Following the controversy trailing the appointment of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman and the zone to produce his successor come May when he is expected to step aside, the Senator representing Ogun East Senatorial District and Chairman, Organisation and Mobilisation Committee of the (PDP) in the South West, Senator Buruji Kashamu, has advised the Acting Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Jubril Walid and a member of the BoT from Osun State, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, to canvass their positions without abusing others who do not agree with them.
In a statement he issued Wednesday in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, at the venue of a South West PDP Stakeholders Meeting, Senator Kashamu said: “With respect to the comments in today’s newspapers by the Acting Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Jubril Walid, I wish to say that we are not “praise singers”. Rather, we are realists and lovers of our great party.
“We are of the view that our great party runs the risk of being branded a regional party because of the decline in the electoral fortunes of the party in the North. The PDP controls 10 of the 17 states in the South, with 10 Governors, 32 senators and 96 members of the House of Representatives, and still counting. Conversely, in the whole of North, the PDP controls only two states, with two governors, 15 senators and about 30 members of the House of Representatives.
“Already, the national leadership of the party has zoned the Presidency to the North. It is not too much to retain the National Chairmanship in the North for now, just as the South South had the Presidency and the Chairman of the BoT and the South West had the Presidency for 8 years as well the Speaker of the House of Representatives for 4 years at a time.
“As stated in the position paper, our call for the North to retain the National Chairmanship of the party does not necessarily mean the incumbent National Chairman, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff should elongate his tenure. It also does not forbid any other zone from showing interest in the position. No one person or group can deny any member of the same party the right to aspire to any office or vote and be voted for. We are in a democracy, not autocracy. We have canvassed our views, let those with contrary opinions or positions put forward theirs. We need not abuse one another.
“On the comments by one of our foremost leaders in the South West PDP, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, that I want to “bully South West leaders…because I came into emergency money”; the fact is that leadership is earned; and it comes with responsibilities. Our leaders should learn to bear the burden of leadership so as to be well-positioned for the privileges that come with it. Leadership should not just be shown when there are positions to be shared or filled.
“I also wish to respectfully state that I did not come into any “emergency money”. I have been trading in commodities since I was 18 years and I built my first house in 1978/79 in Ikotun Egbe, a Lagos suburb from savings made from the sweat of my brows. Since then, the Almighty Allah Subhana wa tala has been merciful to me, with visible investments in manufacturing, property, hospitality and automobile across the West African Coast.
“The records are there for any objective mind to see. No amount of name-calling or blackmail will stop me from pursuing a cause that I and other well-meaning leaders of the party in the South West and beyond believe is in the best interest of our party and country.”