BY MIDAT JOSEPH, Kaduna
A chieftain of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Alhaji Shehu Kura has warned against acts that will undermine women aspiring for position in the party’s convention on Saturday.
Addressing a news conference in Kaduna following speculations that some top members of the party, especially in Kaduna where working against the candidature of Senator Nenadi Usman for the position of National Secretary, Kura warned that any attempt to impose ccandidates on the people will not augur well for the party.
According to him, some powerful forces in Kaduna were working hard to frustrate Usman from becoming the National Secretary of the PDP because of their selfish interest.
He maintained that the convention would be a litmus test for the party as Nigerians are watching to see whether it had learned from the mistakes that led to its defeat in the 2015 elections.
He urged the party leadership to appreciate the role women have been playing in the PDP by giving them the opportunity to serve in leadership positions.
He further warned those thwarting the ambition of Usman to desist from such undemocratic and selfish acts.
He called on the leadership of the party to ensure that democratic process are followed in the emergence of leaders to convince Nigerians that the party had been rebranded.
He said :”With the convention around the corner, we are thinking that the party will demontrate to Nigerians that it has learnt its lesson.
“Political infighting is not good. This is what caused the party to loose power in 2015 and that is what the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is also facing right now.
“There seems to be an undercurrent within the PDP of people wanting to elect their own leaders, but the current leadership of the party is trying to thwart that effort.
“I will give you example, Nenadi Usman and two others are running for the position of the seceretary of the party.
“The position is zoned to Kaduna and Katsina states, but two prominent members of the party from Kaduna state don’t want her to contest because of their selfish ambition and disposition.
“One of them nominated a former senator from Katsina state, while the other nominated Dr. Abubakar Mustapha who was the National Organising Secretary of the party in the previous leadership of the party.
“How can such person want to come back to the leadership of the party again when it was during their time that the party was defeated”.
According to him, Mustapha represented Kaduna state at the national level of the party but the PDP did not win any election in Kaduna state during the 2015 elections except in Southern Kaduna where Usman came from.
“We must not impose candidates on the people. Where there is no consensus, the people must be allowed to freely vote who they want” he said.
Kura dismissed arguments in some quarters within the party that the ruling APC may use the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to hunt PDP members with cases before the commission, noting that if that is the case, the party may not get credible and qualified people to contest for leadership.
He said “the fact of the matter is that you are presumed not quilty until the court proves otherwise. According to him, “Nenadi has been in court for the past two years. The court has not pass any judgement on the matter.
“Her only crime was that she was the one that distributed party funds for election in 2015. The EFCC has not said she stole public funds. What we are saying is that this is a woman who has been a commissioner, miniter and a senator and the PDP won the senatorial election in her constituency in 2015.
“What we are pleading is that the PDP should set a record as the first political party to make a woman as its National Secretary.
“Why do you limit a woman to the position of a woman leader and the youth to the position of a youth leader when they are qualified for other positions?”