" />
Published On: Sun, Aug 14th, 2016

PDP Convention: Zoning tears party apart

With just days to the August 17 National Convention of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) billed for Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, the party remains a deeply divided house with clashes of individual and group interests.

Although the opposition party’s Board of Trustee Chairman, Senator Walid Jibril had on Monday last week, assured that the party would be able to settle its lingering crisis and hold a successful convention, there is no indication yet that it would be able to do so.

While there had been series of meetings by different stakeholders in different zones aimed at addressing grievances and building consensus ahead of the convention, all had done little to calm frayed nerves even as the rift is taking regional dimensions.

Investigations by BusinessHallmark reveal that there is a subtle superiority contest between the North and the South West on one hand, and the South South and the South West on the other hand.

It would be recalled that after the Port Harcourt meeting of the party’s Southern leaders where they zoned its chairmanship position to the South West, certain figures in the North supposedly took offence and vowed to flout the South’s zoning arrangement.

States like Kastina, Kebbi, Jigawa and Kano as well as elder Statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai had repordely backed the candidature of High Chief Raymond Dopkesi, the founder of Daar Communications Limited who is from Edo State, South South for the job.

A move some party faithful say was probably informed by the North’s intention to back a southerner who will best protect their interests.

Recalling how former president Olusegun Obasanjo was selected in 1999 as against the South West choice of Chief Olu Falae, a party source from the zone who craved anonymity suggested that it was a possibility that the North would be interested in fostering their favoured candidate on the South, but dismissed it as highly unlikely.

“Yes, we all remember what happened during Obasanjo’s time, such is always a possibility, but it would not be possible under these circumstances.”

On his party, the party’s Publicity Secretary for Lagos State, Mr. Taofik Gani told BusinessHallmark that it would be unfair on the South West for the North to fault the zoning arrangement which ceded the party’s leadership it.

“We have put zoning as part of our way of life,” he said.

“Don’t forget that we made similar mistake of not obeying our zoning arrangement and that’s probably why we lost the last presidential election.

READ  Storm over in PDP, Fresh cancels Monday’s inauguration

“Therefore, it would be contradictory for the North at this time to want to insist on supporting an aspirant who is not from the South West,” he concluded.

In another twist, there is a brewing animosity between some interests in the South West and party leaders, especially governors in the South South.

While the South South which is currently the party’s key political and financial support base is said to be favouring the candidature of Mr. Jimi Agbaje who was the flag bearer of the party in last year’s governorship election in Lagos, their stance is being resisted by certain groups in the South West, especially those loyal to other candidates.

The decision of the South South to back Agbaje, Hallmark learnt, was informed by their believe that the party needed a fresh candidate who neither belongs to any faction nor has outstanding issues with any group or interest in the party and would therefore be in the best position to unite it.

Agbaje himself is basing the strength of his candidacy on the above premise. Speaking to journalist in Abuja after picking his nomination form, he noted that since he did not belong to any of the existing factions in the party, he stood a better chance of getting everyone to agree.

“What I bring to the table is that I am not a member of any faction or any tendencies,” he said.

“I am in a position to talk to everybody, to ensure that if you love the PDP, then it is time to come back to the zone. I will appeal to those who feel very strongly to join us because Nigeria cannot make the progress it deserves without a viable opposition and that PDP is going to provide that opposition as an alternative government and in a responsible manner.”

However, some groups in the South West is interpreting South South’s support for Agbaje as an attempt by a “politically less relevant” zone to dictate to them.

The South West Consultative Group (SWCG) had for instance, suggested that it was an insult to the zone for the South South governors to contemplate imposing Agbaje on them.

In a statement by its Chairman, Mr. Soji Fadairo, the group said that the Yoruba were enlightened and sophisticated enough to make a proper choice for the position of the party’s chairman and warned the governors to mind their own business.

“It is downright insulting and outrightly rude for the South-South governors to start dabbling into our affairs. Agbaje is by no measure a credible candidate. This neophyte who keeps jumping from party to party is hardly the face of the disciplined leadership of our people,” Fadairo said.

READ  Apapa Marine Beach bridge ready for use-Contractor

Meanwhile a meeting organized by the governors and party leaders of the zone in Akure last week with the aim of reaching a consensus ended in deadlock as some of the parties to the election disagreed with the recommendations.

Of the three positions ceded to the South West, including the National chairman, the Deputy Publicity Secretary and the Treasurer, it had been agreed at the said meeting that the post of national chairman should be zoned to Lagos and Ogun states where three aspirants: Chief Bode George, Jimi Agbaje and a former governor of Ogun State Gbenga Daniel came from.

On the other hand, the position of treasurer was zoned to Ekiti and Ondo states while Osun and Oyo states were given deputy publicity secretary.

However, other aspirants for chairmanship who are not from the Lagos-Ogun axis like Prof Tunde Adeniran and Prof. Toaheed Adedoja have since faulted the arrangement. Adeniran said the Akure meeting was a mere jamboree.

Asked why the Akure meeting did not produce a consensus candidate, a key figure of the party in Lagos said that contrary to media reports, there was indeed a consensus candidate who he suggested was Chief Bode George, but it was not announced in other not to escalate the existing disagreement.

“We reached a consensus in Akure, but it was not announced because other contestants will not agree. What we are doing now is to speak to them, including Prof Adeniran and Prof Adedoja. We want them to see the need for the party to work together at this critical time.”

While the rift is ongoing, it remains in doubt whether the whole convention would not be null and void even if the party managed to hold it. The existing leadership tussle between the Ahmed Makarfi and the Ali Modu Sheriff factions is still ongoing. Sheriff, it would be recalled had obtained judgement from an Abuja High Court presided over by Justice Okon Abang to the effect that he was the authentic chairman of the party even when other judges had ruled on the contrary.

