2015 ticket: 8 governors, senators may dump PDP

Tony Anenih YNaija

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) appears headed for major turbulence, this time sparked by last Thursday’s call for automatic tickets at the 2015 elections for President Goodluck Jonathan, ‘performing’ first term governors and legislators. The idea was floated by Chief Tony Anenih, chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT).

Many in the party view the statement as the clearest indication yet of what to expect ahead of the elections, coming as the proposal did from Anenih, a close confidant of the President.

Those aspiring for the Presidency, governorship and legislative seats are worried by the statement and are already considering their future in the party, it was gathered yesterday.

Among those said to be seriously contemplating their future in the party are eight governors and some National Assembly members who may quit the ruling party.

The governors are believed to have the support of influential northern leaders and some former governors in the North-East and North-Central. They are said to be weighing options like outright formation of a new party, or adopting an existing one.

Investigations by our correspondent revealed that the eight governors include four from the North-West, two from the North-Central, one from the North-East and one from the South-South.

It was gathered that the eight governors have started holding talks with political leaders of like mind on the way forward. They want to retain their grip on their states and control the direction of their political future.

It was gathered that the governors are unhappy that the President is eroding internal democracy in the party by manipulating the PDP leadership to do his bidding ahead of 2015 primaries.

They are equally worried that the PDP was sliding towards regional sentiments with the President more at home with the South-East and South-South.

A reliable source, who is involved in the ongoing talks, said: “Their grouse borders on lack of internal democracy in PDP. They believe the 2015 poll is already skewed in favour of the President. They also feel that the way Jonathan is going, he might end up determining their political fate in 2015.

“Having hijacked the party structure, the governors are of the opinion that the President controls all the delegates from the South- East, South-South, South-West; Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa and Kogi in North-Central; all the delegates in the North-East states and Katsina, Zamfara and Kaduna in the North-West states.

“Based on the party structure at Jonathan’s beck and call, it is sure the PDP ticket is up for him to grab. So, it is better for governors who are not on the President’s side to look elsewhere for platform.”

Responding to a question, the source added: “These governors want to present a credible candidate against PDP. You will see that PDP is gradually taking a regional party line with recent events with the President leaning mostly on the South-East and the South-South.

“They don’t want to remain in PDP because it’s very glaring the president will win PDP primaries, but the general election he can’t win with the present mood of the nation.”

The chorus of outrage heightened yesterday with the statement by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar denouncing Anenih’s position as undemocratic and unconstitutional.

The release by Atiku’s Media Office demanded an open contest for all aspirants.

It restated the former VP’s rejection of the “consensus arrangement” and “adoption” rather than transparent elections to produce candidates for all elective offices, including the presidency.

It recalled that Atiku was repeatedly in courts to “challenge this undemocratic arrangement and that the courts ruled that the policy was alien to the PDP and Nigerian constitutions.”

The statement read further; “The former Vice-President said the principle for which he opposes this unjust policy, which he described as a ‘travesty of democracy’ has not changed since then.”

The statement quoted Atiku as saying: “My position remains that as far as PDP constitution is concerned, any attempt to change the party’s rule to favour the President as a sole candidate in the event of his willingness to re-contest is unconstitutional.

“The contest should be open to all desiring to pursue an ambition on the platform of the PDP.”

The statement added: “While acknowledging that President Jonathan is entitled to seek the party ticket in 2015, the former Vice President, however, insisted that Jonathan should submit himself to a transparent and fair process just like any other party member.

“By foreclosing free and fair process of selecting its presidential candidate, Atiku said the PDP might be sending the wrong message to Nigerians about its commitment to conduct free and fair elections for the entire country.”

Read more: Nation Newspapers

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