Setting The Criteria For Aspirants In The 2017 PDP National Convention
Ahead of the forthcoming December 9, 2017 Elective National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), stakeholders of the party are worried with the quality of aspirants indicating interest to contest for various offices in the Convention.
Of particular interest is the invasion of the immediate past National Working Committee (NWC), of the PDP that were considered to be the major obstacle of the party in the 2015 General Elections. This is the understanding of many Nigerians who are not even members of the PDP that, the immediate past National Working Committee (NWC), contributed largely to the dwindling fortunes of the party.
Nigerians will recall that during the 14 months leadership crisis of the PDP, the Senator Ahmed Makarfi led National Caretaker Committee in their own wisdom, setup a Strategy Review and Inter Party Affairs Committee which was ably chaired by Professor Jerry Gana, the former Minister of Information and a stalwarts of the PDP.
The Jerry Gana led Strategy Committee met severally in Abuja and its environs and came up with far reaching recommendations with a view to change the mindsets of PDP leaders and stakeholders in order to restore confidence of the people.
Some of the key recommendations of the Strategy Committee, especially as it concerns conduct of party primaries, congresses and national convention are as follows:-
i. That the party must conduct background checks on all candidates/aspirants contesting for various offices;
ii. That in view of the performance of the immediate past members of the National Working Committee (NWC), they should be exempted from seeking any position in the in-coming National Working Committee (NWC);
iii. That the authentic delegates list properly documented in the National Secretariat of the party should be made available to all seeking elective positions to avoid last minute fraudulent alterations;
iv. That National Chairmanship Aspirants should all be given 10 minutes to address the convention on their vision for the party;
v. That voting and accreditation should take place simultaneously to avoid time wasting;
vi. That the number of votes cast in each state should not exceed the approved Delegates from the state;
vii. That credible and open secret ballot system should be utilized at Congresses, Primaries and Convention;
ix. That the use of thugs should be outlawed;
xi. That the sale of nomination forms should be liberalized to accommodate all interested aspirants.
These recommendations, if applied appropriately in the conduct of party primaries, congresses and the forthcoming National Convention will give a lot credibility to the processes and add value to the outing of the party in 2019.
Unfortunately, the Strategy Review Committee report has neither the endorsement of the National Executive Committee (NEC) and or the National Convention in order to accord it the needed legitimacy it requires.
The National Caretaker Committee should be commended for putting together the Jerry Gana Strategy Committee and for the marvelous outcome of the Committee. However, the report of the Committee will have no serious effect except given the necessary legitimacy by the required party organs.
Finally, It is therefore of great necessity for all organs of the PDP to work together in setting up best criteria, especially based on the report of the Jerry Gana led Strategy Committee to select its first eleven as the party prepares for the National Convention to elect offices at the National levels.
Olalekan Fadairo is writing from Abeokuta, Ogun State.