Delegates from the thirty six states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, will today in Port Harcourt elect a new leadership for the party. PDP leaders had given very clear indication that the national convention will go on as scheduled despite the restraining orders of Justice Abang of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja. The restraining orders of Justice Abang came few hours after another Federal High Court in Port Harcourt gave green light to PDP to hold the convention.
Ahead of the convention, several aspirants had indicated interest to succeed Senator Ahmed Makarfi as the substantive new national chairman of the party. They include High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, Chief Bode George, Jimi Agbaje, Prof Taoheed Adedoja and Professor Tunde Adeniran.
The chairmanship position was zoned to the South by the delegates that attended the earlier convention held on May 21. Following the zoning of the chairmanship to the South, leaders of the party from the zone micro-zoned the position to the South West, but they added a caveat that any interested member of the party from any other zone in the South is at liberty to go into the race.
Based on this, one of the leading contenders from the South South, Chief Raymond Dokpesi has traversed all the states of the federation to canvass for the support of delegates. Some other chairmanship candidates have since followed his footstep and have been reaching out to the states chapters of the party to lobby the delegates. From every indication this is going to be a unique convention as the leaders of the party have agreed in principle not to impose any candidate on the delegates. This position has forced the contestants to reach out to the delegates rather than sit a cozy corner for the endorsement of political godfathers.
Here a close-up of the chairmanship aspirants, whoa are all parading intimidating credentials:
Raymond Dokpesi
Dokpesi hails from Agenebode in Etsako East Local Government Area in Edo State. He attended Ebenezer African Church School, Ibadan, Loyola College, Ibadan and Immaculate Conception College, Benin City. He worked briefly with the Nigerian Ports Authority as Marine Office Cadet in 1969 before proceeding to Poland for further studies.
He attented Wyzsza Szokta Morska Gdynia and University of Gdansk Sopot for his Bachelor, Masters Degree and Doctorate Degrees. He made a first class with distinction and was also the best graduating student in fifty years in Poland in Marine Transport Engineering.
He lectured in the University of Gdansk, Poland as Assistant Lecturer in Marine Transport Economics before proceeding to Nigeria on the invitation of the then, Nigerian Head of State who was on State visit to Poland.
He worked with the Federal Ministry of Transport and Aviation as the Head of Water Transport Division on Secondment from Nigerian Ports Plc (NTCC) between 1978 – 1983.
He was the Chief of Staff of the Gongola State Government from October to December 1983.Managing Director of African Ocean Line Limited from 1984 – 88, Chairman of Baldok Shipping Lines Limited from Feb. 1989 till date. Executive Chairman – DAAR Holding Company Limited and Rimat Properties Limited. Founder/ Chairman- DAAR Communications Limited.
He is a recipient of several national and international awards amongst which are: Dr. Kwame Nkurumah Africa Leadership Award and Gold Medal for Excellence in Business Practice, awarded by the Foundation for Excellence in Business Practice, an organ of the United Nations based in Geneva, Switzerland. He is also the recipient of the prestigious Institute of Directors (10D) 2007 Entrepreneurial Award.
One of his first political assignments was as a political campaign manager for the Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, which saw Tukur into the then Gongola state government house. He also assumed the same role during Alharji Adamu Ciroma presidential campaign, and Alharji Bamanga Tukur’s presidential campaign in 1993.Likewise during Peter Odili’s presidential campaign. Dokpesi was one of the leaders of the South-South People Assembly (SSPA) an organisation that seeks to promote south-south people of Nigeria.
Billionaire businessman and media mogul, Dokpesi was the organising committee chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party national conference in 2015.
After PDP lost the last general election the party was in coma for several months before Dokpesi started mobilizing members of the party which culminated in the PDP national conference held in Abuja last year.
Bode George
Chief Bode George was born on November 21, 1945 in Lagos. He earned a B.Sc and MBA. Bode George became a Commodore in the Nigerian navy, and was appointed Military Governor of Ondo State (1988–1990). He established the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo by edict in 1990, a school that now has over 4,000 students.
He became Principal Staff Officer, to General Oladipo Diya when the latter was Chief of General Staff, between 1993 and 1997. George was also a Director at the Nigerian National War College (NWC).
George was appointed Chairman of the Nigerian Ports Authority in 1999 and emerged as the PDP’s national vice-chairman in the southwest zone. Later he became PDP Deputy National Chairman, South, and then the National Deputy Chairman of the PDP.
In July 2005, he was promoted to PDP Deputy National Chairman (South). It was on the watch of Bode George that PDP made the biggest impact in the South West when the party won governorship election in five states.
Jimi Agbaje
Olujimi Kolawole Agbaje (popularly known as Jimi Agbaje or JK) was born in Lagos on March 2, 1957). He is a pharmacist and PDP governorship candidate in the 2015 gubernatorial election. He was a very successful businessman before he ventured into partisan politics. In 1982, Agbaje founded his own company, JAYKAY Pharmaceutical and Chemical Company Limited and was Managing Director until 2005 when he decided to venture into politics. A consummate professional, he was a member of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (1999 – 2006); National Secretary of the Nigerian Association of General Practice Pharmacists (NAGPP) from 1987 – 1990; National Chairman NAGPP (1990 – 1993) and Chairman Pharmaceutical society of Nigeria Lagos State (1994 – 1997). He was a member, Lagos State Task force on Fake and Adulterated Drugs (1989 – 1993), National Drug Formulary and Essential Drugs List (1986 – 1993) and Lagos Hospitals Management Board (1994 – 1997). Jimi Agbaje also sits on the Board of other organizations including Oakwood Park Ltd, Atlantic Hall Secondary School Epe, Jimi Agbaje Outreach (a project dedicated to helping the less fortunate) and has served as business mentor at Fate Foundation. Based on his affiliation with Afenifere, Jimi Agbaje joined the Action Congress (AC) – his first political party. In 2007, Agbaje who had initially aspired to contest for the Governor ofLagos State on the platform of the Action Congress (AC) left the party to join the Democratic People’s Alliance (DPA). He was among the 11 aspirants that turned their back to the Action Congress (AC) when it was alleged that Governor Bola Tinubu had already anointed someone else to succeed him even before the party primaries.[13] Widely believed to have conducted the best campaign in 2007, Agbaje contested in gubernatorial election on the Democratic People’s Alliance (DPA) platform, but eventually, alongside other major contenders – Musiliu Obanikoro of PDP, Femi Pedro of Labour Party (Nigeria) – lost to Babatunde Raji Fashola of the Action Congress (AC).He left DPA in 2011 and went on to join the then ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP following the de-registration of DPA by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).On 8 December 2014, he emerged as the candidate of the PDP for the 2015 Lagos State gubernatorial election.
