National chairmanship aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday vowed not to defect from the party, with their supporters, if any of them lose the December 9 elective National Elective Convention of the party.
The aspirants, who also promised to abide by the outcome of the convention however gave a caveat that the convention must be free, fair and transparent in accordance with the constitution of the party.
They also agreed that any aspirant, who breaches party’s 2015 zero policy on expenditure which prohibits the inducement including lodging of delegates and providing money for votes, should be disqualified on or before the convention date.
The aspirants agreed to this while appending their signatures to a peace accord, titled ‘National Chairmanship Aspirants Accord on Prevention of Violence and Acceptance of Election Result at the Elective National Convention’ in Abuja.
The national chairmanship contenders, present at the meeting were media mogul Raymond Dokpesi; former governorship aspirant Jimi Agbaje; former governor of Oyo State Rashidi Ladoja; former deputy national chairman, Uche Secondus; former Minister of Education, Tunde Adeniran; former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel.
Former minister of Youths and spyorts, Taoheed Adedoja, who was absent at the ceremony due to flight delay however arrived the party’s national headquarters and signed the peace accord.
However former deputy national chairman of PDP Bode George, who had asked to be excused from the meeting while at another meeting in Enugu State, will sign on Wednesday.
Those present signed the peace accord in the presence of the national leadership of the party under the watch of Ahmed Makarfi.
According to the content of the peace accord, the aspirants agreed to “Support whoever emerges amongst us as the National Chairman of our great party as long as the process is transparent, free and fair in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Party and guidelines of the elective National Convention.
“No aspirant shall leave the Party or encourage his or her supporters, promoters etc to do so, as a result of the outcome of the National Chairmanship Election at the elective National Convention.
“Any breach of the 2015 zero expenditure policy of the party, which prohibits the use of monetary inducement including lodging of delegates and providing money for votes, shall not be tolerated in the 2017 National Elective Convention and shall be a ground for disqualincation on or before the 9th December, 2017.
“Any aspirant/sponsor/supporter/financier, proven to have done anything contrary to the agreements reached herein and in circumstances that suggest the knowledge of the undersigned persons shall be disqualified from contesting the National Chairmanship election.
“Solemnly abide by and uphold the tenets of this National Chairmanship Election according to which we hereby voluntarily subscribe.”
They also vowed to civil in the campaign and agreed to do away with hate statements, pronouncements, declarations, threats or ‘speeches that have capacity to incite any form of violence, before, during and after the national convention of the party.’
Speaking earlier, Makarfi, who noted that the accord was the brain child of the aspirants, assured that none of them will be exclude from contesting the chairmanship election.
He further dispelled insinuations that party stakeholders had at a recent meeting in Enugu State planned to impose a chairman for the party.
He said: “When we went to Enugu some were under the impression that we would force a candidate on the party which was wrong”, adding that they are more interested in ensuring that whole convention is free, fair and transparent convention and that they all come out as one family.
Speaking on behalf of the aspirants, former governor of Oyo State, Rashidi Ladoja, said it was usual to fight for elective position in the party, just as he frowned against those who fail to emerge chairman should defect.
“It is also an aberration to leave when you lose. Didn’t join to be chairman but to further the interest of the party. This ceremony has already been planted in their minds”.
OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja
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Author: OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja