Dokpesi has opened up on the circumstances that led to the formation of APDA, as the fresh political party runs into leadership crisis.
The Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance, APDA, says Raymond Dokpesi is not its founder but merely its media partner.
The party stated this on Wednesday in reaction to claims by the founder of African Independent Television, AIT, that he founded APDA as “Plan B” for opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Mr. Dokpesi had claimed in his statement that APDA was promoted and financed by him for the then Ahmed Makarfi faction of the PDP because of the alleged APC-led federal government involvement in the internal leadership squabbles in the party (PDP).
He said the Court of Appeal judgment in Port Harcourt “in which injustice, falsehood and manipulation of already prepared lead judgment in favour of the then Ali Modu Sheriff group” made it necessary to prepare for any and every eventuality.
He said the situation was made worse as the Makarfi group was denied the right to contest by-elections and local government elections in many states while the Sheriff group was allowed to present candidates in those elections, notably in Ondo, Edo, and Benue.
“The colour of APDA remains PDP colours. The constitution of APDA is PDP constitution improved with the Jerry Gana-led strategy review committee,” Mr. Dokpesi said.
“The registration of APDA was on a need to know basis as the government in power will not allow the authentic PDP led by Makarfi to survive.
“All organs of the party and leaders were fully aware of the effort to register the party as Plan B. Suffice to mention that over 85% of the leaders of the party who were in the know and approved the registration of the party as Plan B.
“Other existing and new political parties were also considered for adoption possibly as Plan B, if we did not get justice at the Supreme Court.
“To the glory of God, we got justice at the Supreme Court and like all typical Nigerian endeavours, we have all forgotten where we were and the circumstances that necessitated a Plan B.
“I, Raymond A Dokpesi, is a founding member of the PDP. I have never left the PDP for a micro-second. I have always put my resources at the disposal of the PDP and there was nothing extraordinary funding and floating a platform which will be beneficial to all members of the party.
“I have never benefited from the PDP in spite of putting my life and investment at risk.
“I have no apology to tender to anyone for the registration of APDA. Having achieved plan A, APDA should complement PDP and not be antagonistic to it.”
He lamented that after floating the APDA, the party’s interim official refused to go when their tenure expired.
“Unfortunately the interim officers of the party whose tenure expired in June 2017 were infiltrated by some PDP governors and leaders, as well as a federal government agency to ensure that the Makarfi group is denied benefit of registering the party in the first instance,” he said.
“I will fight with my last blood to ensure that APDA does not constitute any embarrassment to PDP,” Mr. Dokpesi had narrated in the statement.
But APDA, in a statement by its spokesperson, Tosin Adeyanju, on Wednesday dismissed Mr. Dokpesi’s account of events regarding its registration.
The party denied that it was formed as an appendage of the PDP.
“APDA challenges Chief Dokpesi to make public the expenditures that made him the financier of the party and names of the PDP governors and the federal government agency which he claims is sponsoring APDA,” the statement said.
According to the party, “these two clarifications would easily exonerate him or clearly show that his claims are not true for what it is worth.”
The party then recounted how it was formed and registered.
It said, “The National Chairman, Shittu Mohammed, approached Chief Dokpesi to partner us with his media outfit during the process leading to the registration of the party and the present National Secretariat was equally donated by the National Chairman as well.
“It is public knowledge that all the PDP family disowned and has continuously refuted any relationship with the APDA. The Caretaker Chairman, BOT Chairman and the National Publicity Secretary of the party had severally issued statements to this effect.”
“APDA is not a plan B to any political party but welcomes any political leaning that identifies with its social democratic ideals, which is hinged on returning our country back to the path of prosperity and inclusive governance.”
“That Dokpesi claims that he never left PDP for a micro second is a clear testimonial and a vindication of the held position of the APDA on his status in our party and we wish him well in his bid for the position of the PDP chairmanship.”
The party said it was primarily focused on providing the framework and roadmap for the creation of a new Nigeria where “our first point is to think of our country as an indivisible entity where we will be strong together.”