Talks are underway for Peoples Democratic Party chairmanship contenders from the South-west to settle on a single candidate, one of the aspirants told PREMIUM TIMES Thursday.
Rashidi Ladoja, a former governor of Oyo State, said northern delegates from the PDP have resolved to back a candidate from the South-west, but only if the region could rally behind an individual first.
“We’ve started a process to reduce the number of aspirants to one in the South-west,” Mr. Ladoja said while emerging from a meeting with a former governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel.
Messrs. Ladoja and Daniel met to resolve on a candidate, but it was not immediately clear who would step down for the other.
Bode George, Rasheed Ladoja, Segun Aderemi, Taoheed Adedoja, Gbenga Daniel and Jimi Agbaje are the six Yoruba politicians eyeing the PDP chairmanship, and none of them has backed down as at Thursday evening, barely two days to the convention.
The PDP ‘zoned’ the chairmanship to the south, paving the way for other politicians like Raymond Dokpesi and Uche Secondus who are running from the South-south.
Mr. Ladoja, who recently returned to the PDP and subsequently picked a form to be the party’s chairman, said he was confident that a Yoruba will emerge as chairman.
“South-west will produce the next chairman,” Mr. Ladoja said. It’s going to be a collective decision of all of us.”
The PDP scheduled the convention for December 9 after the Ahmed Makarfi faction of the party won its lengthy legal battle with the Ali Sheriff faction at the Supreme Court in July.
The party resolved to give the slot for chairmanship position to the south and reserved the presidential ticket for the north.
The battle for the chairmanship position is particularly heightened between the South-west and South-south.because of the vice-presidential slot.
If the South-west produces the chairman at the convention this weekend, the vice-presidential slot is expected to go to the South-south or the South-east in 2019.
But if the chairman emerges from the South-south, then a running mate is expected to be chosen from the South-west, according to multiple sources familiar with the internal party arrangement.
“South-west politicians are holding consultations because they found the office of the chairman more consequential than a vice-presidential slot,” said political analyst Tola Adetukasi.
Mr. Adetukasi said the South-west politicians risk losing the chairmanship to the South-south, specifically to Mr. Secondus, who is backed by Governor Nyesom Wike.
“The earlier for them, the better,” the analyst added.
Mr. Ladoja said the South-west deliberations for a consensus candidate may drag well unto the convention ground, but assured that only one candidate will contest from the South-west at the convention.
“Convention decisions are taken between 48 and zero hour, so this is now an issue,” he told PREMIUM TIMES.
Messrs. Agbaje, Adeniran and George did not immediately respond to PREMIUM TIMES requests seeking their comments about the consultations Thursday evening.