November 29, 2017

Lagos PDP Congress: Chieftain faults process, declares it undemocratic

A chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State, Mr Dipo Olorunrinu, on Wednesday described as undemocratic the process through which the party state executives emerged on Sunday.

Newsmen report that the Lagos Chapter of the PDP on Monday said in a statement that Mr Moshood Salvador had been elected as its Chairman.

The statement, signed by the state Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Taofik Gani, indicated that Salvador and other executives were elected at a closed-door congress held at the King Seliat Hotel, Jibowu, Yaba, Lagos.

Gani said that all the state officers emerged by consensus of party leaders.

Other officers that emerged are: Alhaji Hassan Waliu, Deputy Chairman; Prince Muiz Dosunmu, Secretary; Mr Kunle Okunola, Organising Secretary; Mr Niyi Adams, Youth Leader; Mrs Shola Oladehinbo, Women Leader and Mr Taofik Gani, Publicity Secretary.

Reacting, Olorunrinu, the only PDP lawmaker remaining in the Lagos State House of Assembly, said that allowing people to choose their leaders remained the way forward.

“While I appreciate the Lagos PDP Congress Committee sent from the national headquarters for the conduct of the congress, if I will rate them, I will rate them under the pass mark — 40 per cent.

“Selection of leaders in politics has to do with congress. When the committee brought in harmonisation, a large number of people did not accept that approach.

“There is a big problem with the approach of harmonisation through which the state executives emerged because the people are aggrieved and angry against such directive,’’ he said.

According to him, sharing of leadership in percentages to different groups without the people choosing them will not proffer a lasting solution to the party’s challenges.

“Giving members of the House of Representatives elected on the platform of PDP 70 per cent of executives at the ward, local government and state levels is not transparent and democratic.

“I will dance to the peaceful approach the committee came with (uniting the factions), but we are still insisting that the right thing must be done by allowing a democratic congress in choosing the executives.

“People cannot be denied their democratic rights over the few elected by them, so I support congress. Even if we take harmonising, people should have larger percentage.

“How can we put executives that people do not want when we are not in an autocratic system?  These leaders should support congress approach,’’ Olorunrinu, representing Amuwo-Odofin I said.

The lawmaker said that the mark he scored the congress committee was just because it was able to persuade some forces back into the party.

According to him, the party has to sit up and ensure that the ordinary people take back ownership of the party to brighten its chances in future election.

Olorunrinu said that the process had affected the party and would continue to affect it, especially in the state.

He said that the party’s constitution only accepted consensus candidates when majority of people chose the approach, not few individuals.

The legislator said that since all the elected representatives of the party emerged through congress, transparent congress should be held to elect party executives across levels.

Speaking with the newsmen, however, Mr Adebomi Adekola, a member of the Lagos Congress Caretaker Committee, said that the committee chose to embark on harmonisation and consensus since there were three groups of PDP in the state.

“We noticed that there were lots of factions of PDP in Lagos which would cause problem if we went ahead in direct congress, so we needed to harmonize the three groups to one united one.

“We talked to each of the group to choose representatives who would meet to fashion out modalities for unification.

“What we did has brought a lot of progress to PDP. PDP in Lagos State is one now,’’ he said.

Adekola said that if the present unity in the party was sustained till 2019, it would emerge victorious in the general election.