The subtle plan to micro-zone the national chairmanship of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the South West has pitched founder of Daar Communication and one of the aspirants to the office, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, against the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee (NCC).
Consequently, Dokpesi has stated that the attempt by the PDP leadership to use his link with one of newly registered political parties, the All Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA) to blackmail him and exclude him from the contest will not work.
According to him, the decision to form APDA as an alternative platform at the heat of the internal crisis was collective one by party stakeholders loyal to the Makarfi faction of the PDP.
He explained at a press conference in Abuja Wednesday that the then Makarfi faction having been threatened by the Ali Modu Sheriff camp, saw the need to get an alternative platform in case the Supreme Court judgment went against it.
Explaining his roles in the formation of APDA, Dokpesi stated “I take full responsibility for the roles I played in the formation and and funding of APDA. It was set up as a plan B for the PDP at the peak of its internal crisis”
According to Dokpesi, 99% of persons who formed APDA belonged to the then Makarfi faction of the PDP.
He further disclosed that all organs of the PDP including the Board of Trustees, Governors’ Forum, and National Assembly Caucus were very much involved in the formation of APDA.
“We did not want to take chances. Our genuine members were being deprived opportunity to contest as Sheriff kept shutting the door against them. So there grew the urgent need for an alternative platform through which our ordinary members could run elections as councillors, and local government chairmen. We cannot fold our arms and simply watch on”
“It was not done by me alone. All the organs of the party were part of the decision to form APDA
“At a point I wrote to all party governors to tell them that there is need for members of the party to know”
He described as shocking attempts by some senior PDP members to use his link to APDA to blackmail him.
On whether his roles in the formation and funding of APDA would adversely affect his ambition, Dokpesi stated that court ruling had already cleared him when it noted that there’s nothing on record to link him officially to APDA.
Dokpesi who said his ambition to be the national chairman of the PDP remained strong pointed out that his trial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has no effect on his aspiration because he has not been convicted.
He dismissed as untrue, impression that the position of the national chairman of the PDP has been reserved for the South West geo-political zone.
He explained further: “The National Convention zoned the position of the national chairman to the South and zoned the Presidency to the North. And there is no micro zoning; the convention would have said it is zoning to the South West, but the convention in its wisdom did not do so.
Responding to those canvassing that the chairmanship be reserved for the South West, Dokpesi said that the leaders of the party cannot continue to make mistakes of the past.
“I said very clearly that I have a lot of respect for the elders of this party, I have a lot of respect for constituted authority, but they are human beings, they are bound to make mistakes and the facts of the mistakes, having brought to their attention, so, if they cannot continue repeating the mistakes, because the mistakes have been made.
“The Ike Ekweremadu committee said the chairmanship should go to the entire south while the Presidency goes to the North. We should allow all parts participate fairly.
“Anybody trying to manipulate this does so at a great risk for the party
An 88-member committee considered this and affirmed that the zoning should between North and South,” Dokpesi added.