Some aspirants to national offices in the Peoples Democratic Party have denied involvement in an alleged plan for a parallel National Convention of the party.
The party has scheduled the event for December 9 and 10 to elect its national leadership.
But one of the chairmanship aspirants and a former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Olabode George; a deputy national chairmanship aspirant, Inna Ciroma; and a new national chairmanship aspirant, Olusegun Aderemi, have denied being part of the rumoured plan by some members of the party to stage a parallel convention.
The National Caretaker Committee of the party had earlier declared that it had uncovered the plan to hold the parallel convention.
Speaking separately to journalists at the party’s National Secretariat on Thursday during the 77th NEC meeting of the PDP, the aspirants said they were not involved in any such plan.
Mr. George, who was at the secretariat to submit his chairmanship nomination form, however, called for a transparent convention.
“I want to appeal that we have to be extremely careful in managing the convention. We cannot afford any more crisis,” he said.
He said he would always remain in the PDP regardless of the outcome of his aspiration, describing himself as “an irredentist PDP man.”
He promised to correct ills in the party such as impunity and lack of respect for the party’s constitution, if elected its national chairman.
Mrs. Ciroma, who also denied involvement in an alternative event, advised other aspirants and their supporters to avoid any form of discord, noting that genuine believers in the ideals of the party and democracy should not forget that power comes from God.
Mrs. Ciroma emphasised unity of the party and said the party should ensure there is no acrimony.
“Whether you are a Christian or Muslim, you must realise that power comes from God. In whatever we do, the party must come first,” she added.
She described the party’s defeat in the 2015 presidential election as a blessing in disguise because the loss made Nigerians to experience life under a different political party, saying they had seen the difference.
“It was a good thing that PDP lost in that election because now, we are feeling the pinch; Nigerians are feeling the pinch. PDP is the party to beat because it is the party that is in every part of Nigeria. That was why we were in power for 16 years.
“Nigerians have seen the difference and they are saying we have seen the difference. Nigerians are saying let’s go back to the PDP. Ordinary Nigerians are asking PDP to come back,” she said.
Mrs. Ciroma further advised the party to come up with robust programmes that will appeal to Nigerians.
Mr. Aderemi who introduced himself to journalists as a new candidate and the youngest at the age of 44 years, said he is not too young to run for the position. He said he was not aware of any parallel convention.
Mr. Aderemi, who is from Ekiti State, said he picked his form on Tuesday and was at the secretariat on Thursday to submit it.
He said was confident of victory because, according to him, he has the backing of the youth.
When asked if he had made his decision when the party announced the names of aspirants for this position two weeks ago, he said he had thought of it then but the controversy on zoning was what delayed his making his intention known.
“I was thinking of it already before the controversy on zoning.”
On a peace accord by the aspirants, Mr. Aderemi said: “I am going to sign if they ask me to sign.”