* Says It Was Plan B against Sheriff
Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
An aspirant for the National Chairmanship position of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and owner of Raypower radio and AIT, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, yesterday revealed that the current national leadership of the party, governors and elders of the party, gave him clearance to form the All Peoples Democratic Aliance (APDA).
Dokpesi, who addressed journalists in Abuja, pointed out that 99% of persons who formed APDA belonged to the then Sen Ahmed Makarfi-led faction.
According to him, the new party was formed as an alternative platform to the PDP at the heat of its internal crisis.
He specifically stated that all organs of the PDP, including the Board of Trustees, Governors’ Forum, and National Assembly Caucus were involved in the formation of APDA.
Dokpesi,, stressed that the Makarfi faction, which was threatened by the Ali Modu Sheriff camp, saw the need to get an alternative platform in case the Supreme Court Judgment went against it.
He further lamented that he had to make the clarification because some other contenders were using his formation of APDA to campaign against him.
APDA was formed at the heat of the PDP leadership crisis with Dopkesi listed at its major backer. But shortly after the party was registered by the Independenent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Dokpesi felt out the chairman of the party, Mohammed Shittu, resulting in a legal battle over the ownership of the party.
Dokpesi declared: “I take full responsibility for the roles I played in the formation and funding of APDA. It was set up as a plan B for the PDP at the peak of its internal crisis.
“We did not want to take chances. Our geniune members were being deprived opportunity to contest as Sheriff kept shutting the door against them. So there grew the urgent need for an alternative platform through which our ordinary members could run elections as councillors, and local government chairmen. We cannot fold our arms and simply watch on.
“It was not done by me alone. All the organs of the party were part of the decision to form APDA. At a point I wrote to all party governors to tell them that there is need for members of the party to know”, he explained.
He described as shocking attempts by some senior PDP members to use his link to APDA to blacmail him.
On whether his roles in the formation and funding of APDA would adversely affect his ambition, Dokpesi stated that court ruling had already cleared him when it noted that there is nothing on record to officially link him to APGA.
Dokpesi who said his ambition to be the national chairman of the PDP remained strong pointed out that his trial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC) will not affect his aspiration because he has not been convicted.
He added that impression that the position of the national chairman of the PDP has been reserved for the South West Geo-Poilitical zone.
Dokpesi explained: “The National Convention zoned the position of the national chairman to the South and zoned the Presidency to the North. And there is no micro zoning; the convention would have said it is zoning to the South West, but the convention in its wisdom did not do so.”
Dismissing proponents of micro zoning the party Chairmanship to the South west, he said “I said very clearly that I have a lot of respect for the elders of this party, I have a lot of respect for constituted authority, but they are human beings, they are bound to make mistakes and the facts of the mistakes, having brought to their attention, so, if they cannot continue repeating the mistakes, because the mistakes have been made.
“The Ike Ekweremadu committee said the chairmanship should go to the entire south while the President goes to the North. We should Allow all parts participate fairly.
“Anybody trying to manipulate this does so at a great risk for the party. An 88 member committee considered this and affirmed that the zoning should between North and South” Dokpesi added