By Oloniruha Emmanuel
An aspirant for National Chairmanship of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Raymond Dokpesi, said he consulted widely with stakeholders, including party leaders and members before entering the contest.
He said that it was the positive responses he got from the consultations that motivated him to pursue the aspiration to lead the party as national chairman.
Dokpesi made this known while addressing Benue State Executive Committee (SEC) members of the party and National Delegates on Monday in Makurdi.
He said that after the party’s national convention in Port Harcourt in May, 2016, he waited to know the party’s decision on micro-zoning for the national chairmanship position.
“I sent out 2,000 text messages and made phone calls to well-meaning Nigerians asking if I could contest and if the position was not zoned to South-West.
“I got positive responses from 1,997 persons, while only three persons said I should not run,” Dokpesi said.
He said that one of the three persons that discouraged him was of the view that PDP members would not allow him to win so that he would not carry out necessary reforms within the party.
“The second person said I should not run because PDP has not learnt lessons and that the party does not appreciate my sacrifice.”
According to him, the second person who advised me not to contest has defected to the All Progressives Congress, while the third person wanted me to go to a foreign country to rest.
Dokpesi, however, said he joined the race because majority of those he consulted advised him to pursue the ambition.
He urged the delegates to give him the opportunity to serve and return PDP to its winning ways and reunite Nigeria.
“I want to work with the state executive to transform, rebuilt, reconstruct, rejuvenate and reposition the PDP to win the 2019 elections, including that of Benue.
“It is only if we work together and we are united that we can effect these changes,” he said.
The Director-General of Dokpesi Campaign Organization, Mr Baba Kachalla, described Dokpesi as “candidate to beat” in the Dec. 9 national convention.
He urged delegates from the state to vote for Dokpesi and shun anybody that may want to buy their votes.
Chairman of the party in the state, Mr John Ugbede, urged party leaders to ensure that right things were done at the convention.
“For our leaders, the process must be correct and transparent.”
Ugbede, who assured Dokpesi of the state’s support, said Benue delegates would always give its bulk votes to the aspirant of their choice.
Other party leaders, who also spoke at the occasion, expressed support for Dokpesi.