‘PDP leaders should be mindful of Southwest sentiments’

Tunde Adeniran

Former Minister of Education, Professor Tunde Adeniran appealed to leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to be mindful of recent history and concede national chairmanship to the Southwest. SEYE OLUMIDE reports.

How would you react to reports that governors Ayo Fayose and Nyesom Wike are against emergence of a chairman from the Southwest?
Governors Fayose and Wike are arguably the most vocal and controversial among our governors. I have high regards for them just as I do for our other governors. It would be difficult for me to describe their activities in the light of various allegations since I do not know the totality. From the information available to me regarding the Southwest region however, I should like to appeal to the duo to please, for God’s sake and posterity, be mindful of the recent history of the PDP, be sensitive to the preponderance of sentiments in favour of the Southwest producing the National Chairman of the party, the likely consequences of doing otherwise and temper personal ambition and preferment with the dictates of collective destiny, fairness, justice and equity.

Since five of you are contesting the same position from the zone, would you consider a consensus?
Consensus will be a welcome development for any of my brothers in the race who is so guided to do so, but for me, the issue of withdrawing from the race or stepping down does not arise because I am running on a deep conviction of the need of the party for the experience and capacity that I possess; the refreshing hope that I represent, and the great value that I can add to change the fortunes of the party.

I came into the project with a deep sense of mission, well thought-out blueprint and a grand vision to take the party out of its current disadvantaged position and reposition it as an enviable and a model political party, not only in Nigeria, but also in the continent.

But your aspiration is against the background of the fact that the present National Vice Chairman of the Party is from the same Ondo/Ekiti axis like you.
That is an inconsequential argument. The fallacy in that line of argument is crystal clear. There is absolutely nothing in the constitution of our party that makes the issue, which they are canvassing to be capable of jeopardising my aspiration. The truth of the matter is that I am running for National Chairman, which is the apex office. The National Chairmanship office is open for anyone that feels he is qualified from any state of the South, particularly the Southwest to put himself forward for, and that is what I have done. I am not in contest for the zonal leadership of the party. The post of National Vice Chairman is an internal arrangement within the zone and it remains as such.

How would the zone address the issue of delegates since the two factional leaders, Makanjuola Ogundipe and Eddy Olafeso are still holding their ground few days to the elections?
From findings, the discord among this category of leadership is among the issues being looked into by key stakeholders from the Southwest. The narratives have been discomforting while the plausible scenarios are worrisome. Thanks to God Almighty that we are now awake to the realities of today. It is no longer a matter of who is wrong and who is right but a matter of what is fair and just in the larger interest of the PDP and democratic consolidation in Nigeria. Makanjuola Ogundipe and Eddy Olafeso are not only brothers and compatriots interested in a more united PDP; they are also leaders with laudable records of contributions to the growth of the party. I believe they would appreciate at this stage of party repositioning that sacrifices have to be made and that while privileges and opportunities are there under the big umbrella, this is not the time for anybody to insist on his or her rights. I have no doubt that they are patriots interested more in the progress of the party than in self assertion and would cooperate with the National Caretaker Committee and the National Executive Committee as the party is piloted to the next level through a credible National Convention in December.

What are the chances of the PDP winning the 2019 election?
It depends on the incontrovertible facts on ground, which are evident in the unprecedented state of economic hardship and despaired situation the country fond itself since the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) took over government in 2015. The President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has demonstrated total lack of sensitivity to the plight of the people and it is very clear to Nigerians that they were deceived through the party’s propaganda that they are the messiahs Nigeria needs. APC has not only failed in engendering the much anticipated stability and democratic consolidation that are necessary for peace and integration, which are preconditions for sustainable national development, it has also shown to Nigerians that it is no longer worthy of the trust of the people on account of the government poor economic performance, narrow mindedness, divisive orientation and serial lies.

If voted as national chairman, what are your plans to reposition the party to victory?
From my findings from deep interactions with a vast majority of members across board, I found out that all the challenges of the party boils down to the need to figure out how to administer the party with a high sense of moral rectitude to correct the mistakes of the past and not return to our past mistakes and learn to conduct our affairs more transparently, ethically, intelligently and in a smarter and more result-oriented manner. Conscious of the forgoing, therefore, and considering the privilege of my training, wealth of experience, exposure, deep knowledge and understanding of the workings of the party, I consider myself sufficiently equipped with the requisite capacity to put the party on a strong footing again by fixing the problems, extricate it from the suffocating grips of self-destruct and move it forward in the right direction for true greatness.



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