The Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, has thrown his weight behind the decision of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to zone office of the national chairman of the party to the North.
This is just as he declared support for the incumbent, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, to retain the seat during the May 21 national convention of the PDP in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
Mr. Fayose, who said he belongs to the school of thought that believes “old faces” in the party should take the back seat, added it was for that reason he refused to support a former deputy national chairman of the PDP, Chief Olabode George, for the position of national chairman.
He said: “I have a lot of respected for Chief Bode George, he is our leader, we will continue to respect him but when it comes to the nitty gritty, where is the interest? You must find out the underlining factors.
“Chief Bode George told me personally that he wants to be national chairman of the party, I told him ‘no’, I won’t support him.
“With all due respect to the elderly people in this party, they must take the backstage. People are tired of seeing the same old faces again.
“I have been hearing Ahmadu Alli since 1976 when we sang ‘Alli must go’ in secondary school. Chief Bode George has been governor of Ondo State almost 40 years ago. They are our leaders and we love them but they should take the backstage”.
The Ekiti governor also disagreed with the notion that the southwest had been divided over the zoning recently approved by the PDP National Executive Committee, NEC, dismissing the meeting reportedly held to discuss the zone’s seeming disapproval.
According to him, the absence of PDP’s southwest governors at the meeting was an indication that the meeting did not represent the general opinion of the southwest.
“Chief Bode George was the convener of that meeting. Most people that came to that meeting did not know what they were coming for. We are in very peculiar times when we need to address issues differently”, he warned.
Fayose also blamed the PDP founding fathers for the party’s electoral defeat in 2015 saying “The grandfathers of PDP lost it in 2015, it’s (now) a new beginning, and they should pocket those stories”.
Governor Fayose insisted that the old members lacked the capacity to rebuild the party and mentioned former presidential spokesman, Dr. Doyin Okupe, as one of those who have approached him on the position but would not support.
On the PDP zoning arrangement, which has now paved the way for Sheriff to retain the seat which he controversially got appointed to, about two months ago, Fayose revealed that every member of the party’s zoning committee voted for the northeast to retain the position of national chairman.
On allegations that he betrayed the southwest region where he belongs, the governor said, “I was the very first person to look out for Senator Bode Olajumoke (as national chairman) mentioning that it must come to the southwest”.
“But how many of them came or publicly said ‘I want to contest’? You don’t give positions to unwilling horses”, he added.
Gov. Fayose went head to declare his support for Sheriff saying, “He is the incumbent and he is still going to win this election”.