Jubilation, As Salvador Emerges Lagos PDP Chairman | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Jubilation, As Salvador Emerges Lagos PDP Chairman

Posted: May 15, 2016 at 3:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Augustine AdahSalvador

Despite initial hiccups that characterised the conduct of ward congress in Lagos State chapter of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)   the state congress was different. The conduct of state congress that led to the election of new members of the State Working Committee was rancour free. At the end of the exercise, a former member of the House of Representatives, Chief  Moshood  Adegoke Salvador emerged the new state chairman of the party in Lagos State.

Salvador, a delegate to the 2014 National Conference, alongside other aspirants for various offices, were unanimously elected at the state congress of the party held in Ikeja, Lagos.

Others  who emerged at the congress include Prince Muiz Shodipe (Secretary), Chief Ola Apena (Deputy chairman), Mr Taofik Gani (Publicity Secretary), Taiwo Kuye (Organising secretary), and Princess Olateru Olagbegi (Woman leader).

In his acceptance speech, the new state chairman promised to settle differences among aggrieved members and instill discipline within the party. He also pledged to make discipline his top most priority. He, however, called on members of the party work as a united force to defeat the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in subsequent elections.

“I want to extend my sincere gratitude to all leaders of our party especially Chief Olabode George. I thank members for standing against division within the party.Today, a new era is on ground and I want to appeal to all aggrieved members to work together for the progress of our party. We have ample opportunity to defeat the APC. We all have a responsibility to make this party great, let us therefore work together to make this party a great one.”

An astute businessman and thoroughbred politician, Salvador, who has contributed immensely to the growth, unity and progress of the party in the state succeeded Capt. Tunji Shelle (rtd) who was elected in March 2012 as the state chairman.

Speaking in an interview with Independent before the congress, Salvador said he decided to accept the plea of concerned stakeholders in the PDP to lead the party because he want the party to wax strong and be united at all levels.  He also promised to  bring his vast experience both in politics and private sector to bear in charting a new course for the party.

He said: “You are all living witnesses to the crisis and aggression of all sorts in the party in the few years. Having seen all these, I believe it will not allow PDP move forward. I didn’t even have plans to become the state chairman of the party. Some leaders of thought, people who genuinely love PDP came to me and appeal that I should assist them handle the mantle of leadership of the party so that the party can be united and move forward”.

“For the fact that they all know that I am an acceptable personality to everyone in the party. I don’t encourage caucuses and all sorts. I am all for a focused, committed and united PDP. I told members that no matter the caucus you belong, you are free to approach me. They have been coming to me and we have been relating as a family”.

“Nobody can say that Salvador is not approachable. To me, that is the number one thing the PDP needs in Lagos; a leader who will be a rallying point, a bridge between the young, old, male or female, leader or follower. That is the focus of the leaders of the PDP which made them approached me that I should come and lead the party. I know the problem of the party”.

“I have been in politics for a very long time. I was in the NPN. I contested in the NRC and UNCP. I contested in AD, Zero Party and I contested for the Senate under the PDP. I was a former member of the House of Representatives and a delegate to the 2014 national conference. I am a very successful businessman. I am the Chairman of Dock Management Nigeria Limited, CEO of Canadian international as well as the Chairman of Salvador Towers. I believe all these experiences will greatly assist in moving the party forward if I am elected to lead the party. That is why many people believe that no one else can help them push this party forward, except Salvador. I have my plans and I will ensure that nobody will regret that I lead the party in Lagos”

Earlier, the Congress Returning Officers, who conducted the election, include Messrs Kayode Ariwawo, Azuka and Femi Williams.

Mr Ariwawo, who spoke before the commencement of the congress said it was a family congress. He said “we are going to conduct the congress the same way it was conducted in Kano, Borno and other states. I want you all to know that the PDP is a family and that is why this will called a family congress. Though the All Progressives Congress, APC, mobilised people to destabilise the PDP congresses in some states, we are going to conduct this congress in a family way. By virtue of the family arrangement, we are going to ask delegates from each of the local government areas to stand up for affirmation.”

Commenting on the peaceful conduct of the exercise Engr. Sunday Kudehinbu, former state coordinator, Youth Vanguard of the party but now assistant organising secretary of the party commended the effort of the former leadership of the party under Tunji Shelle for putting the necessary machinery in motion for the smooth emergence of the new executives in the state.

He said,” We must commend the effort of the last executive under Captain Tunji Shelle for the dynamic way he handled the affairs of the party that culminated the emergence of new executive members today.”

Kudehinbu who expressed confidence on the new executives under Salvador to move the party forward, reiterated the appeal of the new chairman for all aggrieved members of the party to consider the interest of the party more important than personal interest. He maintained that the party would defeat the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in subsequent elections in the state. “The emergence of new executives is a milestone in the history of Lagos PDP and the party   is poised to challenge and defeat APC in the forth coming local government election and the 2019 general elections.” He further stated that despite some misunderstanding of some leaders, the party would overcome every challenge and stand fit for the forth coming elections.

With the emergence of new executives, the stage is set for the party to prepare for the local government election which may be conducted before the last quarter of the year. Though the party did not win any chairmanship position when the last local council election was conducted in 2010, it was alleged that the opposition party in the state was denied of the victory by the rigging effort of APC. The party has promised that this time around, they have perfected their strategy to guide against such rigging in future elections.  The party which made a significant progress in its attempt to rule Lagos State by winning eight House of Assembly seats in the last election vowed to sack APC in 2019 general election.

Analysts believe PDP stand a better chance to win the governorship election in the state if it approach the election as single and indivisible house. It would be recalled that after the party’s governorship primary in December 2014, it took the party a lot of time to be able reconcile other aspirants who did not win the primary to accept and work with the candidature of Jimi Agbaje, the governorship candidate of the party. For instance, Musiliu Obanikoro, former minister of state for Defence who felt aggrieved over the manner the primary was conducted is yet to be fully integrated into the party.

While congratulating the newly elected executive, the apex leader of the PDP in the South West, Chief Olabode George said they must make honesty, justice and fairness their watchword and avoid injustice, insincerity and pretentious behaviour.

The Atona Oodua of Yorubaland further admonished the Salvador-led exco to prove to PDP supporters and Lagosians that they are better managers and can successfully pilot the affairs of the state better than the APC if given the opportunity.

According to George “They should be able to manage themselves very well. Honesty, justice and fairness must be the key words that should resonate in their minds anytime they make any decisions. What derailed us in the past was injustice, insincerity and pretentious behaviour .  They must avoid those things”.

“As far as I am concerned, they have the responsibility to convince the generality of the electorates, apart from PDP members that they can manage the resources of this state for the benefit of the people much better than the present government we have now. They should not fall below the standards set by the former executives led by Capt. Tunji Shelle (rtd)”.

“Another important thing is that they can disagree when they hold meetings but they must never be disagreeable. It is normal to have disagreements, but they must never get to the point of being disagreeable. That is point of no return. I wish them the best of luck” he said.

During an interview conducted with Independent, Gani Taofik, the newly elected Publicity Secretary of the party commended the effort of the party in bringing the aggrieved members on board, but expressed determination and confidence of the party to bring Obanikoro on board. So the challenge before the new executives is to continue with the previous effort on reconciliation. Observers believe that if the party could bring all the aggrieved members on board and embark on membership drive, the party could be a threat to APC in the state.  Like Borno and Yobe states, Lagos remains a state that PDP has not been able to win the governorship election since the return of democracy in 1999. How that would change in the forth coming election is yet to be seen, but if the promise of the new chairman to embark on aggressive reconciliation and rebuild the party is anything to go by, then  the situation may change very soon.