By; SUNDAY ODE, Abuja
Ahead of the August 17 national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), former Political Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Prof Rufai Ahmed Alkali has joined the race for the position of the Deputy National Chairman (North) of the party.
The enlarged meeting of PDP leaders that zoned various offices had reverted to the original format of the party that made provisions for two deputy national chairmen representing the North and South.
Prof Alkali, who was among the PDP leaders from the North that met in Abuja last Saturday where they threw their weight behind the Port Harcourt convention, confirmed in a telephone interview that he has already collected the nomination forms from the temporary national secretariat of PDP.
He said he joined the race to add value to the leadership of the party after wide consultation with leaders and members of the party across the country.
Prof Alkali declared that there is urgent need for selfless members to join hands to reposition the party to put it in good stead to bounce back in 2019, especially now that it is apparent that Nigerians are already tired with the ruling APC.
Before his appointment as the Political Adviser to the former President, Prof Alkali was the former National Publicity Secretary of the PDP between 2008 and 2012.
He served two terms as the the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of the Federal University of Technology Minna.
Before he went into politics, the professor of political economy spent several years grooming young military officers in the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Kaduna.
He was appointed Commissioner of Agriculture and Water Resources by the First Military Administrator of Gombe State, Group Captain J.J. Orji in 1997. Group Captain Orji appointed Alkali into many sensitive committees including Chairman, State Committee on Conflict Resolution between Farmers and Cattle Rearers; Chairman, State Coordinating Committee on FEAP and Chairman, State Committee for the appointment of Senior Civil Servants. All these exposed him to the inner workings of government.
In 1998 he was moved to the Ministry of Education and Youth Development as Hon. Commissioner by Col. M. I. Bawa who took over as the second Military Administrator of Gombe State. The principal reason Col. Bawa moved Alkali to the Education Ministry was for the implementation of a programme to raise the educational standard in the state through the ingenious programme tagged “Operation Polish the Jewel”. It remains on record that the programme saw the construction and rehabilitation of scores of secondary schools in the state.
In 2003 when Danjuma Goje became the Governor of Gombe State, Alkali was a member of the inauguration committee and was later appointed the pioneer Commissioner for Higher Education and Special Duties, a position he held for four years during which the Ministry midwife the establishment of Gombe State University as chairman of the Technical committee.
The committee did tremendous job and in appreciation Goje appointed Alkali chairman of the Implementation Committee. Gombe State University has taken root and today it is one of the most successful state universities in the country.
Alkali was also the Chairman of the Technical Committee for the upgrading of Social Development Institute, Kumo into College of Administration and Business Studies (CABS). Today, CABS is growing and expanding as a hub for the training of civil servants, professionals and Technicians to complement the Gombe state University.
Following the re-election of Governor Muhammad Danjuma Goje in 2007 Prof. Alkali was again appointed as a member of the Transition Committee. He was subsequently reappointed as Commissioner but this time posted to the Ministry of Information. Before he became the PDP National Publicity secretary on the 8th of March 2008, Prof Alkali was chairman of the Committee for the domestication of the African Peer Review Mechanism in Gombe State.
He was Chairman of the Publicity Committee of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council that gave resounding victory to the party in the April 2011 presidential election.
By; SUNDAY ODE, Abuja