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 the National Caretaker Committee chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja, on Tuesday.
Others present are Professor Tunde Adeniran, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, Prince Uche Secondus, Chief Gbenga Daniel and Mr 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.
The party boss said the peace accord was the initiative of the aspirants who he said had agreed to act with decorum at the forthcoming national convention of the party.
He said the aspirants had 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 might be influencing the outcome of the election, saying that the state chief executives were 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 about 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 to 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.
Speaking on behalf of the aspirants, Senator 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 an alternative government.
I am still in the race —Akin-Deko
In a related development, Chief Akintayo Akin-Deko, one of the chairmanship aspirants, has said that he remains in the race despite his absence at the meeting between the aspirants and PDP governors in Enugu last Sunday.
In a statement issued in Ibadan, on Tuesday, he said contrary to the belief in some sections that his absence was indicative of loss of interest in the race, he opted out of the parley because the meeting was sectional.
According to him, “The PDP governors’ parley of that day clearly represented party members in only 11 states of Nigeria and excluded our members in 25 other states. It also excluded PDP members in five of the six states of the South-West to which I belong. No matter how illustrious or powerful, the governors’ parley of that day qualified as a faction of the PDP.”
He added that since his purpose for signifying interest in the position is to unite all factions, it would not be right for him to attend a sectional meeting.
Cross River gov backs George
Meanwhile, the Cross River State governor, Professor Ben Ayade, has described the former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Chief George, as a dogged icon of purity, purpose, sagacity, finesse and political suavity.
Ayade said this when Chief George paid him a courtesy visit in his office in Calabar, on Tuesday.
George was in Calabar to mobilise delegates for the forthcoming convention of the party where he would be contesting for the post of party chairmanship.