Prof Taoheed Adedoja
Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, a native of Ibadan, Oyo State, was born in Kano on May 27, 1951.
He attended Ansar-Ud-deen Primary School, Kano, (1958 – 1965); Kano Teachers College, (1966 – 1970); Senior Prefect (1970); College of Education, Abraka, (1972 – 1975); University of Ife, (now ObafemiAwolowo University), (1975 – 1978);Obtained the MSc degree at the Eastern Illinois University (EIU), (1981);Doctor of Education, (1984); Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, USA.
He was Minister for Special Duties, Oct. 2010 – May 2011; Minister of Sports, Dec 2010 – May 2011; (Chairman Africa Union of Sports Ministers); Commissioner for Education, Oyo State, February 2009 – October, 2010; Executive Chairman, Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB). 2004 – 2006. (Oyo State SUBEB was rated 2nd best in Nigeria for GOOD PERFORMANCE in Basic Education for the 2005 and 2006 intervention years, by the Federal Government). Hitch free recruitment of 5,000 primary school teachers.
He was also World Bank/DFD Consultant, Adviser on Universal Basic Education, 2003 – 2004. (Appointed by the British Council, Abuja); Consultant, National Universities Commission, (NUC), Abuja, 2002 – 2003; Provost, Federal College of Education (Special) Oyo, 1996 – 2002; Dean, Faculty of Education, Bayero University, Kano. 1991 – 1996; Lecturer / Senior Lecturer, University of Maiduguri, 1984 – 1988. (Promotedtwicewithin 4 years under the accelerated promoting track initiated by Prof. JubrilAminu) and Senior Lecturer, 1988 – 1991 (Bayero University Kano).
Prof Adedoja served at various times as Consultant to the British Council, Department of Foreign International Development, (DFID), UNESCO; UNICEF; NUC; World Bank; Served as Visiting Scholar to World Bank Institute, Washington DC (on Strategic Reforms in Education)(1999); the University of Birmingham UK(1999, 2002); University of Zimbabwe(1996);Wayne State University Detroit, Michigan, USA(1998, 2002); University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana.
He has several academic publications to his credit in national and international journals, books and book chapters.
He also served as External Examiner (Bachelors, Masters and Ph.D.) to 11 Universities, 7 Colleges of Education and Assessor for Professorship positions to 9 Universities.
He is a Consultant to Federal Government of Nigeria on Persons with Disability; Vision 2020; Family Support Programme (FSP); Child Care Trust; Women Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative, (WRAPA).
He holds several chairtancy titles including Mogaji Ile OloosaIgbonna, Ibadan, by the Olubadan of Ibadan Land, April, (2013); BalogunAgbaoye of Ibadan-Land, by the Olubadan of Ibadan (1997); Odofin of Ago-Amodu, by the Alamodu of Ago-Amodu (1999); Jagunmolu of Akinmorin, by the Amorin of Akinmorin (2000); Are AfimoTaiyese of Ogboro (2009).
Prof. Tunde Adeniran
Professor Tunde Adeniran, a former Minister of education and one-time Nigerian Ambassador to Germany is one of the contenders for the national chairmanship position of the Peoples Democratic Party.
He is a founding member of the PDP and was chairman of the Electoral Panel for the party’s 2011 National Convention.
He was Minister of Education from June 1999 to January 2001; Nigerian Ambassador to Germany between May 2004 and January 2007, Chairman of the Governing Board of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) from 2009 to 2011, and Chairman and Director of the Directorate for Social Mobilisation (MAMSER) between 1987 and 1993.
He was a staff of the United Nations Organization in the mid-1970s and lectured in some USA-based Universities before taking up appointment at the University of Ibadan where he worked for twenty years and retired to join forces with other prominent Nigerians to found the PDP in 1998 preparatory to the entrenchment of democracy in 1999.
The PDP chairmanship hopeful, who bagged the American Medal of Honour (bestowed upon Men and Women of Exceptional Distinction) in 2001 was Member of the University Senate for fifteen years; Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (1980-81); Sub-Dean (Post-graduate, Faculty of the Social Sciences), 1981-83 and Head of the Department of Political Science, May 1994 to April 1997.
A recipient of sundry honours and laurels for distinguishing himself as a great scholar, Adeniran, a consistent and loyal PDP chieftain was Member, Judicial Commission of Inquiry (Justice Ibidapo-Obe Panel) into the Ife/Modakeke Crisis, 1981; Member, Ondo State Local Government Review and Reorganization Committee (Justice Akintan Panel) 1982; Member, Ondo State Economic Advisory Council, 1980-1983 and Member, Advisory Committee on Foreign Affairs, 1983-1985.

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