***Knocks out Ladoja, Daniel, Agbaje, others
Against the backdrop of too many South West aspirants in the race for the chairmanship of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP’), the South West Board of Trustees (BOT) caucus has pruned down the number to three with a view to picking one of the trio as a consensus candidate for the office .
This was contained in a document dated November 3, 2017 signed by a member of the BOT and a one time Deputy National Chairman of the Party, on behalf of other members, Alhaji Shuaibu Oyedokun.
The document was made available to newsmen in Abuja yesterday.
According to the document, the three shortlisted for the December 9 contest are Professor Taoheed Adedoja, one time Sports and Special Duties Minister, Chief Olabode George, Former National Vice and Deputy Chairman of the Party as well as the former Military Governor of the old Ondo State and Professor Tunde Adeniran, Former Education Minister and former Nigeria Ambassador to Germany.
Incidentally, the three short listed aspirants were founding members of the party and the duo of George and Adeniran are members of BoT.
Those that were knocked out of the race, according to the document are Senator Rashidi Ladoja former Oyo State Governor and until recently the founder and National Leader of the Accord Party (AP), Otunba Gbenga Daniel, former Ogun State Governor, Profesor Wale Oladipo, the immediate past National Secretary of the Party, Jimi Agbaje, the gubernatorial candidate of the party in Lagos State in the 2015 election and Akin-Deko Akintayo from Ondo State.
The document said the caucus picked Chief Bode George to represent Ogun- Lagos axis, Prof Toaheed Adedoja from Osun- Oyo axis and Prof. Tunde Adenirn from. Ekiti and Ondo axis respectively.
The caucus said that its action was informed by the “Numerous calls and wise counsel from several quarters to prune down the number of contestants to a manageable number.”
The caucus also seeks “to improve the chance of South West to clinch the position of the National Chairman of the party at the Convention and to “assist the voting process on the election day”.
Other reasons for pruning down the number of aspirants is to “reduce tension, rancour and friction that may rise before, during and after the Convention among the winner and other contestants and to “reduce expenditure for non-recommended contestants.
The caucus also wanted to.”Present manageable list of contestants from the South West to compete favourably with any other contestant (s) from any other Zone (s)from the south, “to avoid splitting of votes among contestants from the South West and “to provide soft landing for non-recommended aspirants “.
It pointed out that it had, “in the over all interest of the Party and after wide and due consultations, we have been taken cognizance of various factors such as experience, acceptability across Nigeria, Educational exposure, vision, public percepection, international visibility, wining chances, Party standing nation wide, members perception and expectations
According to it, “below is the list of aspirants recommended by the South-West Members of the Board of Trustees to contest from the South- West at the National Convention of the party
“This recommendation by the Board of Trustees is without prejudice to the right of any contestant outside the recommended list to contest, it is also without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the provisions of the constitution of our great party
“Adedoja Taoheed Prof. (Oyo state)
Adeniran Tundae Prof (Ekiti State) and George Olabode Chief ( Lagos State)” .
The caucus however promised that efforts were on top gear to prune the shortlisted to only single one after further wide consultations ahead of the National Convention slated for December 9 this year in Abuja.