The South-West Zone of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on Atiku Abubakar, the party’s presidential candidate, to give more key positions to the zone if he emerges as President.
Dr Eddy Olefeso, South-West Vice-Chairman of the party, stated this on Friday in Lagos at a meeting of key PDP members across the six states in the zone.
According to NAN, the meeting, which lasted hours, was attended by Chief Olabode George, a former PDP Deputy National Chairman; Chief Yemi Akinwonmi, the current Deputy National Chairman (South), and a former National Vice Chairman of the party, Alhaji Tajudeen Oladipo.
Also present were former Minister of State for Defence, Mrs Sola Obada; a former Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Alhaja Makanjuola Badru; and a member of the National Assembly, Sentaor Abiodun Olujimi.
Mr Seyi Makinde and Ladi Adebutu, both PDP governorship candidates in Oyo and Ogun states, respectively, as well as a former governorship aspirant in Osun State, Chief Akin Ogunbiyi were also at the meeting.
Olafeso commended Atiku’s promise of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) position to the zone, but noted that the zone deserved more key political and government positions.
Olafeso said for Atiku to give the zone a sense of belonging and compensate “for the years of abandonment”, he should also zone key positions of the Chief of Staff to the President and Àttorney-General of the Federation to the South-West.
He said: “We have been denied for too long. In 2011, the country 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.
“And 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 14 million 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.
“Yes, 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.”
He congratulated Atiku on his emergence as the presidential candidate, and noted that the zone was pleased with the choice of Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra State, as his running mate.