On Tuesday the acting National Chairman of PDP Kawu Baraje said that aspirants for various national offices of the party will face a screening committee.This is the second remarkable event within the week with regards to the intrigues ahead of the party’s convention slated for March 24th .Just yesterday or so the President met with some stakeholders including the Adamawa state Governor Murtala Nyako.Strangely, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur one of the Party’s chairmanship aspirants was also at the meeting .He told reporters afterwards that he used the meeting to canvass for the support of the stakeholders.
But the unfolding game plan seems to lend credence to earlier claims that the Presidency may have given its support to Tukur who is seen by some as the chairman- in -.There are those who however argue that what you see may not exactly be the true picture of things .It is on the strength of this assumption that many aspirants have been intensifying their campaigns despite rumours of anointtment.
Let it be said from the beginning that this piece seeks to assert that in on going battle for the soul of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP every credible step be taken to deepen democracy within the party. For some obvious reasons, PDP has become the most maligned party. Ironically, it is equally the most sought- after by those wishing to assume power to ensure better life for Nigerians.
It is this paradoxical state of affairs that makes the race for the PDP chairmanship position a very critical step in the march to entrench Nigeria’s democracy. And straight way this writer wishes to state that Professor Ahmed Rufai Alkali stands tall and evidently well -placed to save the party from destruction. Reports said he has the advantage of having a seemingly healthy relationship with his Gombe State Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo.The governor was said to have urged his fellow Northern States’ Governors to support Alkali.
Alkali has been an insider of some sort within the party. As the national publicity secretary of the party he has had the opportunity to understudy the workings of the party.Such understanding of the internal workings of the party is expected to be an advantage.But it could also be an obstacle if he is incapable of taking firm positions on issues.Fortunately, he has been a courageous public servant- that is what those close to him have repeatedly said :That he is a man who holds on to his convictions .It has been Alkali’s lot though to announce some rather tough decisions of the party to Nigerians in recent times.
The Professor in some of his recent comments has shown that he understands the essence of cohesion within the party.The recent history of PDP shows how it has faced more opposition from within than anywhere else.So the party is desperately in need of a party builder, a team player with proper grasp of the importance of the party to entrenchment of democracy. A leader equipped with vital intellect and rich knowledge of the state of affairs within like Rufai in my view is better positioned to take up such challenge and place the party on the right pedestal.Those close to him say he is dreaming of making the party even more attractive than it is now.What he needs is the mandate of the people and perhaps the stakeholders .
There is no doubt that the PDP chairmanship race is crowded with several heavyweights .Aside from Tukur,there are equally good aspirants with rich credentials,it must be said.In fact , that is why it was very curious when reports began to filter out recently that one of the heavyweights has been endorsed by the Presidency and that it was just a question of time for him to be anointed .But those planning such move are well advised to rethink because another anointment may do further damage to the party. And it was indeed good news when elements within the presidency came out to deny such reports of anointment .Equally the party top shots have made it clear there is no consensus yet.
The report that his governor supports him may be Professor Alkali’s remains an encouraging development.It means he has managed his relationship with his ‘base’ very well.Despite that even Alkali’s supporters expect that he will be allowed to compete with others so that he could emerge in a free and fair contest .But Nyako doused such hopes when he hinted on Monday that the governors will follow any path chosen by the President.This , once again, raises the question:Will the governors indeed stand behind an aspirant such as Alkali or will they again bow to the Villa’s anointed candidate however unpopular he may be?
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