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PDP CONVENTION: I’m afraid, Babangida says

Ahead of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) December 9, national convention, a former military leader and chieftain of the party, Ibrahim Babangida, has expressed fears over the monetary consideration that will likely dictate who emerges as the national chairman of the party.

He has therefore warned that the forthcoming national convention of the party should not be for sale and pleaded that members and stakeholders of the party must tread on the path of caution and common sense, “conscious of our recent history of avoidable political crisis”.

The former leader went further to call on founding members and leaders of the PDP to collectively assure Nigerians and members of the party that they have learnt bitter lessons from the loss of 2015 general elections.

He stated this in a statement he released on Sunday through his spokesperson, Kassim Afegbua.

The statement read, “Following the defeat of the party in the 2015 election, it is incumbent upon us as leaders and stakeholders to use the opportunity of the convention to sober reflect on the challenges confronting us, identify our flaws and seek plausible ways to correct them in order to come out stronger in subsequent elections.

“An elective convention presents as it were, a rare opportunity and veritable platform to elect in a holistic manner a credible, tested, down-to-earth and truly urbane candidate with enough stamina, distinguished character and national acceptability who is driven by incurable optimism and passion for a united Nigeria.

“When we were conceptualizing the idea of the PDP at formation, we had in mind a party that offers platform for all Nigerians in their pursuit of legitimate political aspirations. The choice of her motto; Power to the People was in sync with our clear objective of recognizing the people as the repository of power.

“The monetisation of our electoral process is disturbingly eroding that power which should ordinarily reside in the people.

“In the last few days, I get frightened by the monetary consideration that is likely to dictate who emerges as the National Chairman of our great party rather than what the people truly want.

“The discussion is more on the side of heavy monetisation of the process and ultimate “procurement” of the position of the Chairman by the highest bidder. This approach, in my humble view, defeats the whole essence of participation, free choice and voting which are the essential attributes of any democracy without inducement and outright manipulation.

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“I wish to plead that we tread on the path of caution and common sense, conscious of our recent history of avoidable political crisis.

“At 76, and given the benefit of hindsight, my role both in context and content; is now more of advisory one to enhance any altruistic democratic process to elect credible leadership at various levels of representation.

“Rather than de-monetize the electoral process to provide ample room for more citizens’ participation, the idea of monetizing the process and trying to ‘procure’ party positions defeats merit, offends good conscience and blurs fair play. At this critical stage of our political secretions, we need men of stature, discipline, character and commendable conduct to breathe fresh air into our party and not persons whose political relevance is the product of naira and kobo bargain across the counter.”

 

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