My Visit To PDP Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu – By Dele Momodu
Fellow Nigerians, this has been an amazing week as I took the leap of faith and fate and finally announced my decision to contest the 2023 Presidential election on the platform of our great party, PDP. I have been trending ever since I presented my letter of intent to our National Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu. Here’s the magic letter:
“The National Chairman,
People’s Democratic Party
DR. IYORCHIA AYU.
PDP National Secretariat.
13th January, 2022
My Great Chairman,
RE: DELE MOMODU DECLARES FOR PRESIDENTIAL RACE
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to present this epoch-making letter at very short notice. It is a palpable demonstration of your intellectual discipline, simplicity and cosmopolitan worldview, and our party is fortunate to have such a serious academic and patriot as our Chairman at this momentous period in the life of our troubled country. May God help you to lead us from glory to glory.
In the last few days, there have been widespread speculations about my Presidential bid for a second time. I have been greatly humbled by the excitement already generated which reminds me of how it was 29 years ago when your good friend and my own adopted father, Chief Moshood Abiola, threw his hat in the ring. It is very obvious that Nigerians are eager to restore that promise of hope and the accompanying peace and joy that we lost.
The time has come for full reconciliation and forgiveness and a closure of our ugly past. Nigeria urgently requires a reset and a total redirection. With this letter, Sir, I wish to humbly put the speculations to rest by coming to you with every sense of purpose and responsibility.
After due consultations with my family, friends and some stakeholders, I have arrived at the decision to contest the 2023 Presidential election on the platform of our great party, PDP, if selected as the Party’s candidate. I hasten to add that this is my personal decision, although I have received advice, encouragement and support from diverse quarters since I started my consultations.
I therefore offer myself to the PDP as the best aspirant to turn the fortunes of our esteemed Party and our well-endowed country around. In this regard, and with a deep sense of humility and profound respect, I urge the Party not to consider picking its candidate based on the usual considerations which had spectacularly failed our country in the past. The mood of the teeming youths, and indeed every patriotic Nigerian, who we need to come out en masse to vote for our party, aligns with this view.
It is for this reason, that I invite our great party, PDP, to accept that it must search for a veritable flag bearer with the requisite leadership and visionary qualities that Nigerians now earnestly yearn for.
I’m convinced that the time has come to seriously challenge and dislodge those politicians who have held our country to ransom by kidnapping, hijacking and destroying the future of our younger generation and generations yet unborn. I’m better prepared now than at the time of my first foray into the fray in 2011, and I am fully ready and certainly capable for the onerous tasks and responsibilities ahead.
I wish to place on record my firm promise and commitment not to be harassed, bullied or intimidated by anyone who feels he or she can buy the whole of Nigeria with loads of cash fraudulently and illegally filched and taken from the Nigerian people.
I’m proud to follow in the best traditions of my heroic mentor, Chief Moshood Abiola, who had wanted to banish poverty in our land, but was disastrously disallowed from achieving this laudable objective. Nigeria has paid a heavy price and penalty in the last 29 years and suffered untold agony and indignity as a result of that tragic misadventure.
Nigeria deserves much better than where we are now, and my appeal to fellow Nigerians is that we should collectively rescue our dear country from the suffocating claws of slave masters, overlords and tyrants. I vociferously and vehemently reject any suggestion that Nigeria should continue to tread this dangerous path. The die is cast, and we must regain and take back our country! I fully and unequivocally commit and dedicate myself to this cause.
So help me God.
Thank you Sir.
My decision was triggered by the unprecedented reaction to the interview I granted the Arise News Channel as I needed to seize the momentum… Let me give some excerpts:
“You see Reuben has virtually made a declaration on my behalf. Thank you. And since you want me to declare so I might as well declare right here. Let me say that I am very ready. I always tell people that it is impossible for you to be the president of a country as big, as diverse, as complex and complicated as Nigeria if you did not prepare for it. Most of the people we have as politicians never prepared for anything. All they prepare for is the next election; what are we going to do, how are we going to do it, how are we going to rig. But I can tell you that I have followed the template of my adopted father, Chief Moshood Abiola; I studied him as a book. I can do a Ph.D on it, and I can see that the reason we are in this mess is that you have leaders who are not accomplished. All over the world; it is not about your age; it is not about tribe or religion; it is about your personal accomplishment. And where you have leaders whose accomplishments you cannot understand; you cannot verify then you are going to have problems. So for me, I tired of just sitting down and lamenting which is what we know how best to do in Nigeria. Everybody laments. Everybody grumbles. Everybody groans. Everybody mourns. But to do what is needful? No. I can tell you that about 11 years ago, I decided to contest on the platform of NCP, and the only lesson I learnt from there is that I was contesting a national election from a fringe local party which had no capacity to win the election. I went back. The same thing happened to Chief Abiola in 1981 when NPN frustrated him out of their party. He wanted to be president; they saw it, and frustrated him out of the party. He left. He came back 12 years later, better prepared. In 2023, it will be 12 years since my last attempt; I am better prepared and I am ready.
