Sam Oluwalana, Ibadan
A candidate in the Dec 9, 2017, Chairmanship election and a founding member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Akintayo Akin-Deko, has said the party would be rightly positioned to win the 2019 presidential election, provided it elects the right leadership during its elective national convention slated for December 9, 2017.
Akin-Deko, who spoke with journalists in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, on Wednesday, where he announced his candidacy for the national chairmanship race of the party, had before now contested for the office of national secretary of the party.
At the occasion, he noted that PDP under the right leadership would still remain the party to beat, adding that he’s ready to provide such leadership.
Those already in the race from South West included Prof. Tunde Adeniran, ex-Minister of Education; Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, former Minister of Sports and Special Duties; Otunba Gbenga Daniel, former governor of Ogun State; Senator Rashidi Ladoja, former governor of Oyo State; Chief Bode George, former Deputy National Chairman of the party (South); and Jimi Agbaje, former governorship candidate of PDP in Lagos State.
Akin-Deko, who has been in national politics for almost 40 years since the formative years of the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in 1978, told Journaloist that he had consulted wide and far before deciding to join the fray for the exalted position.
His words; “Today, having prayed diligently over the contest for the PDP national chairmanship slated for December 9, and having reviewed the encouraging comments of key PDP leaders and Yoruba elders that I have so far consulted, I am pleased to announce that I will also be contesting the esteemed post of PDP national chairmanship to lead our party to a new dawn and beyond.”
He continues; “our founding members and our best activists outside the party than within. Meanwhile, many of our members inside the party are demoralised by the loss of of the 2015 presidential elections, by the devastating revelations that trailed that loss, and, during the time we were preoccupied with acrimonious court cases, by failure of the party leadership to consult grassroots leaders on the way forward.
“But it is not a question of which of the many ex-this or ex-that currently in the national chairmanship race that matters, but which one of us can best reconcile the many factions in the PDP, convince former members to return and new ones to join, and inspire our activities, women and our youths to work together.
“Equally important is which of the candidates can best provide the party with the right public image of integrity, dynamism and a willingness to accommodate all shades of opinion at all times? I believe I am the candidate with those very qualities combined.”
On his pedigree in politics, 63-year-old Akin-Deko, a graduate of Economics,who has been in PDP since 1998, stated: “I was active in helping to coordinate my late father’s national chairmanship campaign in the NPN in 1981.
“I also helped to coordinate Mallam Adamu Ciroma’s presidential campaign in the National Republican Convention (NRC) between 1989 and 1990 from his Kaduna campaign headquarters, and did the same for Dr. Alex Ekwueme in the South West in 1998 and again in 2002. Consequently, I today have an enviable network of long-time political associates nationwide. I fully understand the nationalist ethos that keeps Nigeria one, and I am unrepentantly loyal to my party -the PDP.” he pledged.