EXCLUSIVE: PDP Govs Back Agbaje For National Chairman | Independent Newspapers Limited
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EXCLUSIVE: PDP Govs Back Agbaje For National Chairman

Jimi Agbaje
Posted: Aug 11, 2016 at 3:14 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

* It’s a lie – Babatope

Temidayo Akinsuyi

Lagos – Governors on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have thrown their weight behind Mr. Jimi Agbaje, the party’s 2015 governorship candidate in Lagos State, in his quest to become the National Chairman of the PDP.

The PDP currently has 12 governors from the 36 states of the federation: five from the South-South, two from the South-West, four from the South-East, and one from the North-East.

Sources in the party said Agbaje has already secured the support of eight of the governors while the remaining four are undecided, assessing his experience and capacity to steer the affairs of the party and reposition it ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Agbaje has been visiting PDP states across the country, meeting stakeholders on what he has to offer, if elected the party’s National Chairman.

He was also in Imo State on Monday during the PDP congress at the Kanu Nwankwo Sports Centre, Aladinma, Owerri, where he met former Deputy Speaker of the House of Reps,  Hon. Emeka Ihedioha.  He also paid a courtesy visit to another PDP chieftain, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu.

Independent learnt that many of the governors prefer Agbaje because they believe that there should be a new order in the party.

Agbaje told newsmen about his aspiration: “Initially I never showed any interest. I was just here minding my business until some key leaders of the party approached me and asked me to contest so I can help reposition the party.”

A reliable source in the PDP who did not want his name in print said, “The governors believe that there is need to have a new order in the party.

“They want a situation whereby the elderly ones in the party such as Chief Olabode George, Tunde Adeniran and others who are foundation members of the party should take the back stage and offer advisory roles to the younger ones, who will be directing the affairs of the party.

“Many of the governors also believe that, aside the fact that  Agbaje has an unblemished record as a politician and is level-headed, he doesn’t belong to any faction in the party,” the source said.

A member of the party’s Board of Trustees also told Independent that the idea to field Agbaje for the number one position in the party was mooted by Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State and his counterpart in Ondo, Olusegun Mimiko.

According to him, the governors are not disposed to the aspiration of George because “they believe that, as a former officer in the military, he will be less controlled and may not yield to the whims and caprices of the governors.

“The governors want a chairman they can relate with and dictate to. They know they can’t find such a person in Chief George,” he said.

Fayose has denounced the aspiration of George to become national chairmanship. He said members of the party were tired of old men running the party as they were responsible for its fall from power in 2015.

He said: “I have a lot of respect for Chief Bode George, he is our leader, we will continue to respect him, but, when it comes to the nitty-gritty, where is the interest? You must find out the underlying factors.

“Chief Bode George told me personally that he wants to be national chairman of the party. I told him, no, I won’t support him. With all due respect to the elderly people in this party, they must take the back stage. People are tired of seeing the same old faces.”

However, Chief Ebenezer  Babatope, former Minister of Transport, has denied reports that some PDP governors were backing Agbaje to vie for the number one position in the party.

“The governors are not backing him. He is telling lies all over the place” he said.

Similarly, Adegbola  Dominic, a chieftain of the party, said Fayose was on the side of George.

“He may have reluctantly agreed to support Chief Bode George but he has eventually agreed. He is a key part of the project to elect Chief Bode George as the party’s national chairman,” Dominic said.