A chieftain of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Sen. Tunde Ogbeha, says the choice of next National Chairman of the party at the December Convention is critical to its survival.
Ogbeha stated this when Chief Raymond Dokpesi, a national chairmanship aspirant of the party, visited him in Abuja on Sunday.
According to him, who emerges new national chairman of the party will determine its performance in the 2019 general elections.
“The national convention of December will make or break the PDP in the sense that whosoever emerges as chairman will be critical to the survival of the party.
“I think we are just trying to get out of `intensive care unit’. If we will get out of it, we need a proper chairman to make sure that PDP is brought back to life.
“Why I said it is very critical is that we have so many people who have thrown their hats into the ring and one is not in a position to ascertain how passionate and determined these aspirants are,” he said.
Ogbeha, a former military governor of Akwa Ibom and old Bendel, stressed the need for the convention to be conducted in a transparent, honest, fair and equitable manner.
“I think that may be, some of us have not learnt our lessons; we have all been singing it, `it’, being the new national anthem of the PDP that no more impunity.
“We are talking about justice, fairness and equity. We must not be seen to just be singing it; I think we should put them into practice,” he said.
He advised PDP governors to allow the wishes of the people to prevail and called on the party members to resist any form of impunity.
“In fact, when PDP was on the brink, we thought of an alternative platform which we all subscribed to, but thank God we did not get to that option B.
“Now that we still have the option A in our hands, we must nurture it to fruition.’’
Ogbeha, who expressed confidence in Dokpesi’s capability to lead the PDP, prayed for him and assured him of his total support.
He pledged to use his influence to mobilise support for the aspirant, adding that the support was to ensure that Nigerians benefited from the dividends of democracy.
“I have worked closely with Dokpesi during the trying times of the PDP to ensure that the party did not go down, and today PDP is alive.
“We still have more hurdles to cross if PDP is to survive and form a government in 2019.
“To that effect, we need a leader with focus who possesses the attributes the high chief himself has laid down,’’ he said.
A former Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ibrahim Mantu, who was also visited by Dokpesi, advised PDP members to stand up for a free and fair convention.
He said that those who caused leadership problems for PDP were at it again by trying to bring in the old National Working Committees members.
“If you bring in any member of the former NWCs, it is like dropping small urine in pure water; you have contaminated it and it will not be fit for drinking.
“If we allowed them before, we will not repeat the same mistake,’’ Mantu stressed.
He commended Dokpesi for the bold steps taken in visiting a co-contestant, describing him as “a man that has all that it takes to lead PDP’’.
Earlier, Dokpesi had said that his visit was in continuation of his consultation towards the attainment of the goals and objectives to have a reformed and rebuilt PDP.
According to him, PDP needs men of honour and integrity who will stand firm for a united Nigeria, its growth and development.
`A man that will stand to strengthen, organise, revamp and rejuvenate the PDP in order to enable the party regain power in 2019,’’ he said.