Chief Bode George, a member of the PDP Board of Trustees, yesterday announced his withdrawal from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Chairmanship seat race.
George made this announcement at an ongoing press conference in Abuja citing abuse of the party’s zoning formula as reason for his pulling out of the race.
Chief George was one of the nine candidates cleared for the contest at the national convention of the party set to hold in Abuja today.
The remaining aspirants for the PDP chairmanship position at Saturday’s convention include, Prince Uche Secondus, Chief Gbenga Daniel, Mr Jimi Agbaje, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, Prof Tunde Adeniran, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi and Mr. Aderemi Olusegun.
However, there are alleged rumors that Mr Jimi Agbaje has equally joined Chief Bode George in puuling out of the PDP chairmanship seat contest.
Prince Uche Secondus seems to be the preferred candidate for the position; Secondus’ position as the leading candidate was further reiterated yesterday after the South-East caucus of the party endorsed him. However, other forces within the party were still fighting back with the South-West caucus and Dr. Dokpesi mobilizing to stop him.
Saturday Vanguard learnt yesterday that at least two of the candidates from the South-West had agreed to step down, but those two were unwilling to go through with their plans until they knew who they would step down for.
Saturday Vanguard could not confirm how the late withdrawal of Chief Bode George from the contest would affect them as at least one of them had indicated he would not withdraw for George. A final decision by the South-West caucus is not expected to be made until this morning and may be circulated on the convention ground.
One source privy to the consultations said that the South-West could enter the election with two chairmanship candidates.
As part of the efforts to ensure a credible election, Saturday Vanguard gathered that delegates would be expected to vote in batches of three states at a time for all the 21 positions available including the four positions not being contested for.
Voting is not expected to start until after the process of amendments of some provisions of the constitution of the party including an amendment to allow former governors and former deputy governors as statutory delegates.
As a way of reducing the bad blood among the camps of some of the leading chairmanship candidates, the Okowa Committee had made them to sign undertakings to abide by the process and accept the results. All eight candidates still in the race as at yesterday it was learnt signed the undertaking, albeit on the provision that the process went according to laid down provisions.