By Abel Oshevire
Gbenga Daniel. Jimi Agbaje. Olabode George. Rashidi Ladoja. Raymond Dokpesi. Toaheed Adedoja. Tunde Adeniran. Uche Secondus.
Eight great men. Eight wise men. Eight eminent Nigerians. Eight distinguished, powerful and success high-flyers.
These outstanding Nigerians of no mean repute and achievements are offering themselves for service as National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. No doubt, any one of these men has the capacity and wherewithal to occupy that powerful but highly-demanding office.
So far, the conduct of all the aspirants is worth commending. They have exhibited the highest degree of decorum, in their choice of words at consultations and inter-personal relationships. They are known to be holding meetings among themselves, in demonstration of the fact that it is a family affair. Chief Dokpesi in particular is reported to have attended the formal declarations of some of his co-contestants, as well as paying visits to others. This, indeed, signals a new dawn in the annals of real politics of no bitterness in the PDP. Furthermore, the decision of the Caretaker Committee to commit the aspirants to sign an undertaking to be of good conduct and accept the outcome of the convention without malice, is a most heartwarming development, particularly with the acceptance of all the contestants to sign the document without reservations.
As the delegates, who are representatives of the owners of the biggest political party in the African continent, the PDP, converge in the next couple of days, precisely Saturday, December 9, 2017, to pick a new leader from among the eight wise men, to lead the party to battle in 2019 against the All Progressive Congress, APC, they must be guided by history; to do the right thing and resist a weakling or a mole being foisted on the party.
As the over 3,000 delegates from the 36 States and Abuja gather on Saturday, December 9, 2019, to make history, they must put the interest of the party above every other consideration. Money should never be a factor so that we don’t mortgage our destinies and those of our unborn children for a mess of pottage, like Esau did with his birthright. Neither should tribal sentiment blind their senses of judgment and sway their decisions.
Every one of the eight contestants for the exalted office of National Chairman must be critically x-rayed and the best and most qualified among them be elected to do the job. It is obvious that the fortunes of the PDP in 2019 will be determined by the caliber and quality of the chairman that emerges from the convention. Will the delegates trade off the position to the highest bidder who, in return will, in 2019 sell positions to highest bidders and thereby impose candidates on the party and cause discontent? Or will they be patriotic enough to shun all overtures and elect a courageous and committed ‘general’ to lead the party to victory in 2019? Again, the desire and concern of every genuine and committed PDP member today who truly wishes that the party bounces back and rescue the Nigerian ship that is drifting aimlessly and restore hope to Nigerians who have been battered and rendered hopeless by the clueless APC Government, is not what region of the South the chairman emerges from, but a chairman that can deliver the goods.
The Party cannot afford a weak or a lily-livered person or another ‘sheriff in town,’ who will be compromised to abandon the battle midway or surreptitiously work for the opposition as in 2015.
The Port-Harcourt convention must be commended for zoning the Presidency to the 19 states of the North and the National Chairmanship to the 17 states of the South. Any attempt to micro-zone any of these two major and strategic offices would amount to enthroning mediocrity and thereby spell doom for the PDP. By throwing the positions open, the party will definitely be better for it as the coast has been expanded to accommodate everyone qualified and interested in the position from the South so that the best, only the very best, would emerge and guide the PDP in giving the ruling party a run for its money. In this regard, the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee deserves special commendation for being steadfast in resisting all pressures to micro-zone the National Chairmanship to any particular zone in the south and ensuring a level-playing ground for the aspirants to market themselves to delegates and other stakeholders without let or hindrance. Senator Markafi insists that his Committee or any organ of the party has no powers to over-ride the decision of the Port-Harcourt convention.
Of these great and eminent eight wise men jostling for the office, Raymond Aleogho Dokpesi, stands tall. In addition to possessing all the sterling qualities above, he has the strength; he is dogged; he is a fighter; he is resilient and resolute; he is an unrepentant defender and die-hard apologist of the PDP; he has the means and wherewithal to promote and reposition the party and, above all, he can be trusted to lead it to victory in 2019.
It follows therefore, without any doubt or contradiction, that Raymond Aleogho Dokpesi is the right man for the job and the CAP of the National Chairman of today’s PDP, fits him.
Abel Oshevire was a member of the Delta State House of Assembly, 2007 to 2011.