Chairmanship: More crisis looms for South-West PDP

· Ogundipe-led zonal exco disowns zoning

Ahead the national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) scheduled to hold in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, next week, the South-West zone of the party has begun to sing discordant tunes regarding the position of national chairman zoned to the region.

The party’s South-West zonal executive, led by its national vice chairman (South-West), Chief Makanjuola Ogundipe, at an extraordinary meeting held at the party’s zonal secretariat in Ibadan, on Tuesday, said the post of national chairman remained open to all aspirants from the six states making up the geopolitical zone, contrary to an earlier position at a meeting in Akure that the post had been zoned to Lagos/Ogun axis of the party.

Ogundipe said his executive’s decision not to zone the national chairman’s post superseded the one taken at the Akure meeting, noting that his post as the national vice chairman (South-West) had been settled legally and  that he was to hold office till 2018 and was, therefore, constitutionally empowered to convene zonal meetings.

“What we have done here today is the legal, constitutional and right thing to do,” Ogundipe stated, adding that his executive had been doing everything possible to reconcile all the leaders of the party in the South-West region.

Speaking with newsmen at the end of the meeting, Ogundipe, who was flanked by the South-West zonal secretary, Chief Pegba Otemolu and other members of his executive, contended that the decision of the executive to leave the post of national chairman open to all aspirants “is to allow an aspirant with the best pedigree, mobilisation ability and, most importantly, with good moral credentials to emerge as the national chairman of the party. That person must have credibility and integrity. He must be able to unite this party and he must not be seen as a selfish chairman.”

Speaking earlier, a faction of the PDP national vice chairman (South-West), Chief  Ogundipe, had described the meeting conveyed by Governors Ayodele Fayose and Olusegun Mimiko in Akure, Ondo State, on Monday, as “an infraction and abuse of court judgment.’’

Ogundipe said allowing the former Commissioner for Information in Ondo State, Mr Eddy Olafeso, to preside over the meeting as the national vice chairman, South-West, in spite of the June 24, 2016 court judgment declaring him the authentic occupant of the exalted position, was tantamount to illegality.

Ogundipe and members of his executive and those perceived to be loyal to him were allegedly locked  out of the meeting’s venue, held in Akure, the Ondo State capital.

Speaking with journalists in Ado Ekiti, on Tuesday, Ogundipe  said though he viewed the action as very contemptuous, he won’t sanction Governors Mimiko and Fayose in the spirit of reconciliation.

The embattled national vice chairman insisted  that  only the Ali Modu Sheriff faction of the PDP enjoyed the legal validity to convey the national convention of the party slated for August 17.

On the zoning of the national  chairmanship position to Ogun/Lagos axis of the South-West, Ogundipe said only the national convention was vested with the power to zone national positions.

Ogundipe said his faction had zoned the position of treasurer to Ogun/Lagos and deputy national publicity secretary to Oyo/Osun axis, contrary to what the Olafeso’s faction did by zoning the chairmanship to Ogun/Lagos axis and treasurer to Ekiti/Ondo.