By Bolaji Buhari
Lagos – A national chairmanship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, said on Monday that his endorsement alongside two other aspirants by the South West caucus of the party ‘s Board of Trustees (BOT) was for the party’s progress.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the BOT caucus had in a document issued on Nov. 3 endorsed Adeniran, a former Minister of Education; Chief Bode George, former Deputy National Chairman of the party, and Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, a former Minister of Sports, for the party ‘s top position.
Alhaji Shuaib Oyedokun, who signed the document on behalf of other members of the caucus, said the decision was to ensure the South West produced the next chairman and that quality leadership should at the convention.
He said in arriving at the three candidates, the members considered such factors as acceptability, vision, experience, perception by members, winning chances, educational exposure among others.
Oyedokun said the move was also to reduce election expenditure and avoid splitting of south west votes, and the ultimate objective was to arrive at a consensus candidate for the zone.
He, however, said the endorsement was without prejudice to the right of aspirants to contest and did not preclude aspirants like former Ogun state governor, Chief Gbenga Daniel; former Oyo governor, Sen. Rasheed Ladoja; and a chieftain of the party in Lagos State, Mr Jimi Agbaje, from contesting at the convention.
Reacting, Adeniran told NAN through the Director -General of his campaign organisation, Chief Olukayode Akindele in Lagos that what the BOT members had done was for the progress of the party.
He said what the PDP needed was a strong leadership, and that was what the BOT members aimed to achieve with the endorsement.
“The prunning down of aspirants to three by the BOT members is a step in the right direction.
“These are elders in the party who know what is good for the party and have taken a step to ensure the party gets the best.
“It is not about personalities; it is about leadership. It is about giving the best to the party at this critical time that we are coming out of some challenges.
“They have not said those not shortlisted cannot contest; they are only saying the endorsed aspirants meet important criteria necessary for leadership.
“It is a step in the right direction, and for us, we thank the Almighty God for the endorsement,” he said.
Adeniran insisted that he remained the best out of the three shortlisted candidates to lead the party to glory.
He said he was a consistent and a dedicated member who had been with the party through thick and thin.
The former minister said as a founding member of the party, he knew the party inside out and had the experience to pilot it to greatness.
He expressed the hope and confidence that he would emerge the next chairman of the party based on the support he enjoyed among party members.
NAN reports that the party will elect new national executive officers at its national convention on Dec. 9.