The recent passing away of Dr. Adegbola Dominic, chairman of Lagos State Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), may have dealt a heavy blow to the recent reconciliatory move in the party. EMMANUEL BADEJO writes on the impact of his sudden death on the party
When a Lagos High Court about two months ago reinstated Dr. Adegbola Dominic as the chairman of the Lagos State Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), many stakeholders described the verdict as a masterstroke that was needed to give the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) a big fight.
The mood at its secretariat, located along Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, following the court verdict, was one of intense pleasure. Members who thronged the office, could not hide their excitement. In fact, the secretariat, which had hitherto not been fully utilised, judging from the dilapidating infrastructure suddenly came alive, and security men had serious challenge controlling party stalwarts.
Notwithstanding the epileptic nature of the party since the last election in 2019, many of its faithful hailed the court’s pronouncement, with singing and dancing. They expressed confidence in Dominic’s leadership; describing him as a man of peace, dignity, honour and a grassroots politician. With him at the helm of affairs, they said the PDP will not be a push-over in the 2023 governorship election in the state.
Unanimously, the teeming crowd openly pledged to return to their wards, and local governments to continue working to wrest power from the APC, which has dominated Lagos politics since the return to civil rule in 1999. Observers believe it would not be an easy task because of the series of internal crises bedevilling the party both at the national and the state levels.
But, the Lagos PDP had indicated that with Dominic’s return, the party was ready to take over the Alausa Round House seat of power from the APC. The late chairman had promised to rejig and reposition the party with all available resources at his disposal. He had urged party stalwarts to immediately put in motion processes that will lead to the establishment of wards and polling booth structures in all the polling units throughout the state.
The late Dominic said establishing those structures was a sure way to win many, if not all elective positions in the state during the next general elections. He had also acknowledged that for several months party rules and procedures were disregarded. He had resolved to correct all wrongs and ensure that the PDP occupies its place in the state’s political arena.
His words: “The administration of the PDP in Lagos State now is poised to reestablish the old path and proper attitude of party members, which believe that leaders, officers and representatives are to be elected at free and fair congresses and primaries, as prescribed by the extant provisions of the party’s constitution.”
“The present practise whereby a few people sit in hotel premises, fortified with thugs and other social miscreants for the purpose of sharing party positions, which they thereafter sell or otherwise appropriate to their cronies, even as hardworking and long-suffering members are left in the cold of frustration and regrets, is unacceptable. We are determined to stamp out all that nonsense.”
He reassured the party faithful that he will not condone and illegality. “We are determined to validate the choice, and only the choice of the people,” he added.
But, alas, the man who had enjoyed the trust of members to steer the ship of the party to victory went the way of all mortals recently. The medical doctor, who was described as a grassroots politician, was said to have died from complications arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sources said that with his sudden demise, Dominic’s dream of taking the party to victory is now in limbo; as his death may lead to further defections of some of PDP members who believed in his leadership. Prominent members of the party in the Southwest described Dominic’s death as an irreparable loss for the party.
For instance, Southwest General Secretary, Rahman Owokoniran said he is irreplaceable because the late chairman was a pillar who was also committed to the reconciliation mantra and unity of the party. Owokoniran said: “Dr. Dominic was a great man who will be remembered for his dogged and relentless efforts to unite members of the party in Lagos State.
“The party has lost yet again another great party faithful to the cold hands of death. He was a pillar who was committed to the reconciliation and unity of the party. Dominic was a great man who will be remembered for his doggedness, resilience and effortless contributions to members and the party as a whole.
“Dominic was a good medical doctor and a veteran politician of the old stock who had been in politics since the Second Republic. He served his tutelage under late former Governor Lateef Kayode Jakande. His memories will be everlasting in our hearts.”
The Lagos State chapter said Dominic’s death was a loss to the party and the entire state. Publicity Secretary, Taofik Gani said: “His death was is a big loss for us. He was dogged about the emancipation of the oppressed, the pauperised and the underprivileged. He stood for the development of Lagos and regretted that Lagos is not as he wished.
“Dr. Dominic was a grassroots politician from the days of Action Group. He had held many political positions and had also contested the Lagos State governorship under the platform of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). He was the Jakande group candidate for the Lagos West senatorial primary of the Social Democratic Party, a contest between him and Bola Tinubu.”
Adedeji Doherty also described Dr Dominic’s death as a huge loss to the party. The politician said the deceased was a leader whose contributions cannot be overlooked. Doherty noted that the late Dominic played a leading role in ensuring a better and stronger party until his death.
He said: “We will miss him dearly; we wish he was always with us. However, we are comforted by the fact that he is with the One who loves him the most.”
Dominic joined the PDP after 2011 elections and he had made personal sacrifices towards the advancement of the party. In his lifetime, he sponsored many party programmes and also used his personal resources to institute several court cases. He became the chairman of the party in September 2018, after his predecessor, Moshood Salvador, defected to the APC.
Over 200 aspirants contested the chairmanship with him, following the sudden exit of Salvador. On September 29, 2018, he was inaugurated as the chairman of Lagos PDP.
In his acceptance speech, Dominic who described his appointment as historic stressed the need to embark on an aggressive unification of the party in order to clinch political power in the 2019 elections.
His words: “There must be unity because a divided house cannot stand. If you want peace and unity, there must be justice and discipline. I thank you all for your support. I want to assure you that from this moment that we will spare no effort to unify every member. We will not tolerate violence in the party anymore; we will have zero tolerance for violence.”
“The PDP is the most popular party in Lagos State, but we have been robbed because of our disunity, and divisions. There must be unity. We must reconcile all. Justice, fairness and equity must be enthroned for us to win the election. We must also settle our differences and there must be respect for one another.”