A leading National Chairmanship aspirant in the August 17, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Convention in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Prof. Tunde Adeniran has declared that his major mission is to forge unity among the various groups within the party.
Speaking through his media aide, Yemi Akinbode, the former Minister of Education said he has the requisite qualification to achieve that goal given the mutual respect he enjoyed across the membership of the party, including its current and past leaders.
“It is because of the bridges I had built across all the party’s divides that eminent citizens of the country from part of the country have backed my candidacy. I am a friend of all, leaders and followers. I don’t have enemies. The truth is that when some people don’t have anything to say, my warm relationships with eminent Nigerians become the story,” he stated.
Prof. Adeniran also hinted of a strong move by PDP leaders in the southwest to unite and collectively demand that the National Chairmanship be formally zoned to the region.
According to him, the southwest party leaders “want the zoning committee meeting in Port Harcourt to bear in mind that equity and justice demand nothing less than a southwest National Chairmanship of the PDP.”
He said the other zones in the south should concede the National Chairmanship to the southwest, being the only zone yet to lead the party; adding that many party leaders in the southeast had already backed the southwest for the position. The southeast had in the past thrown up several National Chairmen for the party.
Prof Adeniran, a founding member of the PDP, recalled that the south-south recently produced the President for the country and also led the party as acting national chairman until recently.
“We have had a long period of acting national chairmanship and the occupant of that office was from the south-south after serving as deputy national chairman for a long time,” he explained, adding: “So looking at the equation, even our brothers from the southeast, many of them believe the chairmanship should go to the southwest. But for the sake of robust politics whoever is interested can come out and at the end we are all brothers and sisters. When they see that the majority has taken a position that it should go to the southwest, they will key into it and the national chairman will be Tunde Adeniran.”
Prof Adeniran, who has received the endorsement of several party leaders across the six geo-political zones, said that he was determined to tackle the major malaise with the party, which he identified as lack of internal democracy, disorientation and the ugly image acquired as a result of commission and omission on the part of the leadership.
He further said: “We believe that there is the need at this point to restore the dignity of the party and broaden the base of participation so that there will be inclusiveness and quality leadership. We have decided to come in so that we will leave a worthy legacy. The PDP was turned virtually into an electoral vehicle; a vehicle that you all get elected into a particular position or get appointment into a particular office without really performing the oath of the office. We have to check that.”
On the reported interest of PDP southwest members in the Vice Presidency in 2019, the former Ambassador to Germany said that that should not distract the zone from producing the National Chairman at this time. He said he would not be a sit-tight National Chairman as he would be willing to relinquish his position in the interest of the party.
He explained: “As far as I am concerned the motivation for aspiring for this office is service and when you are serving people, you have to be directed. If by any reason the party decides that it will go another direction, why should I say I want to sit tight on anything? That has been the bane of our politics in this part of the world. People must be ready to make sacrifices and bear in mind the very essence of service.”