Chief Abiola was a newcomer in 1993. He joined the SDP two months to go. The chairman of the party, Babagana Kingibe was interested/contesting, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar was contesting; 29 years ago, and Chief Abiola joined. The first thing you have to prove to the party is that you can win them the ticket. Any serious party that wants to win election will not just go and pick someone who does not have that global appeal. If you do that, you know that you have already lost that election. So today, I don’t need to do any other thing other than to be scientific. the world has moved on except our politicians. It is important for you to prove to your party your capacity, and that is the job. The main job between now and whenever the primary will take place is for you to show clearly your ability to win them the election. And in my own case, I don’t have to travel far. From my telephone, I can show my party my foot soldiers across Nigeria, It’s scientific. Every major township and village; there are people that we have empowered. Even the government of today; if they talk about empowerment; ask them to come and show who has benefitted; they can’t. We have so much that we are doing, and it is not on television that we will reveal our strategy, but I can tell you that we are better prepared.
Fantastic! You just confirmed what Paulo Frere said about the oppressed. The best way to change the mindset of the oppressed is by bringing someone who is bold enough to challenge that status quo. There is no where in the world where things don’t change if one man is ready to make the necessary sacrifices . Chief Abiola made that sacrifice. That is that. The biggest problem facing Nigeria today is lack of unity. I tell people today that anybody can build roads, but if you have a leader who does not have the mindset of uniting the country; that is why everybody keeps saying I’m Biafra, I’m Yoruba Nation and so on. This is because you have leaders who does not believe in one Nigeria. I am a child of diversity; my father came from Edo State (south south), married my mother in Ile-Ife from Gbogan in Osun State (south west). Today, I am one of the closest people you will find in Igbo land. If you have been following me on social media, I am the only person ever mentioned by name by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu that this is a man who speaks the way a Nigerian should speak. That he says he would turn the south east into a technology hub, a Silicon Valley. If this is how the other leaders were speaking, we would not be agitating the way we are. So, you just need someone who can turn the depression and frustrations around – bring joy back to Nigeria. The country is a depressive mood. I have not seen any of the leaders you have mentioned who have that kind of diversity. My surname is Momodu. My grandparents were Muslims and my parents were Christians. So, I understand the dynamics of those sentiments because in Nigeria, it is always ethnicity, religion and of course loads of cash. On all three accounts, I may not have my own personal cash, but I have worked most of my live with those who control the economy of Nigeria, and that is important. If you are not in business, you may not even know how to manage resource. A man who never managed one million, you now give him 10 trillion to manage; he is going to find it difficult. A man, who has no knowledge about how to turn one naira to 10 naira; it is going to be difficult to hand over a country to such a person.
When I saw that his case has become irredeemable; you don’t just give up on a leader, then I looked for the next alternative, and that was Atiku Abubakar presented to us by PDP. Again, I was not a member of PDP – that is how you know principled people. If there are two candidates, and you have seen the worst of one, what other options do you have? You go to the next one. I wasn’t a member of PDP. Today, I can see the excuse that they can use in 2023 – ‘you people didn’t offer yourselves, so we used those who were available’. I can tell you confidently that there is nobody currently in Nigerian politics today who can say he was ahead of me in politics. By 1983, I was private secretary to Chief Omoboriwo, the then Deputy Governor of Ondo State, and from that moment, my trajectory is uncommon, and I think it was orchestrated by God Himself because it is uncommon to find someone at 23 to work for the Deputy Governor of Ondo State when it was a combination of Ondo and Ekiti.
It is very easy. What did Chief Abiola do? He employed people from everywhere. At Concord, you will think you are in a mini Nigeria. It didn’t matter where you come from. That’s one. Two – meritocracy – put merit above ethnic sentiment. If I want someone from Adamawa today, I’m sure I will find a qualified person from Adamawa. But most politicians don’t have the patience to search for competent people. That is the problem. The moment you are able to be fair to all – the moment you are able to have competent people, nobody will complain. Since I joined PDP, you don’t see all those people who use to shout Biafra, Biafra on my social media pages – now they are like maybe there is hope after all. Nigerians love Nigeria. How you know it when they are playing football.
When Buhari came, people thought he was serious. Even my driver in London from Afghanistan told me ‘I hear you now have a good leader in Nigeria’. You see there is a way hope radiates across everywhere. When you give people hope, they are ready to make sacrifice, do what you want them to do, pay their taxes. The first thing is to get the right mood. The atmosphere in Nigeria now is so fouled up that nobody believes in Nigeria. The few people that have money would rather take it elsewhere to invest. For me, the first thing is to make sure that we have a star-studded cabinet of people of ideas.“
The popular slang now in vogue is the hashtag #delemomoduwemove
– Momodu is a respected journalist and publisher of Ovation International magazine