The chairman of DAAR Communications, Chief Raymond Dokpesi has faulted the position of a former National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Ahmadu Ali on the choice of the next chairman of the party.
Ali had on Tuesday, argued strongly for the slot to be given to the South West geopolitical zone, considering the fact that the zone had yet to occupy the position since the formation of the party in 1998.
To buttress his argument, Ali had said, “We must be ready to ensure that at the convention, the main issue, which is the national chairmanship of the party, is well handled. If we don’t vote the South-West, we can as well forget the PDP”.
But at a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday, Dokpesi who is also a chairmanship aspirant, described Ali’s position as a mistake, stressing that the party leadership zoned the slot to the entire South and not the South West.
Dokpesi said, “I said very clearly that I have a lot of respect for the elders of this party. I have a lot of respect for constituted authority, but they are human beings.
“They are bound to make mistakes and the facts of the mistakes, having brought to their attention, so, they cannot continue repeating the mistakes, because the mistakes have been made”
“The Ike Ekweremadu committee said the chairmanship should go to the entire South while the President goes to the North. We should allow all parts participate fairly
“Anybody trying to manipulate this does so at a great risk to the party.
An 88 member committee consisered this and affirmed that the zoning should be between North and South.
“The National Convention zoned the position of the national chairman to the South and zoned the Presidency to the North. And there is no micro zoning; the convention would have said it is zoning it to the South West, but the convention in its wisdom did not do so”.
Insisting that his desire to become the next PDP chairman remained strong, Dokpesi said his ongoing trial for alleged involvement in N2.1 billion arms purchase scam cannot affect his chances because no court has convicted him.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had dragged Dokpesi to court for his role in the $2.1 billion arms purchase scam, allegedly supervised by a former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
Speaking about his involvement in the formation of the All Peoples Democratic Aliance (APDA), Dokpesi said the party was formed as an alternative platform during the 14-month leadership crisis that rocked the PDP.
According to him, faced with threats by the then Ali Modu Sheriff faction, PDP elders, led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi, saw the need to form an alternative platform to avoid being caught off guard.
The Makarfi and Sheriff camps were locked in a fierce battle for the control of the PDP. But the Supreme Court, in a July 12judgment, affirmed Makarfi as the authentic leader of the PDP.
Explaining his role in the formation of APDA, Dokpesi said, “I take full responsibility for the role I played in the formation and funding of APDA. It was set up as a plan B for the PDP at the peak of its internal crisis.
“About 99 percent of persons who formed APDA belonged to the then Makarfi faction of the PDP.
According to him, all critical organs of the PDP, including the Board of Trustees, the Governors’ Forum, and the National Assembly Caucus, were very much involved in the formation of APGA.
“We did not want to take chances. Our genuine members were being deprived the opportunity to contest as Sheriff kept shutting the door against them.
“So there grew the urgent need for an alternative platform through which our ordinary members could run elections as councillors and local government chairmen. We cannot fold our arms and simply watch on.
“It was not done by me alone. All the organs of the party were part of the decision to form APDA. At a point, I wrote to all the party’s governors to tell them that there was need for members of the party to know”.
Some vested interests within the PDP are said to be making attempts to use the role he played in the formation of APDA as anti-party activity, a move he described “cheap blackmail”