A former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, is reportedly under pressure to contest the chairmanship seat of the nation’s major opposition party – the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Reports said a delegation of prominent party leaders, including governors, National Assembly members, ex-governors and former Federal lawmakers, have visited him in Lagos to join the race ahead of the party’s convention.
A source who is familiar with the development was quoted saying the visit to Fayose came was “thorough deliberation by prominent PDP leaders who desire for a strong party leadership ahead of 2023 elections”.
The PDP is currently entangled in crisis as the party’s Governors’ Forum is divided over succession, following the suspension of the embattled chairman, Prince Uche Secondus.
Some governors want Secondus to complete his term, but Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike is adamant that he should vacate office and a new chairman should come on board in October.
Also, there is scheming in the opposition party by certain chieftains who, as the source put it, “does not want the continuation of Wike’s control of the party leadership”.
But there is no consensus on the selection of a candidate for the slot in the Southwest PDP.
According to the source, while prominent Northern PDP leaders are urging Fayose to run, other party leaders, led by Wike in the Southsouth, and Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde, are looking beyond the former Ekiti governor.
Party insiders confided revealed that Wike failed to elicit Fayose’s cooperation in his plot to oust Secondus while the friction between Makinde and Fayose over the control of Southwest machinery of the party persists.
If the slot is zoned to the Southwest, Makinde and Fayose may lock horns, reminiscent of the zonal congresses.
The source said apart from Fayose, former Osun State Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola and former Ondo State PDP governorship candidate Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) are also eyeing the position.
Oyinlola is a political disciple of former President Olusegun Obasanjo; Makinde and Wike may be rooting for Jegede, now that former Ogun State Governor Gbenga Daniel has defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
An associate of Fayose, who spoke in confidencce, said Fayose was being considered because of his fanatical loyalty to the platform and contributions to its development since 2002.
When contacted on phone, Fayose said he could not make any permutation when the party had not proposed or ratified a zoning formula.
He called for caution among Southwest stakeholders, saying the chairman, if it is zoned to the region, must be perceived as a victory for the region and not for individual glorification.