By Emmanuel Mogbede
Abuja – A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national chairmanship aspirant, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, has blamed the party’s inability to effectively perform as opposition on protracted litigation over its leadership since 2015.
He stated this on Monday night when he led some members of his campaign organisation on a consultation to former Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zainab Maina.
´´We have heard severally from leaders and former heads of state that the PDP had not played proper role as opposition party.
´´We had no chance and no opportunity, because we had been in court all through.
´´It was not due to lack of competence or courage, but due to the fact that we had been in court processes,” Dokpesi said.
He said that there was now a vacuum in the party and a need to put in place a duly elected National Working Committee in accordance with the provisions of its Constitution.
He said that the committee must be headed by a man of courage, vision and integrity who had “paid his dues and demonstrated passion and commitment to the party´s advancement”.
According to Dokpesi, getting the right person for the position of the party´s next chairman is not about pampering, but about being firm and resolute.
He pointed out that it was only people with track records and zeal to fight for the party that should be chosen for such position.
He described as ´´miscarriage of information” claims that the party´s chairmanship position had been zoned to the South-West.
´´The truth of the matter is that there was no meeting where the PDP as a party, decided that its chairmanship position should be zoned to the South-West.
´´The Constitution of the PDP unequivocally states that zoning shall take place, but it shall take place in the North, South and East.
´´It is cheap propaganda and mischief to state that there had been a zoning to the South-West,” the aspirant said.
He, however, added that preferences could be made because it was a family affair that should be devoid of any form of bitterness.
Dokpesi, who is founder of Daar Communications, noted that the party was presently fighting against impunity, saying that some of its members took laws into their hands and had despised its Constitution by manipulating it.
He said that it was unfortunate that such persons were being applauded and made heroes of the party, while others took advantage of the situation.
He advocated direct primaries for the party in future, saying it would allow its financial members to vote and elect their candidates for elections and leaders.
Dokpesi prayed that whoever emerged as next national chairman of the party would be committed to it and ready to take it through its challenges and return it to power in 2019.
´´It is not just electing a chairman for the sake of electing him, but electing someone who is able to take us through the fire-lines and make sure that we regain power in 2019,” he said.
He pleaded with the former minister to rise to the occasion as one of the mothers of his campaign team to assume her role in the interest of the party and the country.
In her remarks, the former minister said that Dokpesi was the right person to lead the PDP for many reasons, adding that she had known him since 1981 as a man of high integrity.
´´ If the PDP chairmanship position is something I can give on my own, I will give it to Dokpesi in front of everybody,” she said.
Maina described Dokpesi as a man of selfless service who had committed his time and resources to the advancement of the PDP, adding that he was a bridge-builder who had friends across the country.
She promised to galvanise support for the aspirant and ensure that he became the next national chairman of PDP “in the interest of the party and the country”.
She prayed God to grant him victory in the race because, according to her, he has done a lot for the party to deserve being its national chairman.
´´I believe in your capabilities, because I know who you are and I believe that if you become our national chairman, we will all go to rest,” the former minister stressed.
The PDP has scheduled its National Convention where new leaders will be elected to end the tenure of its National Caretaker Committee, which had been extended two times.