A national chairmanship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party, Raymond Dokpesi, has disclosed that the court order received by the embattled former National Chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, frustrated the anointed candidate of the governors elected on the platform of the party, Jimi Agbaje, to emerge as national chairman.
Dokpesi said the postponement of the convention in Port Harcourt, Rivers State was “a blessing in disguise”.
In a statement by Omor Bazuaye, the spokespersons of the Raymond Dokpesi Campaign, on Friday, Dokpesi said shifting the convention in Port Harcourt following the closure of the convention ground by soldiers and police affords members a rare opportunity to resolve the leadership crisis in the party.
He said the shift in date also assisted in no small measure to prevent a situation that could have further complicated the crisis with the kind of factionalisation that could have happened if the convention had gone ahead as scheduled.
Dokpesi, who had taken a tour of the country canvassing for support and votes of delegates, said he arrived Port Harcourt only to be told that PDP Governors had anointed Agbaje, the former PDP governorship candidate of the party in Lagos State, for the position.
To effect their plot, he said the Governors went on to lobby delegates from the North, asking them to obey the “micro zoning” arrangement, which was unilaterally decided by them.
Dokpesi disclosed that fortunately, delegates from the North refused to be a part of the scheme and that when the message was brought to them, they insisted it was “Raymond Dokpesi”, who had gone round the country that they wanted to vote for.
Dokpesi said going round the country, he had established a special bond with the people, a bond he claimed made it absolutely impossible for their conscience to be bought at the last minute.
The statement said: “When they brought the message to anoint Agbaje to the people, everybody started screaming that it was Raymond Dokpesi they want to vote for and so the Northern elders order them to go to the field.”
He added that while the Northern delegates had made up their minds to defile the governors, it was not so convenient for delegates from PDP-controlled states to go against the wishes of their governors who were hell bent to install the next Chairman.
For Dokpesi, Sheriff’s court order was a saving grace from the massive rigging that had been perfectly worked out.
Dokpesi, however, called on all aggrieved members to use the respite created by the shift in date to resolve the crisis, asking them to sheath their swords and come down from their high horses.
“If you listen to Ali Modu Sheriff and the governors, you’ll clearly see the ego at play,” he said.
Dokpesi said what is happening in the party is not a PDP problem but a clear case of Sheriff and a few PDP Governors in a battle for supremacy.
Dokpesi revealed that as a founding member of the PDP, he has been involved in a number of backdoor discussions aimed at resolving the crisis within the party.
He said he swallowed his pride to approach Sheriff on the matter, pointing out that once he had spoken with the former Governor of Borno State, he doesn’t believe Sheriff means bad for the PDP.
Dokpesi denies being a stooge or fronting for anyone.