George, Adeniran, Dokpesi Others Know Fate As PDP Convention holds Today - EazyFeeds

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Wednesday 17 August 2016

George, Adeniran, Dokpesi Others Know Fate As PDP Convention holds Today

Clearly, the Sen Ahmed Makarfi-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is set on getting its new leadership at today’s convention.

Inasmuch as the conflicting court rulings and orders over the convention,  has thrown many political observers into confusion, the contenders for the party’s national working committee positions are geared up for the show down in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The national leadership of the party has been an issue of intense dispute between Sen Ali Modu Sheriff who insist he remains chairman and Sen Makarfi-led caretaker committee, which draws its powers from the May 21, national convention held in Port Harcourt.

While the series of peace processes failed, the Makarfi-led leadership having commissioned party’s zoning committee to allocate offices ahead of the convention, appears to have moved on.

In keeping with the once forgotten tradition, the zoning committee led by the Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, recommended that the chairmanship position should be zoned to the South, since the presidential ticket has been zoned to the North a year ago.

So far, over 90 aspirants will vie for  various positions. The convention will provide PDP delegates to elect officers into the following offices: National Chairman, 1st Deputy National Chairman (South), 2nd Deputy National Chairman (North), National Secretary, Deputy National Secretary, National Treasurer & Deputy, National Publicity Secretary & Deputy, National Legal Adviser & Deputy, National Woman Leader & Deputy, National Youth Leader & Deputy, National Organizing Secretary & Deputy, National Financial Secretary & Deputy and other National Ex-Officio members.

11 positions were zoned to the North while10 offices  zoned to the South. Party leaders from the zone have since undertaken  what is now  being referred to  as ‘micro zoning’, a system which re-zoned positions to states  within the geo-political zones.

Going into the convention, there are five persons seeking the position of National Chairman, four are for 1st Deputy National Chairman (South) and five are for 2nd Deputy National Chairman (North).

For the office of National Secretary, there are five contestants, Deputy National Secretary are two and National Publicity Secretary are six aspirants.

However the most contentious position is the national chairman. At a meeting of party stakeholders from the South South in Portharcourt, Rivers State, they had narrowed the chairmanship of the party to South West.

Addressing newsmen after the meeting, the deputy senate president, Sen Ike Ekweremadu, declared that the micro zoning does not in any way exclude any person from the South to contest the seat.

Expectedly, most of the contenders for the top job come from that zone. So far some of the contenders are media mogul, High Chief Raymond Dopkesi; former Deputy national chairman of the party chairman, Bode George; former governor ship candidate in Lagos State, Jimi Agbaje; former minister of Education, Prof Tunde Adeniran; former minister of youth and sports development, Alhaji  Taoheed Adedoja.

They have since been engrossed in the brewing tussle to win the hearts and minds of the delegates ahead of the D-day.

Also, other permutations that may guide the emergence of a new chairman would be the agitation for a new face, experienced, and a personality without  burden of alleged corruption.

However  it is yet to be seen whether the influence of the governors would come to bear in who emerges this time.

Bode George

Chief Bode George remains a force in Lagos politics and a political pillar in the South West. He has been trying to rally the support of delegates within the zone to line behind him. It is yet not clear how much outreach to other zones he has done but he is certainly no stranger to building political bridges having occupied the deputy national chairman seat of the party in the past.

Raymond Dokpesi

He has remained the most visible aspirant in the race. He toured the length and breadth of the country, seeking to win the confidence of major stakeholders and party faithful alike.

He has taken his campaign from his home state, Edo, to Ekiti, Plateau and beyond. He hopes to leverage on his broad base appeal to ensure he smoothly gets the seat. To

show how formidable he became in the affairs of the party, he was entrusted with coordinating the e-registration membership of the party under the leadership of Prince Uche Secondus while he acted as national chairman.

He was also a key member of the group that resisted the conduct of the last convention in Port Harcourt which was skewed in favour of narrow interests.

