By Emmanuel Oloniruha
Former Minister of Sports and Youths Development, Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, says the December elective national convention of the PDP will be a massive test for the party’s democratic credentials.
According to Adedoja, the convention will give members the opportunity to see whether or not the party will continue to act with impunity and impose candidates on members.
The former minister said this in Abuja on Sunday while speaking with newsmen about his desire to occupy the position of National Chairman of the party.
He said that the method that would be used to provide the outcome of the December convention would serve as a political laboratory for testing the democratic credentials of the PDP.
“If the December election into all the national leadership positions is democratic and the delegates decide who their officers are, it we will use the process for the elections of candidates for the party.
“So when we get right the national convention, then PDP has gotten it right,” Adedoja said.
He said that the party lost in the last election not because it did not do well in providing the dividends of democracy to Nigerians, in terms of infrastructure, social and economic development.
“The 16 years of PDP administration enable it to make positive impacts on the lives of Nigerians virtually in all sectors of the economy, as a result of manifesto it provided for the people of this country.
Adedoja said that the PDP would have ruled beyond 16 years, but its administration was truncated majorly because of impunity, imposition of candidates, and processes by which some of its candidates emerged.
“PDP has learnt it lessons and it is now ready to do the right thing by ensuring level playing ground for everybody aspiring.”
He added that PDP lost power not because Nigerians were not satisfied with it, but because they were promised changes “but after two years Nigerians want PDP to come back in 2019 to rule and rule better.”
Adedoja said to regain power in 2019, there must be better processes through which the party’s leaders and flag bearers would emerge.
The former minister said he was “the fresh face” PDP needs, especially now that the party wants to give Nigerians fresh ideas to consolidate on its 16 years achievements.
“To lead a party of PDP that is the biggest party in Africa will require a person with thorough understanding of the political thinking and orientation of Nigerians.
“In the modern Nigeria of today, you cannot succeed as the chairman of the party, without understanding the historical antecedents and the cultural value of different parts of Nigeria.
“The social economic needs of Nigerians transcend the reading of the pages of newspaper or books. You must have had the experience of personal relationship with different parts of the country.
“That is why I stand out to offer this service as a true Nigerian who has built friends and associate across all Nigeria.”
Adedoja, said that as a Nigerian from Oyo born in Kano state, he had lived and worked in different parties of Nigeria in the course of his studies and carrying out national and international assignments.
He said that as a loyal PDP member he had never been associated with any case of violence, anti-party activity or violation of any party rules and guidelines.
“I have not been involved in igniting any problem or crisis in PDP either at the ward, local government, state or national level.’’
He added that in his desire to lead the party, he had been making wide consultation with PDP stakeholders in over 30 states, “and I am satisfied with the feedback.”
“Also in the last seven months, I have been moving round the country to learn my hands in the various reconciliation efforts of the party by making personal contacts.”
Adedoja said when elected as PDP national Chairman, he would set in motion, machinery that would ensure that the party’s representatives emerged without imposition.
He added that when elected, he also had a 15 point focus that would help in discharging his duties, which include providing the needed leadership for re-positioning and re-branding of PDP.
Others were to lead the party to present a winning presidential candidate for the 2019 election and winning candidates for all elective positions.
“Part of my focus will also be promotion of party sustainability at the ward, local government, state and national level, through viable business ventures and investments.
“Ensuring party internal democracy and party discipline as well implementing standard financial regulations that conform to international best practices on transparency and accountability.”
Adedoja pledged to work with the party leaders and stakeholders as well as the governors in deploying innovative and fresh ideas for party membership drive and on other party issues.