By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA-As the countdown to the December 9 elective convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) begin, the South-West geopolitical zone has been warned on the danger of losing the national chairmanship of the party if it fails to agree on a consensus candidate.
Giving the charge Wednesday at the formal declaration of interest for the PDP national chairmanship by former Ogun State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, erstwhile Police Affairs Minister, Adamu Maina Waziri said the South-West should be supported to produce the party’s chairman.
Waziri warned however that the zone would be the loser in the event of the inability of any of the contesters from the zone to emerge victorious at the December convention.
“If, for any reason, Gbenga Daniel fails in his bid to become the national chairman, it is Daniel that would lose. But if none of the about six aspirants from the South-West fails to win, the South-West will be the loser,” Waziri stated.
He called on the aspirants to close ranks and present a common front at the convention in the interest of the party.
He added: “The South-West should do well to reduce the number of aspirants to one,” stressing that “For the PDP to reclaim power in 2019, the national chairman of the party” should come from the zone.
Also speaking at the declaration event, former Aviation Minister and a chieftain of the party, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode lauded the leadership acumen of Daniel even as he charged the PDP to eschew divisions within its ranks.
Fani-Kayode who described all aspirants from the zone as his personal friends, however insists that Daniel remained the first among equals in the pack.
In his speech entitled: “Let’s start afresh…Together we can do it,” Daniel said he is in the race to make a difference having taken stock of the troubles that rattled the PDP in the past couple of years.
He said:”I have done informed study of the myriad of problems which confronted our political party in the last few years, especially the one which had cost us several electoral victories since 2011 and most especially the Presidency in 2015.
“I have come to the conclusion that the challenges which face our political party are not permanent. They could be rectified through a careful deployment of resources, the willpower and ability to work through difficult situations, concession and compromises if need be, and ability to move all our people into one disciplined accord on all matters.
“I declare before you today to contest for the office of the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party at the national convention.
“I come to this resolve after careful analyses of the challenges confronting the PDP and on the strength of clear understanding of my personal ability to provide the needed leadership in our collective search for solutions.”
Advancing reasons for the defeat of the party, the chairmanship aspirant said the lose at the poll was largely down to political “miscalculations” rather than non-performance.
“The people did not vote out our party for want of performance. We lost out because we miscalculated on certain aspects of our politics; outside the management of the nation’s economic resources. We failed to ask some critical question needed for planning,” he said.
He also faulted the fight against corruption by incumbent administration, saying so far, the realities on ground show the vice has not taken the back seat.
“It is disquieting,” he continued, “That the APC led government claim to focus on fighting corruption, while facts on the ground suggests that Nigeria has become worse off and sinking low even in graft. For instance, latest corruption index in Nigeria (2016) according to Transparency International (the global watchdog for measuring corruption) was 2.8/10. Before 2015, Nigeria had a P8 in corruption but and A3 in economic growth, now we have an F9 in both economic growth and corruption.”
He promised to reposition the party for 2019 polls, stating that under his leadership, corruption would be tackled frontally, pledging also to reduce poverty to the barest minimum.
In his words, “The new PDP leadership is going to fight Poverty like never before. The judiciary, legislative or several unhappy people are not our enemies. We have a common enemy in ‘failed promises’. A common enemy in ‘poverty’; a common enemy in ‘high interest and inflation rates; which by the way is not interesting.”
Present at the declaration event were Senators Solomon Ewuga, Sanusi Dagash, Nurudeen Adeleke, ex-Ministers John Odey, Habu Fari and former Secretary to the Ogun State Government, Sharafat Ishola. Others are Remi Bakare Iliya Danmagun (former Nigerian Ambassador to Romania) and Remi Adiku Bakare.