Atiku: Besides SGF, S’West PDP Demands AGF, CoS

Atiku Abubakar

Expresses concerns about Fayose’s travails

Gboyega Akinsanmi

The South-West Zone of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has asked the party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to zone Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Chief of Staff to the President, among others, to the geo-political zone.

Also, the party has expressed concern about the travails of former Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), urging its members to stand with Fayose at his trying moment.

The PDP Vice-Chairman (South-west), Dr Eddy Olefeso made the request Friday night at a meeting of key members across the six states in the zone held in Lagos.

The meeting was attended by former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Chief Olabode George; Deputy National Chairman (South), Chief Yemi Akinwonmi and former National Vice Chairman of the party, Alhaji Tajudeen Oladipo, among others.

Former Minister of State for Defence, Mrs. Olusola Obada; former Ogun State Deputy Governor, Alhaja Makanjuola Badru and a member of the National Assembly, Sen. Abiodun Olujimi were equally present at the meeting.

At the meeting, Olafeso observed that though the promise of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) slot by Atiku was a good development, the zone deserved more key political and government positions.

The vice chairman explained that the zone had been schemed out in the power arrangement of the party for the past few years, noting that the presidential candidate should correct it when he assumed power in 2019.

For Atiku to give the zone a sense of belonging and compensate for the years of abandonment, Olafeso noted that he should zone key positions of the Chief of Staff to the President and Àttorney-General of the Federation to the South-West in addition to the SGF.

He said the South-west “has the second highest voting population in the country and will demand its fair share of political positions if PDP wins in 2019. We have been denied for too long.

“In 2011, Nigeria under the control of our party zoned the position of the Speaker of the House of Representatives to the zone and it was taken away.

“From 2011 to 2015, we were left just like that and the reverberating effect of that abandonment is the reason why we are still having the hangover of neglect till today.

“Now we are here again, the party is working with a zone with 14million votes, the second largest in the country. We refuse and we will not accept where we finish the job in the next election and for one reason or the other, we will not be considered.

“We don’t have to wait till after the election before we say what we want. We want to let the party and our candidate know that certain positions are strategic to governance and we want them.

“The SGF is great. But there is nothing wrong with having the Chief of Staff and Attorney-General on top of it to compensate us for the denials of the past, so that all of us can work as a united front. We will continue to fight for it, we will speak with a loud voice. We give so much, so the zone deserves a lot.”

While congratulating Atiku on his emergence, Olafeso said the zone was pleased with the choice of Obi, a former governor of Anambra State, as his running mate. He said the country was faced with serious economic challenges, and Obi had the pedigree that could realise the party’s economic vision for Nigeria.

Olafeso said the zone was concerned about the travails of former governor of Ekiti State, Mr Ayodele Fayose with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), over a case.

He urged members of the party to stand with Fayose at his trying moment, saying the former governor was paying for being truthful and standing against injustice.

According to him, I was in the court the last time and I am glad to tell you that he has been granted bail. We will do our best to ensure that he perfects his bail conditions and he is released soon.

Olafeso also said he was confident that the verdicts of the Osun and Ekiti governorship elections, where the All Progressives Congress was declared winner in both polls, would be upturned at the tribunal.

Olafeso urged members to be leave behind post-primaries disagreements and work together to ensure the party’s victory in 2019, noting that the party had come out of its recent factional crisis to emerge strong while expressing the confidence that it would dislodge APC in 2019.

Also speaking at the meeting, Akinwonmi observed that the party was working assiduously hard to wrestle power from the APC in 2019.

Nevertheless, the deputy chairman added that the party executive could not do it alone, calling on all members to do their bit to help achieve the electoral goal.