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PDP Convention: Our Priority Should Be Recapturing Power in 2019, Says Dickson

  • Party chairmanship: Youths coalition urges 19 northern states to vote for south-west candidate•
  • BY CHIDUBEM UKAMAKA in Port Harcourt•

Governor Henry Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has called on the leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to focus more attention on how to recapture political power from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forthcoming election in 2019.

He advised that the leadership of the PDP should not focus excessive attention on the forthcoming national convention of the party scheduled for December 9, 2017.
Dickson according to a statement by his Special Adviser (Media Relations, Fidelis Soriwei, threw the challenge during a courtesy call on him by the DAAR Communications Chairman, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, a contestant for the position of the party’s national chairman, at the Government House, Yenagoa.

He said that the leadership of the PDP had a responsibility to come up with a candidate from the northern part of the country to actualize the project to recapture power from the APC.

Dickson, a former Chairman of the party’s National Reconciliation Committee (NRC) said that it was important that the convention was viewed as a means to an end.

However, the governor said that the convention was very important, as the PDP needed its successful conduct to get things right in preparation for the 2019 election.
“And let me use this opportunity to caution our party leaders across this country. I hope we are not focusing too much on this convention instead of focusing on winning federal power.

“I think we should be strategic and focus and think of how to get an acceptable candidate through a fair process too, for all the zones; in a process that is open to all the three zones of the north so that we can get somebody who would have the support to win the presidency for us. That is the key thing.
“So I advise that people should not see the forthcoming national convention as an end in itself. People should see it rather as a means to an end.

“Nevertheless, the convention is important because we need to get it right; the process itself must be right and the outcome should also be acceptable so that we can now move to the next stage.”

The governor expressed concern that some party members were still stuck in the old way of doing things in the PDP and insisted that the forthcoming convention must credible, transparent and devoid of manipulation.

Dickson who also commented on the speculations about endorsement of candidates for positions in the party stressed that only the convention had power to endorse candidates. He therefore advised the aspirants to interact with the aspirants.

Earlier, Dokpesi had told his host that he was in Bayelsa to solicit the governor’s support for his quest to become the next chairman of the PDP.

He explained that he was in the race for the position of chairman in consonance with the recommendation of the 88 man committee of the party which zoned the position of the Chairman to the South and the Presidency to the North.
Dokpesi also said that the South-south, which he described as the most vulnerable region, which is open to attack by the APC Administration deserved a committed representation a personality of courage and vision like Dickson who stood his ground to defeat the APC in the last governorship election in Bayelsa.

Meanwhile, the youths of Coalition of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from all the six states in the south-west zone have appealed to the delegates from the 19 Northern States to vote for a chairmanship aspirant from the zone during the December 9th National convention of the party.

The youths insisted that the party must vote for one of the Chairmanship aspirants from the southwest to lead the party to the Promised Land, saying any attempt to pick the occupant from either the Southeast or the south-south will augur well.

The youths said this in Ado Ekiti at the weekend after a two-day meeting of the caucus on the coming PDP convention.

The communiqué was signed by  Akeem Saliu Dennis, Ogedengbe Olusegun from Ekiti,  Igbekele Odunayo and Folorunso Isaac for  Lagos , Ismaila Yusuf and Ganeey Idowu for Oyo, Aghedo Benedict and Akinsetan Akinola for Ondo , Taofeek Kareem and Olaoluwa Funmilayo for Osun and Solana Ajisafe and Bolarin Ibitoye Peter for Ogun respectively.

Those eyeing the seat from the zone are: Professor Tunde Adeniran and Taoheed Adedoja, former Governor Gbenga Daniel, Mr Jimi Agbaje, Chief Bode George, among others.

The communiqué, read by Akeem Saliu reiterated the need for the party to stop some PDP leaders in the southwest, who are allegedly working to sabotage the zone for the sake of their Vice presidential ambition.

The coalition praised the northerners for standing by the truth by reiterating their belief in the micro zoning of the chairmanship slot, saying this will help to cement the bond of unity across Nigeria and make the PDP a formidable opposition that can win elections in 2019.

“We commend the PDP northern leaders and youths for their bold, courageous and patriotic desire to see the PDP as a nationally acceptable party. We want to thank them for believing in the southwest and the micro-zoning policy.

“This will not only promote the party in this zone, but will ensure equity and fairness and project it across the country.

“We want to assure our Northern PDP leaders that we shall reciprocate the gesture when the time comes for the presidential race. PDP leaders have demonstrated love and sincerity to the southwest and we are assuring that we shall be strong pillars of support to the north accordingly.

“For those who are playing the ostrich and working towards pushing away this opportunity away from the southwest, posterity will judge you. We are sending a note of warning to those people on the need to toe the path of honour and align with the interest and aspiration of the zone like the Northern PDP leaders”, the communiqué reads.

The coalition added further: “We want to affirm that all the Chairmanship aspirants from the southwest are eminently qualified to administer the party. However, we want to appeal to the PDP delegates to vote for the best among them, one who can take the party to Aso Rock in 2019.

“We want the party to vote for someone who never had criminal records or someone  who has never been invited by EFCC for corrupt practices, one who is  trusted,  tested  and  has unblemished records .

“It is our hope that any candidate voted for from the southwest will be accountable and committed to the goals, visions and mission of the founding fathers and promote the ideals and ideas of the party as the main opposition party that can wrest power from APC in the 2019 presidential election”, it said.

The youths saluted the courage of the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led PDP Caretaker committee for mooting the idea of the convention, urging it to refrain from manipulating the process for election to be credible and make the party to evolve from it more invigorated.

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