Aspirants to the office of the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), have signed a peace accord with Chief Bode George absent at the ceremony presided over by Chairman of the party’s National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi at the national secretariat of the party in Abuja on Tuesday.
Others were present including Prof. Tunde Adeniran, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, Rasheed Ladoja, Prince Uche Secondus, Otunba Gbenga Daniel and Chief Jimi Agbaje.
Professor Taoheed Adedoja was absent at the event but came to the secretariat later to endorse the document.
Makarfi however explained that George had previously indicated that he could not meet up with Tuesday’s ceremony because of a prior engagement while Adedoja had flight difficulties.
The party boss said the peace accord was the initiative of the aspirants who he said had agreed to act with decorum heading into the election at the forthcoming national convention of the party.
He said the aspirants have decided to support and work with any of the aspirants who emerged at the end of the election.
Makarfi dismissed insinuation that state governors under the party may be influencing the outcome of the election, saying rather, that the state chief executive were pleasantly surprised at the progress made by the aspirants themselves towards ensuring a credible election.
The party boss observed that the chairmanship peace initiative was novel to PDP, a party he observed was intent on sticking to democratic principles.
He noted that aspirants were free to talk to themselves on the best way to ensure a credible convention.
Speaking ostensibly on the need for consensus before heading into the convention, Makarfi said it was important to agree on candidates for positions in order to shorten the duration of the exercise.
He said this was particularly important for lower cadre offices in order not subject delegates to punitive conditions.
But he assured that even if there was a sole candidate for any position, election would still be conducted for it.
“You have agreed to act with decorum and to work with whoever is elected. You developed it (agreement) yourself, we didn’t suggest anything. PDP has never done this before not to talk of others that are not democratic. We submit ourselves to democratic tenets,” Makarfi declared.
Part of the agreement signed by the aspirants read: “Support whoever emerges amongst us as the National Chairman of our great party as long as the process is transparent, free and fair in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Party and guidelines of the elective National Convention.
“No aspirant shall leave the Party or encourage his or her supporters, promoters etc., to do so, as a result of the outcome of the National Chairmanship Election at the elective National Convention.
“Any breach of the 2015 zero expenditure policy of the party, which prohibits the use of monetary inducement including lodging of delegates and providing money for votes, shall not be tolerated in the 2017 National Elective Convention and shall be a ground for disqualincation on or before the 9th December, 2017;
“Any aspirant/sponsor/supporter/financier, proven to have done anything contrary to the agreements reached herein and in circumstances that suggest the knowledge of the undersigned persons shall be disqualified from contesting the National Chairmanship election.
“Solemnly abide by and uphold the tenets of this National Chairmanship Election according to which we hereby voluntarily subscribe.”
Speaking on behalf of the aspirants, former Oyo state governor, Ladoja assured that
the convention would be smooth, noting that all of them were desirous of making PDP great because according to him, Nigerians were looking for alternative government.
He said the convention would won’t break the PDP or make people leave the party, adding: “We are just want to see the convention is transparent. By and large, we are committed to this party.”
Meanwhile, the PDP Rescue Group has advised that all hands must be on deck to support the efforts of the National Caretaker Committee in achieving a hitch-free successful National Convention.
According to a statement issued by the Secretary of the group and former Sokoto state Deputy Governor, Muktari Shagari, the
the National Caretaker Committee must allow for a free, fair and transparent election in which party delegates elect candidates of their choices without any form of duress or imposition;
To achieve this, the group stated, the National Caretaker Committee must ensure the congresses leading to the convention are also free and fair.