Jimi Agbaje, one of the contenders for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chairmanship position, has withdrawn from the race.
Agbaje announced his withdrawal in a letter he wrote to the chairman of the party’s national convention planning committee.
His withdrawal came shortly after Bode George, also a contender in the race, withdrew alleging fraud in the convention.
Agbaje said his reason for withdrawing is to increase the chance of the south-west producting the next chairman of the PDP.
The party zoned the chairmanship slot to the southern region of the country and of the eight contenders, six are from the south-west while two are from the south-south.
In the letter seen by TheCable, Agbaje said he has always expressed “strong belief that the next national chairman of our great party should come from the south-west”.
“I am however convinced that with 7 out of all 9 aspirants coming from the south-west (prior to George’s withdrawal), this multiplicity of contenders will work to the detriment of our zone when it comes to voting,” he wrote.
“Delegates’ votes split 7 ways will not produce a chairman from the south-west. It therefore becomes necessary to prune our numbers down to no more than two,” the letter read.
“With less than 24 hours to the convention, I have painfully decided to withdraw from the race hoping that others will join me in bringing down the number such that the south-west can have a fighting chance of clinching the national chairmanship of the PDP.
“The support from serving and past governors, senators, members of the house of representatives, women, youth and opinion leaders has been tremendous.
“While sincerely thanking them for their unflinching loyalty, I empathize with the great disappointment they must feel at this decision. I plead that we all put the overall interest of PDP first.
“I pledge my support to whoever emerges as the national chairman as determined at the national convention.”
The convention is ongoing in Abuja, with 2,233 delegates expected to vote.