The outgoing leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has dismissed insinuations that the party “taxed” Governor Godwin Obaseki for the September 2020 governorship ticket.
The PDP had, at the last minute, offered its ticket to Obaseki to re-contest the election, upon his disqualification from the race by the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the platform of which he won his first election in 2016.
But, in an apparent reaction to the speed with which Osaseki secured the party’s ticket, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike had branded the PDP leaders “tax collectors”, a veiled accusation of selling the ticket to the highest bidder. However, the spokesman for the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, rejected the “tax collectors” tag as he urged Obaseki to explain to Nigerians and PDP members the processes that led to his emergence as a PDP candidate.
Ologbondiyan spoke yesterday at a valedictory season held in honour of the outgoing team of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC).
Urging the Edo governor to tell the truth about the allegation of bribery made against the Uche Secondus-led NWC, Ologbondiyan said the party leaders did not collect any gratification from Obaseki before giving him the ticket.
Ologbondiyan said: “Let me state without mincing words; that the governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, owes members of this NWC the responsibility of clearing our names before the public.
“I will like to place on record that this NWC did not demand any form of gratification from Obaseki before he got the ticket of our party. It is also important to restate that this NWC did not demand any form of “tax” from Governor Obaseki nor did we collect the same. He, therefore, owes it a duty to clear our names.”
He insisted that the outgoing NWC did its best to reposition and rebuild the party, leading to the regaining of some states.
“Before the 2019 elections, we had already added three governors from Sokoto, Kwara, and Benue states. The Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives led a good number of their colleagues to team up with the party. The APC adopted a reckless maximum rigging to snatch Ekiti and Osun.“
We rebuilt the party in content and character and this made it an attraction. We came out of the election with 17 governors; the APC stole Imo State while three governors later left the party to pursue personal endeavours, which was the fault of the NWC. The 2018 elective national convention, which produced our presidential candidate, was adjudged the best. It was keenly contested and not by consensus. At the end, none of the stakes, Ayu urged them to learn from such mistakes as they relinquished their positions.
The party chair said: “I believe whatever mistakes you think you have made, it is only human and all the PDP family will not only appreciate you better but also be ready to forgive you for whatever mistakes you have made.“
Because your contribution is bigger than whatever mistakes you must have made. And I think you should be proud and very willing to participate actively in party activities. The experience you have gained cannot be bought in the market. It is only experienced people who help us to see that we achieved more.
“The journey ahead is going to be turbulent and rough. Many people have attributed to me all sorts of capabilities. I’m sorry am not Jesus Christ, neither am I Prophet Mohammed. I am only a team leader who believes firmly that to run a big political party of this nature, you must work with everybody.“
We must work as a team; there will be no divisions. We will not allow any divisions. And that will extend to all other members of the party. We intend to run an inclusive administration. And that will include all members of the current working committee that is about to handover to us.
“It will extend to broadening the frontiers of administration to include every party leader in every state. And I believe together we will succeed. And if we succeed, I have succeeded. I thank you for the work you have done in organising this particular valedictory session.
“I think this valedictory session should have actually been an expanded NEC (National Executive Committee) meeting and everybody should have been here to listen to the statements you have made. But I think we have learned from you because, in the next couple of years, we too will be organising another valedictory session. I will try to ensure that everybody is on board.”[carousel_slide id='8496']