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PDP issues stern warning to aspirants against bribery ahead of convention

National chairmanship aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party have been warned against inducing delegates to the party’s national convention.

The convention holds in Abuja on December 9.

The party warned that any of the aspirants that bribed or induced delegates would be disqualified from contesting at the convention.

It added that any aspirant that violated the rules could still be disqualified on the day of convention.

But the party did not disclose how it would monitor the aspirants and their agents.

This was part of the peace accord signed by the aspirants at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja on Tuesday.

Seven of the aspirants signed the accord.

The seven aspirants who endorsed the peace accord are Prof. Tunde Adeniran, Prince Uche Secondus, Chief Gbenga Daniel, Rashidi Ladoja, Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi and Mr. Jimi Agbaje.

Only Chief Olabode George was absent from the event and he was said to have secured the permission of the national leadership of the party to sign the document on Thursday.

The aspirants also vowed to support whoever emerged as the national chairman at the convention.

The accord read in part, “We will 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 grounds for disqualification on or before the 9th of 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.”

The brief ceremony was witnessed by some members of the party like the Chairman of the PDP Disciplinary Committee, Chief Tom Ikimi; ex- Rivers State Governor, Mr. Celestine Omehia, and Senator Lee Maeba, amongst others.

Speaking before the peace accord, the Chairman, National Caretaker Committee of the party, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, thanked the aspirants for putting the party first, adding that their resolve to sign the peace accord was a sign of greatness.

He assured the aspirants that the party’s national leadership would remain neutral in the contest.

Makarfi, who also condemned what he described as misleading reports of alleged feud among the aspirants by a section of the media, also noted that the coming together of the aspirants to pledge their commitment to the outcome of the convention would help put the records straight and “shame our detractors.”

He added, “Our being here today is a clear confirmation that what they (a section of the media) have been saying is wrong. You have resolved that whoever is crowned by God and elected by the delegates will be acceptable to you.

“We didn’t suggest anything to you. You met and showed it to us and all we did was thank you for statesmanship. Even PDP has not done this before, not to talk of other parties that are undemocratic.

“You have shown that whatever happens, the overall interest of the party prevails. This is a sign of greatness; an indication of good things to come.”

On why George was absent from the occasion, Makarfi said the aspirant had asked to be allowed to append his signature to the accord on Wednesday as “ today (Tuesday) was not convenient for him.”

Ladoja, who responded on behalf of his fellow aspirants, thanked the leadership of the party for providing what he called “a level playing field for the contestants,” and promised that “the convention will not break our party.”

He also assured the leadership of the party that he and his colleagues would abide by the contents of the agreements signed.

Speaking with journalists after the event, Secondus urged his colleagues to put the party first in whatever they do.

He said the voluntary signing of the accord was an indication that the aspirants were willing to work together.

Secondus said, “The PDP is the reason why we are here. Without the party, we won’t be here vying to lead it. We should therefore do everything possible to remain united before, during and after the convention.

“Our primary aim should be how to wrept power at the centre and in many states . With the way we are going, we would get there.”

Meanwhile, an aspirant to the office of the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr . Farouk Adejo, has accused the All Progressives Congress of blackmailing the party with half truth.

Adejo, who picked his nomination form at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja on Tuesday, promised to overhaul the image of the party if elected.

According to him, the poor image management of the PDP led to the loss of the 2015 general elections.

“We lost the last election due to poor image management; the public perception did us more harm. The opposition used half truths and falsehood and our image managers were complacent.

“This trend was ignored by past image makers that it became the way we were perceived,” he said.

The aspirants said the APC was blaming its alleged incompetence and lack of administrative acumen on PDP and regretted that the party’s spokesperson could not proffer any superior argument to counter the opposition’s claims.

“Today our party has been hounded by the ruling party, and APC always blames PDP for all conceivable and inconceivable evils. This trend has become entrenched in the APC national life and we need to change the narrative,” he said.

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