As the Peoples Democratic Party’s national convention draws nearer, feelers from South-south region of the country shows that leaders of the party are not comfortable giving George Turnah, former President Goodluck Jonathan’s godson, space at the top.
Turnah who is vying for the position of PDP national vice chairman at the forthcoming national convention is being confronted with strong resistance from his people who are vehemently questioning his motive and agenda.
Presently, his political aspiration appears to be creating cracks in the party as governors elected on PDP platform have vowed to stop the ambition totally, citing reasons ranging from age, constituency and undue allowance.
Some party members perceive Turnah in the light of Dr. Bukola Saraki of the All Progressive Congress who went against APC interest to contest for the position of Senate President, saying that Turnah should not express interest in the South-south vice chairmanship seat which the zone (South-south) had pledged to Prince Uche Secondus.
Speaking on behalf of others from the zone, a governor from the zone said that the idea of Turnah running for the position of deputy national chairman of PDP was ridiculous.
“If we must be sincere about fairness and due process in PDP, someone like Turnah should learn rather than bragging about his hitherto political influence. Our party does not want his type of person as deputy national chairman, considering the fact that he is too young to handle pressures from state governors and several distinguished leaders of our great party”
“It is indeed a disturbing development that requires stakeholders to convince Turnah to step aside so that our party can remain effective” the governor said.
According to the party’s scheming the vice chairmanship position is expected to come from Akwa-Ibom\Cross River axis where Secondus comes from meaning that someone from Bayelsa state should not go for the position.
But the entire scheme appear strange to Turnah who without any iota of deterrence is urging those saying that he is too young to handle the enormous task of leading an opposition party at national cadre to have a rethink, he met recently with former Information minister and Second Republic senator, Chief Edwin Clark at his Asokoro residence to discuss issues which are assumed to be in connection to his vice chairmanship ambition.
Not knowing precisely the outcome of Turnah’s Abuja meeting with Chief Edwin Clark, political observers are calling on both PDP and Turnah to tread cautiously to avoid endangering the confidence that the masses are beginning to have on the party.
Besides, concerned stakeholders of the party are currently working hard to ensure that 2019 election comes out successful. A group within the People’s Democratic Party, Concerned Stakeholders, has asked the Head of the People’s Democratic Party’s Reconciliation Committee, Prof. Jerry Gana, to address the root cause of the party’s protracted crisis.
According to the group, the 2019 presidential election is the root of the crisis rocking the PDP.
The group, in a statement issued on Thursday by its patron, Prof. Tayo Adeyemi, said it was important for the Gana-led committee to ensure fairness in the party.
The Concerned Stakeholders insisted that the PDP governors had no right to impose a candidate on the party for the position of the national chairman.
The group said, “So, it’s obvious that the 2019 presidential election is the origin of the crisis in the PDP. However, nobody has even considered trying to find out what the people actually want, that is the big problem in the PDP. The people will reject this imposition of candidates’’.
Earlier, the PDP zoning committee headed by Governor Dave Umahi had on July 26 revealed the zoning arrangement to be adopted in electing members of the National Working Committee (NWC) at the forthcoming national convention slated for August 17th. In the report, the committee allocated 11 offices to the North while 10 offices were allocated to the south.
The positions zoned to Northern zones are Deputy National Chairman 2; National Secretary; National Financial Secretary; National Publicity Secretary; National Auditor; National Woman Leader; Deputy National Treasurer; Deputy National Organising Secretary; Deputy National Youth Leader; Deputy National Legal Adviser and Deputy National Secretary.
The positions zoned to southern geopolitical zones by the committee are National Chairman; Deputy National Chairman 1; National Treasurer; National Legal Adviser; National Youth Leader; National Organising Secretary; Deputy National Publicity Secretary; Deputy National Woman Leader; Deputy National Auditor and Deputy National Financial Secretary.
However, the three zones in the north have met and amicably shared the offices among themselves.
In the sharing arrangement, states in the North Central are to share among themselves offices of Deputy National Secretary, National Publicity Secretary, National Financial Secretary and Deputy National Organising Secretary.
The North West zone states are to share offices of National Secretary, National Woman Leader, Deputy National Treasurer, and Deputy Legal Adviser.
The states in the North East were allotted offices of National Deputy Chairman 2, National Auditor and Deputy National Youth Leader.
A party leader who wants to be anonymous said that, Governor Nyesom Wike backed by his colleague in Cross River, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom states have been pushing for the office of National Chairman to be zoned to the South-South and are already networking for Prince Uche Secondus who acted as National Chairman for some months following the resignation of Adamu Mu’azu when the party lost the 2015 general elections.
It was gathered that the stakeholders from Rivers State have been making entreaties to other party leaders in the South East with a view to getting their support in titling the pendulum of chairmanship position to the South-South.
According to PDP rules, the allocation of the biggest office must have ripple effects on the sharing of other offices, which in this case, is the National Chairman Seat allocated to the south.
However, the party stakeholders in the South West are said to have settled for the candidature of Chief Bode George even as other candidates like former Ogun State Governor, Gbenga Daniel, Prof Tunde Adeniran and Jimi Agbaje are said to have also indicated interest in the job.