Chairmanship aspirants in the December 9 National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday signed an accord to ensure peaceful conduct of the convention. Six of the eight aspirants were present at the accord signing ceremony, which was presided over by the Chairman of the PDP National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi.
The document was signed by both the aspirants and Director-Generals of their campaign organisations or their representatives.
Those present and signed the four-page document were former Oyo State governor, Senator Rashidi Ladoja and his Ogun State counterpart, Otunba Gbenga Daniel; former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus as well as former Minister of Education, Prof. Tunde Adeniran. Former PDP governorship candidate in Lagos State in 2015, Mr. Jimi Agbaje and founder of Daar Communication, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, were also present at the signing ceremony.
Former Minister of Sport and Social Development, Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, who had flight delay from Port Harcourt, later signed the accord.
Former Deputy National Chairman, Chief Olabode George was said to have informed the party elders in Enugu last Sunday that Tuesday would not be suitable for him, but promised to sign the document whenever he returns. Makarfi said the presence of the aspirants was an indication that they were working together. “You have resolved that whoever that is crowned by God and elected by the delegates will be accepted to you. PDP has not done this before.
“No matter the divergent interests, the overall interest of the party prevails. That is a sign of greatness and a vindication of good things to come,” Makarfi stated. He disclosed that the accord and code of conduct was drawn up by the aspirants themselves, but was only presented to the party leadership.
Makarfi, however, advised that in order to save time and for early conclusion of the convention, some less competitive positions could be resolved within the zone “so that positions that are competitive can be conducted.”
He assured that nobody would be excluded from contesting at the convention while pledging a transparent, free and fair election. Ladoja, who spoke on behalf of the aspirants, promised that the December 9 convention would be a carnival, assuring that none of the aspirants will leave the party because of the convention so far it is transparent. “It is usual in politics that people should fight for positions and it is an aberration that when you lose, you leave.
When you join the party, you did not join to become the chairman or secretary, but to be a member. “We shall try to control our supporters so that they do not cause injury to themselves and to other supporters. All of us are serious at making our party great because of the yearning of Nigerians to find a credible alternative. “It is not compulsory that the South-West will come with a consensus candidate.
As much as possible, we will try, but everybody believes that he can win,” Ladoja added.
The aspirants, in the agreement, promised to: “Support whoever emerges amongst us as the National Chairman of our great party as long as the process is transparent, free and fair in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the party and guidelines of the elective National Convention; “No aspirant shall leave the party or encourage his or her supporters, promoters etc. to do so, as a result of the outcome of the Na- tional Chairmanship election at the elective National Convention;
“Any breach of the 2015 zero expenditure policy of the party, which prohibits the use of monetary inducement, including lodging of delegates and providing money for votes, shall not be tolerated in the 2017 National Elective Convention and shall be a ground for disqualification on or before the 9th December, 2017;
“Any aspirant/sponsor/ supporter/financier, proven to have done anything contrary to the agreements reached herein and in circumstances that suggest the knowledge of the undersigned persons shall be disqualified from contesting the National Chairmanship election.”