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It will be an intriguing battle on Saturday, December 9, 2017, as the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, will hold its National Convention, to elect new members of its National Working Committee, NWC.
Nigerians are anxiously waiting to get the final result of the election that will determine the future of the PDP, ahead of 2019.
Post-Nigeria learnt that of all the positions for grab, the National Chairmanship slot has generated much more tension, as an unprecedented number of aspirants, eight in number, will be contesting the position.
The aspirants are: former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Chief Olabode George; former Acting National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus; former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel; former Minister of Education, Prof. Tunde Adeniran; former Minister of Sports and Special Duties, Prof. Taoheed Adedoja; Media Mogul, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, and the Lagos State Governorship candidate of the party in the 2015 elections, Jimi Agbaje.
The build-up to the contest has been attention-grabbing, with the aspirants crisscrossing the length and breadth of the country, intimating party members, as well as the generality of Nigerians of their respective action plans, if elected Chairman of the nation’s main opposition party.
Besides the promises on how to rebuild the former ruling party, the aspirants have also been speaking on how they intend to reposition the PDP, ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The aspirants were in unison on the need to rebuild and reposition the PDP for it to regain the Presidency in the forthcoming general elections.
Prof. Adeniran, who said that he is in the Chairmanship race to restore the confidence of Nigerians in the party, said: “I believe there is the need to reposition the party, get things right, correct the mistakes of the past, and have a new beginning that will address the yearnings of the people and lead the party to the fulfillment of its vision and mission, in line with its manifesto and constitution. And I believe that I have the capacity and pedigree to do that, being a founding member, and by virtue of my training as well.”

He added that the party is in a crucial time, and so needs someone who has knowledge of internal workings of the system to come on board to do the needful for the party and Nigeria, to continue to move on the path of democratic consolidation.
On how his leadership will impact on the party’s chance in the 2019 Presidential election, Adeniran said: “Trust and confidence would be restored, as the Nigerian people and party members are familiar with my track record and commitment to the party and democratic principles.
“So, with that and my mobilization skill, unity and accord that has been elusive in the party, would be restored. Once we have a united house, we would be able to move on to win power at the centre. I am confident about that.”
Secondus, who has held several positions in the PDP NWC, such as the National Organising Secretary, Deputy National Chairman, and Acting National Chairman, said his mission is to rebuild the party, reposition it, and ensure that it regains lost ground.
His words: “With my wealth of experience over the years, I believe that I am the best man for the job, because we are in a situation which does not demand sentiment or micro-zoning of the party’s National Chairman. The situation demands somebody with the experience and capacity to see the party through in the 2019 general elections.”
On the possibility of the PDP regaining power in 2019, he said: “It is a collective thing, but I know how to put things together. My mission is to rebuild, reposition, and regain lost ground. Others can equally do this, but I believe that I can do it better, because I have been part of so many elections in the past.”
For George, running for the PDP National Chairmanship, was motivated by his quest to stabilize the party. He said that position should not be given to a rookie, given the exigency of time.
He stated: “This is not the time for experimentation. Who among the aspirants has really worked under the party platform? How many of them know the intricacies and intrigues of conflict resolution? This is not the time for the party to do experimentation.
“I worked in the PDP National Executive Committee (NEC) for 10 years. And there is no way you can compare somebody who worked for 10 years in an organisation, to someone who never worked for a day in the organisation. The choice is for the people to make.
“We do not need a novice to lead the PDP with all the crisis in the party. The choice is for our people. We are not in government; we are in opposition; so we must face reality and do what is right and needed at this point. We must get the ship back to the harbour.”
On the 2019 elections and the party’s chances, George said: “We can quickly prepare the party for the elections by stabilising our platform. It is worrisome that there are crisis in many places. We need to quickly solve these crisis. We do not need those who would be learning on the job. We need to put in necessary plans to achieve the major things why the party was established; to fight for elections and win.”
For Ladoja, a former Governor of Oyo State, he is in the race to restore the party to winning ways.
“I think I am in the better position to put the party on the right track again. So, the intention is that when I become the Chairman of the PDP, all the impunity we are talking about will not happen again.”
“We will be able to reposition the PDP as a democratic party, so that members will feel protected in their own party, and nobody will be talking about garrison commander in a democratic setting. I believe that I am in the best position to correct the error in the PDP, because I suffered it, and I will not allow it to happen to anybody in PDP again, if I become the National Chairman”, Ladoja stated.
He also disclosed that he will work for the party’s success in the forthcoming elections. “I saw PDP to the highest of its glory and its lowest glory. So, we will do what is necessary to return the party to the people. People did not really hate the PDP; it is PDP that hated itself. By the grace of God, we will regain power in 2019.”
Ex-Governor Daniel, on his part, said the fortunes of the PDP would be turned around under his leadership of the party.
“We have the goodwill; we have the know-how. If properly deployed, we will turn around the fortunes of the party. That is the main thrust of why I have decided to throw my hat into the ring.”
The former Ogun State Governor, who said he is probably in the best position to deliver, added: “Of all of us, I think I am the only one who has actually run elections in recent time and won. Quite a number of my other compatriots have the benefit of appointive positions, not an election.”
Dokpesi, who described himself as the new face of the PDP, said: “I represent the new face of PDP, where political aspirations of members would be attained.
“My leadership would mark a departure from the culture of imposition and impunity of the past.
“Most importantly, the driving force to be National Chairman of the party, was to win 2019 and to ensure justice and fairness for all. That is the kind of leadership I am offering.”
Another former minister, Adedoja, who is also contesting for the PDP Chairmanship, said: “Those things the PDP lost, are what I want to bring back.”
He described himself as a rallying point, who will ensure truth, justice, and equity in the party.
However, to many political observers, any of the aspirants is ready to pull a surprise, as the delegates vote.

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