Following last minute highwire politics and horse trading, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, emerged as the lone candidate from the South West aspiring for the position of the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
With this development, the race has now been narrowed to three candidates, Prince Uche Secondus, Prof Adeniran and Chief Raymond Dokpesi.
Seven aspirants from the zone had initially declared interest for the plum position and had remained in the race until late Friday when Chief Bode George withdrew from the race over the inability of the party to enforce micro zoning as well as the zones inability to arrive at a consensus candidate.
But as the contest was getting closer, Jimi Agbaje threw in the towel and was later followed by the former Oyo State Governor Rashidi Ladoja, his Ogun State counterpart, Otunba Gbenga Daniel and Aderemi who is the youngest and latest entrant.
Ladoja and Daniel disclosed their withdrawal from the race shortly before the commencement of voting, thereby leaving the race for the trio of Secondus, Dokpesi and Adeniran.
It was however doubtful if their supporters would be adequately informed before voting commences as the two aspirants did not have enough time to make their withdrawal public but through messages and statements made available to the media.
In a statement, Ladoja said his decision was anchored on the realisation that the fewer the candidates from the South-West zone, the better the chances of the South-West to produce the chairman at the elective convention.
The statement reads in part, “At the close of nominations, seven aspirants from the South-West Zone obtained and returned nomination forms for the position of the national chairman of our party, the PDP.
“From consultations with stakeholders from various zones, we gathered that from all zones, the stakeholders who preferred to back the South-West zone for the position, suggested that we should prune down the number, if possible, to one person.”
Ladoja, who just returned to the PDP and was given a waiver, added that given the support of the north for the South-West; it was only expected that the zone will reciprocate to make the dream a reality.
However, the campaign office of Gbenga Daniel is yet to give reasons for his withdrawal.
Myke Uzendu and Oluchi Okoroafor