PDP Chairmanship: Mimiko Joins Race, May Declare Next Week

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SAMUEL ALONGE

The immediate past governor of Ondo State,Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, has joined the race for the chairmanship position of the Peoples Democratic Party,

sharpedgenews.com learnt at the weekend.

Mimiko, according to an impeccable source close to him, was drafted into the race by some powerful forces within the party during the August 12 non-elective National Convention held in Abuja.

Though shocked himself at the prompting that he should vie for the party’s highest office, the former governor, the source hinted, eventually agreed to give it a shot, leveraging on his high profile within the party.

Following the sack of Senator Alli Modu Sheriff as chairman of the party by the Supreme Court, which upheld the caretaker leadership of Senator Ahmed Makarfi, three leading contenders had emerged for the coveted office of the party chairman.

They are: a former deputy national chairman (South) of the party, Chief Olabode George; former PDP governorship candidate in Lagos State, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, and owner of Daar Communications broadcast media, Chief Raymond Dokpesi.

While Dokpesi is from Edo State in the South-South region, George and Agbaje are from Lagos, in the South-West.

But the party’s caucus had recently zoned the position to the South-West, a move which Dokpesi kicked against, insisting that zoning was alien to the party’s constitution.

A top source within the party, however, told sharpedgenews.com that the Dokpesi camp may have resigned to fate and now appears to be supporting Mimiko's candidature, all with a view to puncturing what it considers “the ego of Bode George, who seems to have overshadowed Agbaje in Lagos and some parts of the South-West.”

Curiously, however, an online publication on Wednesday published a damning report indicating that Mimiko may be having a case with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over a N1bn slush money given to the Ondo State PDP by the office of the embattled former national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki.

The report said the Ondo PDP chairman, Mr. Clement Faboyede, was detained and grilled by the EFCC over the controversial money and that he allegedly confessed to the operatives of the anti-graft body that Mimiko made him to sign for the N1bn, though the money was shared across the board.

But in a swift reaction, an aide to Mimiko, who would not want his name mentioned because of the sensitivity of the issue, told our correspondent that, “The EFCC angle brought in to discredit my boss is highly political and we know that it is being sponsored by a Lagos politician who feels threatened.

“It is as ridiculous as it does not add up. Faboyede is a man in his 50s; he is not a kid. How could he have been told by Mimiko to sign that he collected N1bn, when he knew the money was not meant for him.

“This has come to show you that they are all looking for a way to make the party disqualify Mimiko from contesting. As far as I know, the EFCC is not looking for Mimiko, neither has it declared him wanted. Go to the commission’s office and confirm."

The aide added that Mimiko was the most qualified candidate among all the contenders, having contributed immensely while he was the chairman of the PDP Governors' Forum.

“Besides, he has done all he can to ensure that the defeat of the party at the 2015 presidential election does not in any way affect the morale of major stakeholders in the party.

“And by the grace of God, he (Mimiko) will announce his candidature next week with the greatest ambition of uniting the party and bringing it back on a strong footing,” the source disclosed.

Meanwhile, George has declared that he's contesting the chairmanship position of the party, insisting that the party needed an experienced party leader like him, citing his old age as an asset in ensuring that all contending forces in the party are united.

SharpEdge

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