should see reason with the party for now.”
A similar crisis is already rearing its head in the Osun State chapter of the party where some members of the PDP Governors’ Forum were said to have influenced the removal of the state chairman, Mr Soji Adagunodo, from the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting held in Abuja on Tuesday.
It was gathered that though the state congress was held shortly after the appointment of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as national chairman, the division that rocked the party was largely as a result of protests from Adagunodo’s opponent at the state congress rather than a creation of Sheriff.
It was, however, gathered in Abuja that a member of the Governors’ Forum, leading the reconstruction of the party in Osun, was bent on removing Adagunodo who emerged when the party was still united.
“If we get it right in Osun, we will easily build on the achievements of this recent senatorial election. But if they insist on imposition of any chairman, we may be back to square one,” a source close to the party said.
Speaking with the Nigerian Tribune on the matter, the national publicity secretary of the party, Mr Dayo Adeyeye, dismissed the insinuations of possible fresh crisis in the party.
Adeyeye said the party had not taken any decision on the zoning formula to be adopted, adding that even the forthcoming special national convention of the party slated for August 12 would be non-elective.
He assured that the party would not hide anything from its members as its programmes progressed, adding that members should stop listening to rumourmongers who were out to sow seeds of discord.