The crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party in the South-West over the zoning of national offices takes a new dimension today when 120 party leaders in the zone meet in Akure, the Ondo State capital, to discuss the issue.
Each of the six states in the zone is expected to send 20 representatives to the meeting.
The meeting, it was gathered, was called to discuss the discordant tunes arising from the region due to the failure of the zone to present a candidate for the office of the national chairman of the party.
The office, which is said to be meant to be zoned to the South-West, has been zoned to the North-East allegedly at the instance of a group in the zone loyal to Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and Senator Buruji Kashamu.
Kashamu, who is described as the financier of the party in the zone, was also said to have sponsored a delegation from the South-West, which claimed that the zone didn’t want the office of the national chairman of the PDP.
Prominent leaders of the party in the zone had denied the allegation, saying Buruji and his group, including Fayose, were speaking for themselves.
The meeting in Akure, according to sources, is meant to send a signal to the national leadership of the party that the zone is not going to accept what a source described as the “injustice done to it.”
A member of the Board of Trustees of the party, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, confirmed that the meeting would hold in Akure on Wednesday (today).
Babatope, who is also a former Minister of Transportation, said the meeting would take a stand on the decision of the zone.
He said at no time did the zone agree that it didn’t want the office of the National Chairman of the PDP, stating that those who took a position on the matter at the national secretariat of the party were not sent.
He said, “We didn’t say we don’t want the office. It is the turn of the people of the zone to present a candidate for the party. We have been relegated to the background and I can tell you that the injustice won’t stand.
“After the Akure meeting, we would come out with a strong word and communique to sound a note of warning to those who think they can take the people of the zone for granted in the party.”
Meanwhile, in order to neutralise the voice that might come out of the meeting, it was gathered that the National Chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, had mandated Kashamu to organise another meeting in his Ijebu Igbo home.
Sheriff, who is also interested in retaining his office, is being supported by Fayose and Kashamu.
Kashamu, representing Ogun East in the Senate, defended his decision to hold a parallel meeting, saying he was not directed to hold the meeting.
He told our correspondent, through his spokesperson, Mr. Austin Oniyokor, on Tuesday that he was sure of pulling a bigger crowd to Ijebu Igbo than the Akure meeting.
He added, “We have invited all members of the BoT from the zone. A member of the BoT, Alhaji Shuaib Oyedokun, will chair the meeting.
“We have invited all PDP past and serving governors from the zone, past and serving members of the state Assembly, governorship candidates and their deputies in the 2015 election, 50 leaders from each of the states apart from those already listed.
“The agenda is to deliberate on the offices zoned to the South-West and how to share the offices among the states.”