PDP Chairman, Secondus, Jonathan reach out to angry Southwest leaders

The leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are considering options on how to pacify the Southwest region, following protest from its leaders.

Why it matters: Just hours before the PDP National Convention where Uche Secondus emerged as the winner, Bode George and five other Southwest candidates pulled out of the race.

Although Jimi Agbaje claimed they stepped down so as to prune the number of Southwest contenders to two, Bode George explicitly stated that he was not happy with what was going on.

Bottom line: The zone failed to realise its bid to produce the national chairman for the first time since the party was formed in 1998 as a result of the opposition from the party’s governors.

It was learnt that the PDP governors hijacked the party’s structure to have a say in the 2019 presidential plans of the party, secure second term tickets for eight of the party’s 11 governors and for the remaining three to be able to anoint their successors.

The reactions: In a bid to rally support for National Chairman Prince Uche Secondus, former President Goodluck Jonathan has reached out to aggrieved PDP members.

Jonathan visited his ally, former Minister of National Planning Prof. Abubakar Olanrewaju Suleiman, who lost the post of National Publicity Secretary to the “Unity List” candidate, Kola Ologbodiyan.

The former President urged PDP leaders and members to give the Secondus team the “benefit of the doubt”.

Secondus himself initiated reconciliation with PDP leaders in the Southwest, meeting yesterday with a former Deputy National Chairman, Olabode George, in Abuja.

Bayelsa Governor Seriake Dickson was also expected to hold talks with defeated chairmanship aspirant Prof. Tunde Adeniran.

Jonathan pleaded with Prof Suleiman and other leaders of the party, who felt offended by the results of the elective convention, to forgive and forget.

He said, “We should give the new executives of PDP some benefit of the doubt and see how things work out. If we fail to support them, we are not helping the party.”

He told Suleiman, “I thank you for your doggedness and passion for PDP.

You did well and members of our party know you are the best among the competitors. Put the events of Saturday night behind you and move on. Accept the outcome of the election as the wish of God.

You should not allow yourself to be stampeded into any untoward action. I know better things await you. We cannot afford to lose you.”

Suleiman, who praised the former President for his solidarity visit, said nobody or group could intimidate others out of PDP.

He said, “I thank you for your compassionate posture. You are a consummate leader worthy of emulation. Your visit has inspired me more on my commitment to PDP.

I promise to take to your advice. The party is ours and nobody or group of people can intimidate us out of the party. I thank you and other members of your entourage for the confidence reposed in me.”

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