Former governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party for Lagos state in the 2015 election, Mr Jimi Agbaje has promised that he will lead the party back to winning ways if elected chairman of the party at the Portharcourt Convention.
He also said that PDP gave ‘way so that Nigerians can test what other parties have in stock. But it is regrettable that party has failed to provide the change promised. Every youth in Nigeria will like to see PDP reformed, and the reformation has started.”
Speaking with Journalists shortly after he picked the nomination forms for the chairmanship position of the party in Abuja, Mr Agbaje said as a candidate who does not belong to any of the factions in the party, he stands a better chance to unite all the contending forces in the party.
According to him, it was high time the party learnt from its mistakes of the past that cost it power at the national level as well as some states that it had previously won.
He said: “We accept that mistakes were made in the past in the PDP, especially with our internal democracy. So we have to go back to the position of the founding fathers of our party on internal democracy
“And that means that we have go back to our constitution. That is very important. We have to be more all inclusive as we have been thus far. It is about bringing people nearer rather than sending them far away from the party. Everybody must feel to be part of this party.
“what I bring to the table is that I am not a member of any faction or any tendencies. I am in a position to talk to everybody, to ensure that if you love the PDP, then it is time to come back to the zone. I will appeal to those who feel very strongly to join us because Nigeria cannot make the progress it deserves without a viable opposition and that PDP is going to provide that opposition as an alternative government and in a responsible manner.
On the attempt by leaders of the party in the south to conduct an internal zoning, he said it is difficult to achieve that.
“We must understand what is playing out. The party is very clear, what the party zoned is that the National Chairmanship is to the South. It is the south on its own now that is running to see if it can get some measure of consensus.
“It is already very difficult to get consensus under circumstances where everybody feels that he is qualified. The beauty of democracy is that you must be able, and shouldn’t be afraid to contest.
“What matters is that a level playing field is created and we shouldn’t bring this idea that we must have consensus. No! It is not even good to have consensus all the time. Let us have robust competition, because competition always brings out a better solution and I think that is important.
“Now it is for those in the south to decide what they want. If they say it is the Southwest, so be it. If you feel you can run against the tide, nobody will stop you. We must continue to go back to the constitution, the constitution does not give you the power to exclude anybody. When you exclude you create tension. If you say look, this is what we think is best, if you do not agree, then, get into the field and let us run this race” he said.
Meanwhile, an aspirant for the national youth leader under the PDP, Mr Ude Okoye, has said that the zoning of positions in the party would ensure equity.
Speaking after he picked his form ahead of the party’s national convention, Okoye said “Sometime we may rule and think that our ruling is correct. Anybody who knows this wonderful party, PDP, and our many slogan will know that it is a party that dwells on equity. It was built and anchored on equity that anything that the north has, the south should have the same. We are not like the present political party ruling Nigeria; we want the northerners to feel the same way as southerners because we are one Nigeria.
“That is why in our system we believe in zoning; the zones that can give us what we have so that the party can move forward. That we zoned offices does not mean that any of our members who feels like running cannot run. The zoning formula of PDP is not in anyway prohibiting anyone who feels like running.
“When elected as youth leader of this party, I will do my best to unite the party. First of all, I will like to say that our image has not been battered because PDP has been at the top of politics in Nigeria. Many people have been clamouring for the party to come back to power. We have given way so that Nigerians can test what other parties have in stock. But it is regrettable that party has failed to provide the change promised. Every youth in Nigeria will like to see PDP reformed, and the reformation has started.”
On what he intends to achieve as youth leader, he said “I intend to reach out to all the youths in order to tell them about the new agenda of the party, and also the agenda of the founding father of this party. I will like say that nobody.”