A dogged fighter, the media mogul, has resisted attempts at subtly bullying him into forgoing his ambition through the micro zoning arrangement.

Prof. Tunde Adeniran

Prof. Adeniran is a founding member of the party and an advocate for the South west to produce the chairman. He is no stranger to party elections as he was a front runner for the post of the national secretary of the PDP during one of the party’s national conventions held in Abuja.

Even though he lost, he has since remained loyal to the party, an attribute some say might work in his favor.

Taoheed Adedoja

Former minister of youths and sports development. He is from Oyo State. He is trying to relaunch himself into political relevance having been out of political circulation since he served as minister.

The Oyo State born politician said he had been to 11 out of the 19 northern states, and said he has spent 55 percent of his life in the North. He also believes that people should be allowed to visit the delegates who have the votes.

Jimi Agbaje

Former Lagos State governorship candidate, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, had an impressive outing for the party during the last governorship election in the state but it did not come as a surprise to many, who saw it as acceptability of his leadership qualities.

It is, however, not clear if Agbaje will muscle enough courage to come out openly because of the interest of his political father, Bode George, in the race. What’s more he is rumored to enjoy the backing of the PDP Governors for the position, an insinuation he has since denied.

Other positions

In a departure from its recent past, the party has decided to allow the north and south to produce two deputy national chairmen. So far about five persons have filed nomination forms to vie for the positions. Former Political Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Prof Rufai Ahmed Alkali and the immediate past deputy national publicity secretary, Abdullahi Jalo and Senator Saidu Kumo are in the race for the position of the Deputy National Chairman (North) of the party.  For the South the contestants are former Deputy National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus and George Turnah (for Deputy National Chairman,South).

Former National Organising Secretary, Alhaji Abubakar Mustapha, former National Treasurer, Alhaji Buhari Bala and Senator Sahabi Ya’u, are the only three people known to have obtained nomination forms to contest the position of National Secretary.

The other various offices also attracted hordes of aspirants, including the National Publicity Secretary (NPS), which has about five aspirants.

For what it’s worth, many observers have likened this convention as a near repeat of the 1999 Jos convention which held so many uncertainties.

This is by far a clear departure from the May 21 convention which had all the trappings of an imposition as single forms were printed for most positions, particularly the chairmanship.

The expectation however is that this convention will live up to its billing of providing a level playing field for all aspirants.

To this end the Chairman, Publicity Sub-Committee of the National Convention Committee, Chief Onyema Ugochukwu, has said “The successful outcome of the August 17, 2016 National Convention will usher in fresh leaders that will manage the affairs of the Party, the PDP, in order to rescue Nigerians from confusion and strife that the APC led Government has imposed on all of us.

“The PDP will continue playing its role after the Convention as the main opposition Party by providing alternative governance and remaining a solution-driven political Party to help the Government in power, and reposition itself to regain power in 2019 for our common good.

“In only one year of APC led Government, Nigerians are yearning for the return of the PDP to power given the fast disappearing democratic gains the Party achieved in 16 years of its Administration. It is noteworthy that all the values associated with our great Country as the giant of Africa and the fastest growing economy in Africa is being eroded. Just last week, South Africa has overtaken Nigeria as the biggest economy in Africa; herdsmen attack and kidnapping is becoming more prevalent; ethnic and tribal agitation for self-determination is on the increase; and the Government of the day is helpless in providing solution to all of these numerous problems bedeviling our dear Nation. We are ready to make amends as a Party and we are working with all stakeholders across the Country to restore our past glory.

“Finally, on behalf of the entire leadership of the National Convention Planning Committee, I wish to call on all our delegates, members and other critical stakeholders to continue working together for the success and future of our great Party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the August 17, 2016 Repeat National Convention by voting for any candidate of their choice. The time is now to provide answers to Nigeria and Nigerians.”

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