Bode George, Dokpesi, Others Battle for PDP Chairmanship

Two zones in the southern part of Nigeria, South-West and South-South, are in the race to produce the next national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party. No member of the party in the other zone in the region, South-East, have expressed interest in the position of national chairman of the party.

South-West are yet to produce the chairman of the opposition party. South-South had produced Prince Uche Secondus as acting national chairman.

Those who are interested in the position:
Investigations by Punch showed that two persons from Rivers State are showing interest in the race.

They are a former Deputy Speaker in the State House of Assembly, Mr. Austin Opara and Secondus.

Sedondus, a close ally of Governor Nyeson Wike, is said to have the support of four S/S governors.

He was already backed to emerge as the deputy national chairman of the party from the zone during the botched national convention which was originally scheduled to elect national officers of the party.

Secondus is said to have the support of majority of the governors, even outside the S/S zone.

A source close to Wike said the governor would be happy if given the choice to present a candidate for the position from his state.

“While other governors are sceptical of producing chairman from their states, Wike is not. He wants to produce the occupier of the office and that could be the reason why he has chosen to host the next national convention again,” the source added.

It was also gathered that Opara may be the governor’s joker in case his colleagues insist on fresh set of officers at the party’s national secretariat.

Sedondus was part of the last NWC of the party where he served as deputy national chairman.

It was also gathered that Dr. Raymond Dokpesi, has also shown interest in the office. Dokpesi, who was part of the PDP Rescue Group, played a major role with former ministers and others in making sure that Sheriff was eased out of office. But Sheriff said he remains the chairman.

Sources said he had already submitted a letter of intent to the party on his ambition.

In the South-West, Chief Bode George and Prof. Tunde Adeniran have shown interest in the race.

George, a former military administrator of Ondo State, was also a former deputy national chairman. He is from Lagos State.

Adeniran, who once attempted to become the national secretary of the party, was a former minister of education. He hails from Ekiti State.

Both men were said to have divided the party from the zone.

While some believed that Adeniran does not have a faction in the party from the zone, others say he has no experience in party management.

George who has experience in management of political party, is also being accused of belonging to a faction of the party in his home state.

A former Minister of Transportation, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, however told Punch that members of the party in the zone would be working for Bode George.

He said that a delegation from South-West would be meeting with the national caretaker committee in Abuja soon to inform them about their support for George’s ambition.

Babatope also said that it would be wrong for the South-South to want to field a candidate for the position of the national chairman when it just produced the president.

He said, “We are fielding George for the race and we are visiting members of the national caretaker committee on Friday to openly say this.

“It will not be good for the South-South to still show interest in the race when the zone has just produced the president of the country from our party.”

Bode George, in an interview with Punch, confirmed his interest in the PDP top job.

He said, “In terms of experience, political exposure, I’m capable of leading the party and I’m ready to submit myself for election. The party is in an interim stormy water and it needs an experienced captain to take it to the harbour. Don’t forget that I’m also a permanent member of the Board of Trustees of the party.

“But we are waiting for the zoning committee to finish its job before I fully commence my campaign. Already, we are reaching out to all zones on the need to support the South-West to lead the party.

“This is because, we have never be given the opportunity of leading the party for the last 17 years.”