The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State during the 2015 election, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, is being tipped for the position of the party’s national chairman.
Today.ng quoted a competent party source as saying that the choice of Agbaje as chairman has received the approval of key party organs and stakeholders in virtually all the six geo-political zones.
The source, who craved anonymity because he is not mandated to divulge the information, said the South-East zone is the most favourably disposed to having the former governorship candidate lead the party.
The decision to settle for Agbaje was said to have emerged from well thought out permutations on various elective positions ahead of the 2019 general elections.
For instance, the party has zoned its 2019 presidential ticket to the North, which automatically disqualifies any chairmanship candidate from the region.
Similarly, the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, is being primed for the vice president ticket.
The party’s immediate past Deputy National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, is also said to be in reckoning to retain the position, with the backing of the Rivers State Governor, Mr. Nyesom Wike.
Power brokers in the PDP were said to have picked Agbaje after extensive deliberations in the past weeks.
He was said to have received more vocal approval than several others considered for the job.
The party leaders were said to have mapped out a strategy to ensure that they are not openly seen to be working for Agbaje’s emergence.
Our source said the former governorship candidate will be made to seek the party’s nomination alongside others with all aspirants treated equally.
“But plans are afoot for massive mobilisation of delegates in the six geo-political zones for Agbaje’s candidature at the upcoming convention to ensure his emergence.
“His backers have decided not to persuade other aspirants to step down, in order to avoid recriminations that could ignite fresh crisis in the party,” the source added.
The party yesterday inaugurated an 83-member zoning committee charged with the responsibility of deciding the zones that will take the available positions at the national level.
The committee is chaired by the Ebonyi State Governor, Mr. Dave Umahi, with his Gombe State counterpart, Ibrahim Dankwabo, as deputy and former Benue State Governor, Mr. Gabriel Suswam, as secretary.
The committee also has notable party chieftains across the six geo-political zones as members.
It is expected to submit its report within seven days, after which the sale of nomination forms will commence for the convention billed to hold in Port Harcourt on August 17.
Caretaker committee chairman of the PDP, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, charged the zoning committee to be fair and just in its assignment.
He advised that positions should not be restricted to only one state in a zone but thrown open to aspirants in all the states in the various zones.