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PDP chairman: Governors battle ex-governors, others

PDP chairman: Governors battle ex-governors, others
November 13
09:27 2017

The battle for Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chairman continued at the weekend with governors insisting on their right to back a candidate.

They said they might unveil their candidate before the December 9 convention.

The governors, who have been criticised by some former governors for plotting to impose a candidate on the party, however, said their backing for a candidate would be without prejudice to other aspirants.

They would like the party to allow the delegates to vote and determine who should lead them.

They faulted the position of some former governors, members of the Board of Trustees (BOT), members of the National Caucus and ex-ministers who wanted behind-the-scene deals for some candidates.

But there were indications that a former Deputy National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, may be the favourite candidate.

The governors, sources said, joined issues with a former National Chairman of the party, Sen. Ahmadu Ali, a BOT leader, Prof. Jerry Gana, ex-Deputy President of the Senate Ibrahim Mantu and other leaders at the Caucus meeting of the party in Abuja.

The foundation leaders warned the governors against impunity and taking sides in order to get the best for the party.

But some of the governors challenged some of the BOT leaders, ex-governors and Caucus members that they brought impunity into the party which made it to lose the 2015 election.

A source at the session said: “The governors were unhappy that the body language of the elders was tilting towards a consensus for Prof. Tunde Adeniran from the South-West.

“They warned the leaders against ‘working to the answer’, as the case in the past. They also vowed to resist any plot to impose a candidate.”

Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose was said to have been more forthcoming at the session.

He was quoted as saying: “The governors have the right to support a candidate as party members/ leaders but all candidates should go for the election and the delegates will vote.”

In a tactical reference to Adeniran’s candidacy, Fayose reportedly said the governors could not stick out their necks for a candidate whose ward did not even know he is contesting for national chairman.

The source added: “A former governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu, also advised the session to allow the delegates to elect a new chairman for the party.”

The governors later asked aggrieved ex-governors, BOT and caucus members to also choose their own candidates for the election at the National Convention.

A BOT member, who spoke with our correspondent, said: “Our fears border on the fact that we may have a highly monetised national convention. These governors have London-Paris Club refund to throw at delegates to impose a candidate on PDP. We simply advise them to allow a free process instead of being parties to the contest.

“We also have the choice either to remain in the party or quit if they have their way. The governors are not after a free and fair process, they want to hijack the party ahead of 2019 presidential race.”

Another source said the PDP governors may back Secondus.

A governor, who spoke with our correspondent last night, said Secondus enjoyed the support of most of his colleagues from the Southsouth, Southeast and some leaders from the Southwest.

Secondus and other candidates may battle for the votes of Northern delegates.

The governor said: “Most of the governors, especially those from the Southsouth and the Southeast, are trying to build consensus around Secondus who is experienced in party management.

“We do not have time on our side as a party to put in place a national chairman who will learn on the job.

“But we agreed that we will not impose Secondus, he has to vie for the office with other candidates. We want the delegates from all the 36 states and the FCT to elect our new chairman.

“If at the end of the day our choice of Secondus is wrong, the delegates will decide.”

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