Dr. Doyin Okupe, the former Special Adviser on Public Affairs to ex-President, Goodluck Jonathan has warned that big shots of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, from the South-west geopolitical zone may dump the party in their numbers if the zone is prevented from producing the next national chairman of the party.
Okupe, during a chat with Premium Times last night, revealed that party leaders in the zone recently met in Ikoyi, Lagos, and took a position on how to respond if the zone is “robbed” at the party’s national convention coming up in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital, next month.
Some of the PDP leaders present at the meeting included a former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Olabode George; the governorship candidate of the party in Lagos in the 2015 election, Jimi Agbaje and Gbenga Daniel, a former governor of Ogun State.
A former Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory, Olajumoke Akinjide; a former Minister of Works, Adeseye Ogunlewe and party chieftain, Bode Olajumoke were also at the meeting, Mr. Okupe said.
“We took a firm position which was that we will dump the party en masse if we get robbed again at this year’s convention,” Mr. Okupe said, even as he advised Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom state to resist pressure from politicians and do the right thing by zoning the chairmanship position of the PDP to the southwest geopolitical zone.
Okupe warned that Udom’s final decision would determine if history would judge him kindly or as a villain, adding that the only way the party could atone for the relegation of the Yoruba people was to let the south-west nominate the next chairman.
His words, “Governor Udom is a young gentleman whom I believe still has a long future in Nigerian politics ahead of him.
“It will be unfortunate if he allowed himself to be used to relegate Yoruba people within the affairs of the party once again. The PDP has done a lot of wrongs to the Yoruba people and our position now is that they should start making amends by allowing us to present the next chairman.”
Mr. Okupe also argued that since the PDP had already zoned its presidential ticket in 2019 to the north, zoning the party’s topmost position to the same zone would amount to “robbery and betrayal’ on the part of the party’s leadership.
“As you can see from the rally that was held by PDP yesterday in Jigawa State, it’s very clear that the presidential slot is going to the north, so I don’t think the chairmanship should go back to the same north unless they’re determined to carry out another robbery and betrayal against the southwest.”
Okupe advised Udom to remember when the Yoruba was at the forefront of Nigeria, fighting for the plight of the minorities across the country, especially in the South-south and in the North.
“Nigerian history is replete with several instances in which the Yoruba people led the struggle for the actualisation of the minority agenda in the country, we fought for the people of south-south and the minorities in the north to have a say about the process of governance in this country, so it will be an utmost betrayal if Udom failed to let the chairmanship position come to the south-west as should be,” he said.
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