Mr. Taofik expressed concerns about the possibility of those who feel they were not favoured by the convention teaming up with Sheriff to fight the party, saying such would be most unfortunate at this time.

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Most Shared

Recent posts

  • FG grants PPAs of 14 solar projects another 6 months extension

    For the second time since 2016, the Federal Government  has extended by another six months, the deadline for the execution of the power purchase agreements (PPAs) it signed with investors for 14 utility solar power projects to be built in some states of the country. According to OGN reports it was reportedly rolled over after […]

  • Dangote Sugar targets 25% sales volumes in 2018

    The acting Managing Director of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Abdullahi Sule, believes the company’s  sales volumes could rise as much as 25 percent in 2018 after last year’s downturn. Nigeria’s economy, which contracted in 2016, is recovering after the government relaxed some currency controls implemented after the price of oil, its main export, crashed in […]

  • Emefiele dismisses fears over MPC meeting, insists economy is strong

    The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, has allayed the fears of Nigerians and the international community over the inability to hold the meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) for January. A statement signed by Emefiele in Abuja on Monday, said that the meeting, which was earlier scheduled for the day […]

  • Nigeria, Angola crude overhang could pressurize Asian crude

    Traders have said that unsold barrels of crude from West Africa could put pressure on the premiums of Malaysian crude cargoes for March loading.   Platts reports that weaker demand, particularly from independent refineries in China, for February-loading Angolan and Nigerian grades has resulted in an overhang, traders said. Traders indicated that these grades were […]

  • NBS: 77.5m Nigerians engage in economic activities in Q3

    The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says 77.55 million people are engaged in economic activities out of a labour force of 85.08 million in the third quarter of 2017. The NBS disclosed this in a “Labour Force Statistics Volume 2: Employment by Sector report for Third Quarter of 2017’’ released by the bureau on Monday […]

  • Lassa fever: Schools reopen in Ebonyi

    Public and private schools in Ebonyi shut on Jan. 18 to check the spread of Lassa fever outbreak in the state have reopened the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports. Prof. John Eke, the Commissioner for Education, told NAN on Monday in Abakaliki, that the schools were reopened as no new case of the disease […]

  • Four major markets in Nigeria need 36.27MW to grow efficiency – REA

    A baseline survey of the energy needs of four of the major markets in Nigeria, which the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) conducted, has indicated that with 36.27 megawatts (MW) of stable electricity provided to them, economic productivity in the markets could expand and bring more prosperity to about 50,900 shop owners there, OGN reports. The […]

  • ALSCON: Nigeria, Russia sign Share Purchase agreement

    Nigeria has signed the Renewed Share Purchase Agreement with Messrs UC Rusal of Russia in respect of the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON). The agreement was signed in in Abuja on Friday by the relevant government stakeholders, including the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi. Present at the ceremony were the […]

  • Slimming drugs: Expert calls for stiff regulation

    Dr Bamidele Iwalokun, a medical researcher with the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) in Yaba, Lagos, has called for stiffer regulation of slimming drugs to safeguard the health of consumers. Iwalokun made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Sunday. He said there was the need […]

  • Derivatives trading: US expert speaks on the pluses and pitfalls

    As part of strategic initiatives to enhance the efficiency of capital market operations in Nigeria, The Nigerian Stock Exchange and Coronation Merchant Bank invited the former Chair of the US Commodities Futures Trading Commission (US CFTC), Mr. James Stone to deliver a special lecture on ‘Pluses and Pitfalls of Derivatives Trading’ at the Nigerian Stock […]

  • Ajimobi: Oyo set to increase institutions subventions

    The Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, has appealed to the striking state-owned higher institutions that his administration is prepared to increase their subventions. The governor said this would be achieved as soon as government’s renewed efforts to improve its revenue-base begin to bear fruits. Ajimobi, who made the appeal while inaugurating the governing councils of […]

  • SEC’s e-dividend free registration ends Feb 28

    The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has extended period for the free e-dividend registration to Feb. 28, to encourage more shareholders participation in the initiative. The commission in a statement obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, indicated that the extension was part of its developmental role. It said that the extension […]

  • Nigerian equities market goes bearish after hitting over nine year high

    FELIX OLOYEDE Profit-taking caused the Nigerian Stock market to go bearish for the first time this week after reaching over nine year high on Wednesday. The All Share Index declined -0.08 per cent to close at 44,848.74 point on Thursday after hitting 44885.24 point the previous day, the highest since September 2008 when it closed […]

  • 2019: Wike gets second term endorsement

    Residents of River state have endorsed the Governor, Nyesom Wike, for another term of four years. They declared their support for the governor when over 15,000 non-indigenes of the state visited the Government House on Wednesday in Port Harcourt, the state capital, Channels TV reports. Wike urged Nigerians irrespective of their linguistic and religious affiliation […]

  • Banks enjoy improved liquidity as overnight rate drops three consecutive days

    FELIX OLOYEDE The redemption of Treasury Bills by Federal Government has helped to improve liquidity in Nigerian banking sector as overnight rate declined three consecutive times this week. Overnight (O/N) rate dropped -0.75 per cent to 5.75 per cent on Thursday, while Open Buy Back (OBB) rate was down -0.92 per cent to 5.25 per […]

  • Lassa fever: Ebonyi Schools proceed on forced break

    Schools in Ebonyi State have been directed to close for a week following the outbreak of Lassa fever in the state. The state government said the directive was given as part of measures to contain the spread of the disease in the state. Commissioner for Health, Umuzuruike Daniel, also confirmed the death of three victims […]