One office, eight contenders – all of them from the South. Two are from the Southsouth; six are from the Southwest and none from the Southeast. They are all warming up for the intra-party poll as if it is a general election.
Who wears the crown tomorrow? Will the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) remain the same after the Abuja convention? Who are the major forces backing the aspirants? Will the national congress be hitch-free? It is an anxious moment for the opposition party.
Many believe that the race is between Adeniran and Chief Uche Secondus, the former acting chairman. Secondus is a former organising secretary and deputy national chairman of the party. He has been endorsed by the Southsouth stakeholders. Secondus has the advantage of being backed by the PDP governors, who have overwhelming influence on the majority of delegates. The governors have reiterated their opposition to the candidature of septuagenarians in the race. They are calling for generational shift. Secondus has said that he has what it takes to make the PDP regain control at the centre in 2019.
Prof. Adeniran a political scientist and former university don is from Ekiti State. He served briefly as Education Minister under former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Prof. Adeniran is the candidate of senior chieftains from the North, led by Senator Jerry Gana and Senator Ibrahim Mantu. Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who recently defected to the party, is also rooting for him. He has promised to restore internal democracy, if elected.
Chief Olabode George, a retired Commodore and former deputy national chairman, is the oldest and the most experienced contender. He is from Lagos State. George is confident, bold and brave. His major priority is to halt the trend of impunity in the opposition party and promote justice. Those backing him are Northern party elders, led by the former Chairman, Dr. Ahmadu Ali, other chieftains in the Southwest. The stalwart has been endorsed by delegates from Lagos.
Otunba Gbenga Daniel is the former Ogun State governor. He has been endorsed by Ogun PDP stakeholders. Daniel has traversed the six zones soliciting for support. He promised to return the party to the path of the rule of law.
Agbaje is perceived as a politician without a baggage. He is the former Lagos State PDP governorship candidate. Although PDP governors mounted pressures on him to obtain the deputy chairmanship form, he has insisted on serving as chairman. Agbaje has not been visible on the campaign field.
Chief Raymond Dokpesi’s support base is unknown. He is popular as a media mogul. It is not certain if delegates from his native Edo State are supporting him. But, yesterday, he reaffirmed his interest in the position, saying that he is still in the race.
Prof. Taoheed Adedoja hails from Oyo State. He is a former Provost, College of Education (Special), Oyo, one-time Oyo State Commissioner for Education and served as Minister of Sports and Special Duties. His support base is narrow. Those backing him are unknown.
Senator Rashidi Ladoja, former Oyo State governor joined the race very late. But, he has been endorsed by Oyo State chapter of the party. PDP governors have approached him to consider the option of the deputy chairman. His push for a consensus candidate from the Southwest never sailed through. However, for him, the race is not a do or die affair.