By Dapo Akinrefon, Ola Ajayi & Rotimi Ojomoyela
Ibadan—SOME leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the South West, yesterday, distanced themselves from a meeting held in Akure on Monday where positions zoned to the South West were discussed.
Contrary to reports that Chief Bode George was favoured by governors and leaders at the meeting, the National Vice Chairman, South West zone of the party, Chief Makanjuola Ogundipe said his leadership would not accept any imposition to the positions of National Chairman, National Treasurer and National Deputy Publicity secretary.
He insisted that the party would set up a screening committee that would ensure that candidates of integrity and untainted character are elected to occupy the positions.
Though, Ogundipe and other executive members commended Governors Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo), Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti) and Senator Kashamu Buruji for their efforts in ensuring the unity, stability, peace and oneness in the party, he said his executive is the only constitutionally-backed authority to hold meeting and take decisions that would be beneficial to the zone.
He said this while speaking with journalists at the party’s zonal secretariat, Ibadan after a meeting of the zonal executives yesterday.
Ogundipe and his executive were reportedly denied entry into the venue of Akure meeting.
He said his committee was “constitutionally elected and legally confirmed south west zonal executive committee (2014-2018)” in Ibadan.
The Zonal Chairman, who was flanked by the Zonal Secretary, Chief Adepegba Otemolu, Zonal Auditor Prince Adekola Rasak and other executive members said, “It is true that some issues have been coming up over the years, especially the issue of zoning. I want to assure you that we don’t have any problem.”
The chieftain said: “Yes, we have decided and resolved, after our meeting at Port Harcourt last week, where the position of the National Chairman and that of the National treasurer and the Deputy National publicity secretary was zoned to the South West and it is only logical for us to come back home and decide how we are going to share the positions.”
On the zoning of the party positions, he said “I want to inform you that we have three blocs within the zone as to how we resolved the issue of sharing. We have the Lagos/Ogun axis, the Oyo/Osun axis and Ekiti/Ondo axis. That is why we have been putting heads together to do justice to the positions.”
Besides, he said “to this effect we have announced publicly that the position of the National Chairman zoned to us has been allowed to float within the three axis. This is for us to have the best candidate to be presented to the national party.”
On his part, a member of the Board of Trustees, Senator Clement Awoyelu faulted the meeting convened by Governors Fayose and Mimiko in Akure, describing it as an infraction of the party’s constitution and abuse of court judgement.
Awoyelu, said the zone should stop dissipating energy by recognizing factions not recognized by law to pilot the affairs of the party.
Ex-commissioner asks aspirants to step down for George
Meanwhile, a former Lagos State Commissioner for Commerce, Tourism and Industry, Mr. Philip Aivoji has appealed to other PDP chairmanship aspirants to respect the wishes of the leaders in the South West and rally round Chief Olabode Geoge.
Speaking at the press conference, organised by PDP stakeholders in Lagos, Aivoji said that the leading lights of Yorubaland in the PDP, including Governors Fayose and Mimiko, have agreed that the best and the brightest candidate should represent the PDP for the National chairman position.