• As George gets support
From Taiwo Amodu, Abuja and Charles Adegbite
Former Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) governorship candidate in the last general election, Jimi Agbaje yesterday surfaced at the party’s secretariat in Abuja to pick the nomination form for the office of national chairman, ahead of the national convention fixed for next Wednesday in Port Harcourt.
Addressing newsmen shortly after picking the form, Chief Agbaje dismissed insinuation that he was goaded into the race by the party’s governors, and submitted that he did not belong to any of the factions.
“I don’t belong to any faction; so, I am in a position to resolve the party’s crises. The issue of governors supporting me is mere speculation. Since I started moving around, I have only met four out of the 12 PDP governors,” Agbaje said.
Speaking on the failure of the south-west leaders to arrive at a consensus chairmanship candidate at their Monday meeting in Akure, the former governorship candidate said the opposition against consensus candidate was in order.
“It is very difficult under the circumstances where everybody feels qualified. It isn’t even good to have consensus all the time. Besides, the PDP Constitution doesn’t give you the power to exclude anybody.”
The chairmanship hopeful also promised the party faithful that under his leadership, the erstwhile ruling party would regain lost grounds and become a responsible opposition party.
“We are taking back the centre and states we lost in 2015. But, we must restore internal democracy and go back to the ideals of our founding fathers. We are going to provide a veritable opposition in a very responsible manner.”
Meanwhile, Lagos State PDP Stakeholders yesterday drummed support for the adoption of Chief Olabode George by their South-West leaders for party’s national chairmanship position, saying he was the most qualified.
Speaking at a press conference in Lagos yesterday, a chieftain of the party and former Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Tourism in Lagos, Philip Aivoji, who led a team of the party’s stalwarts in the state, said the choice of George was a wise one.
He said the Lagos chapter of the party reposed confidence in the candidature of George because “while he was the Deputy Chairman of the party, he was the anchor and architect of the ‘tsunami’ that swept away five of six Alliance for Democracy (AD) governors in 2003. “Our candidate is genuine. His only focus is to rebuild, renew and resuscitate our great party.”
Aivoji noted that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has failed Nigerians.
“For the PDP to defeat All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019 we don’t want to use a starter. We need somebody who is highly experienced, loyal to the party and very disciplined,” he said.
He made it clear that the two governors from South-West, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko and Mr. Ayo Fayase, and PDP stalwarts like Chief Ebenezer Babatope, Senators Iyiola Omisore and Teslim Folarin, Mrs. Kofo, Chief Joju Fadairo and several others who were at the Akure meeting and reached consensus over George, did it in the interest of the party and the people of Nigeria. “At this point we appeal to Professor Adeniran, Professor Taoheed Adedoja, Mr. Jimmy Ajagbe, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, to please respect the wishes of our leaders in the South West and quickly rally round Chief Olabode George.” he said.