The zone’s governors and leaders said they would attend Saturday’s national convention as a united front. They are backing former Interim Chairman Uche Secondus for the coveted seat.
Their stand has paved the way for a major crisis, with Southwest aspirants warming up to fight for the seat.
The party chiefs spoke at the PDP Zonal Congress hosted in Port Harcourt by Governor Nyesom Wike.
Besides Secondus and Chief Raymond Dokpesi, all other chairmanship aspirants are from the Southwest, which is seeking the micro zoning of the position to the region, being the only one yet to produce a chairman since the PDP was founded in 1998.
One of the Southsouth leaders and one-time Foreign Affairs Minister, Chief Tom Ikimi, said the PDP could not “afford to allow the Southwest produce the chairman because it is prone to crises.” He did not elaborate.
Senate Minority Leader Senator Godswill Akpabio said for the stability of the PDP, it was necessary for the chairman to come from the Southsouth.
“It is important we stabilise the PDP. That is why we need a chairman of PDP from the Southsouth, “ he said.
Wike said the PDP was existing because of the “investment and commitment” of its Southsouth members and leaders.
He urged PDP members from other zones to extend their gratitude to leaders and members of the PDP from the Southsouth for their commitment to the party’s survival.
He added: “If PDP leaders and members from the Southsouth are not committed, there wouldn’t have been PDP today.
”It is important that PDP members from other zones of the country congratulate Southsouth PDP members for their steadfastness at a time PDP was in crisis “.
He urged PDP members from the Southsouth to remain resolute in their support for the party.
”We are going as a family and we will continue to work as a family. We will not allow any external force to divide the Southsouth. We will continue to be together, “ Wike said.
Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson said: “We are in very trying times. We are in opposition, facing a very fierce and ruthless government at the Federal level.
This is a time the governors need your support.”
National Vice Chairman (Southsouth), Mr. Emmanuel Ogidi said that the Southsouth would work with other zones to strengthen the party.