We will vote for Jonathan in 2015 – Northern group declares

by Oke Efagene

Bamanga Tukur

The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bamanga Tukur, has said that both the party and the Presidency have put measures in place, to ensure the return of members of the party that defected to the All Progressives Party (APC).

Tukur, also described the current problems within the party as a rejuvenating process, rather than crisis.

He made these remarks in London yesterday, when he was visited by a team of Nigerian Professionals based in Europe, led by Edwin Olabamiro.

Vanguard report:

He said: “PDP is at home to contain all forms of harassment by the opposition, either vaunted or intended.

“If it is a game of numbers in any election, you can always count on it that PDP will win.

“The good thing is that if five people move out of PDP to another party, even by dint of propaganda, the party takes in more than 500 at a time as replacement.

“The electorate in Nigeria trust PDP more than many people are aware of.”

“As the Chairman of PDP, let me say that we may not be having it smooth at the moment.

“The party and Mr. President are not relenting on holding consultations with the aggrieved members.”

In other news, the notion that President Jonathan will be the PDP’s presidential candidate for the 2015 election, has threatened to split the northern faction of the party as there are debates on whether he should contest or not.

The Northern Elders Union, NEU, yesterday, dismissed the assertion by Northern Elders Forum, NEF, that the zone will not vote for People’s Democratic Party, PDP, if it nominated President Goodluck Jonathan as its 2015 presidential flagbearer, describing the threat as the wishful thinking of a few privileged northerners.

Among the northern elements in NEU are former Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed Gusau; former Minister of Transport, Alhaji Yusuf Suleiman; Senator Garba Gada; a member of PDP Board of Trustees, BoT, Alhaji Bello Dange; a former Nigerian Ambassador to Morocco, Alhaji Abdullahi Ladan-Shinu and another former Deputy Governor of old Sokoto State, Alhaji Azika Tambuwal.

The Secretary-General of NEF, Professor Ango Abdullahi, said last week that the North had made its position on the 2015 presidency known to President Jonathan’s emissaries that the zone would not support Jonathan’s ambition.

Abdullahi further alleged that the Presidency’s political tacticians have compiled a list of 151 key northern politicians and leaders with a view to wooing them to work for the President in 2015.

However, Alhaji Gusau said Abdullahi was on his own.

Rising from its meeting in Kaduna yesterday, Gusau advised any NEF leader, who had presidential ambition in 2015 to declare such, but not to beat the drums of war as Nigeria belonged to all.

Gusau spoke in a telephone interview with Vanguard yesterday.

He said: “The North or Nigeria does not belong to NEF leaders alone. If any NEF leader wants to contest the 2015 presidential polls, let him come out openly and declare his interest.

“For instance, PDP, under the leadership of the Deputy Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Muktar Shagari, will win Sokoto State. It will be like that in some North-West and North-East zones.

“I do not know where the North met as a whole and decided who we shall support or not. Let us wait and watch.

“I do not know the premise under which Professor Abdullahi based his conclusion that the North has abandoned PDP.

“PDP has done so many good things for the North and we shall tell the North those things when the time for campaign comes. It is the only party that has national spread. The North cannot leave a known friend and for an unknown friend or enemy.”

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