Ninety-two aspirants have signified their intention to run for 23 offices in the Saturday’s national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Some of the offices to be contested are national chairman, deputy national chairman (South), deputy national chairman (North), secretary, deputy national secretary, national legal adviser, deputy national legal adviser, national organising secretary, national youth leader, and national publicity secretary.
A list of the aspirants showed that nine of the aspirants were running for the office of the national chairman.
The aspirants are Uche Secondus, Gbenga Daniel, Jimi Agbaje, Rashidi Ladoja, Taoheed Adedoja, Tunde Adeniran, Olabode George, Raymond Dokpesi and Aderemi Olusegun.
All the chairmanship aspirants had been screened by a screening panel headed by a former governorship candidate of the party in Edo State, Mr. Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
The screening took place at the Presidential Campaign office of the party, popularly known as Legacy Building, which is located at Maitama District in Abuja.
Seven out of the nine aspirants are from the South-West. Secondus and Dokpesi are from the South-South.
There were surprises on the list of those competing for the position of Deputy National Chairman (South), as some names from the South-West featured prominently on the list.
They are a former Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Alhaji Hazeem Gbolarumi, and a former Minister of Solid Minerals, Chief Sarafa Isola.
Also in the race for the office of the deputy national chairman are Yemi Akinwonmi, Adisa Oladapo and Sterling Ellis.
Six candidates are vying for the position of the deputy national chairman (North).
They are a former Minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Inna Ciroma; Alhaji Musa Usman, Nuhu Poloma, Senator Babayo Garmawa, Bala Ilela and Abdulmalik Mahmud.
Aspirants for the position of NPS are a former Minister of National Planning, Prof. Abubakar Suleiman; Faruk Adejoh-Audu, Mohammed Usman, Kola Ologbodiyan and Ben Duntoye.
Only three people are however vying for the position of National Organising Secretary.
They are Emeka Donald, Godwin Duru and Austin Akobundu.
Meanwhile, 11 governors elected on the platform of the party are said to be angry with the reported move of a former military dictator, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, to impose his front as the chairman of the party.
Babangida, who is being accused of contributing nothing to the party when it was in crisis, is alleged to be attempting to impose a candidate on the party as its national chairman.
A governor, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said rather than help in building the party, Babangida had been holding clandestine meetings aimed at disorganising the party.
The source said, “He wants to impose someone on the party because he has a candidate for the presidential slot of the party in 2019. We won’t agree to that.
“He has not identified with us. We didn’t see him during our trying times and all that. Now, because he has seen that there is a prospect for the party in 2019, he wants to plant his stooge here. It will fail.”
Also, aggrieved members of the party from Anambra State besieged the party’s secretariat in Abuja on Thursday protesting alleged acts of irregularities.
A former National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Olisa Metuh, who arrived at the party’s national secretariat with some PDP stakeholders in Anambra State, alleged that the list of delegates, sent from the state, had been fraudulently altered.
They accused a national officer of the party of being the brains behind the action and specifically urged the national leadership of the PDP to be wary of the said fake list by rejecting it.
The stakeholders made their position known in a communique at the end of a meeting on Wednesday night in Abuja, which they submitted to the Chairman of the PDP National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi.
Signatories to the communique include Metuh, Chris Ubah and Okey Ezenwa.
Another group of protesters equally submitted a petition to the national caretaker committee asking it to disqualify one of the aspirants for the position of the NOS.
The petition, which was signed by Onyebuchi Nwosu, alleged that the aspirant had engaged in acts of misappropriation and misconduct in running the party affairs in the past.
I’m ready for convention—Adeniran
Meanwhile, at a press briefing in Abuja, Adeniran declared that he was satisfied with responses to his petitions ahead of the convention, adding that he was ready for the convention.
Speaking through the director-general of his campaign organisation, Shehu Gabam, Adeniran said the governors elected on the platform of the party had agreed that the election would be transparent.
“We don’t have much to complain about. Most issues have been taken care of. We raised issues on the chairmanship of the electoral committee and the party responded. We now want to allow everything to lie,” he said.
Losers must accept defeat—Mark
A former President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, has told delegates to the Saturday’s PDP elective national convention to allow the will of the people to prevail and restore the dignity of the party.
Mark, in a message to the delegates, urged them to shun imposition of candidates and impunity, which he said, ruined the chances of the party in the previous elections.
“I am sure we have learnt some useful lessons from our electoral misfortune in 2015. We now have the opportunity to right the wrongs of the past by allowing the will of the people to prevail at the convention.”