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Fri, 24 Oct 2014

Jonathan Inaugurates Team to Prepare Presidential Re-election


After months of prevaricating on his candidacy, President Goodluck Jonathan Thursday signified his intention to seek re-election in 2015 by informing leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that he would pick up the party’s nomination form before the October 30 deadline and set up a committee for his declaration.

 
The party had given him an ultimatum on Wednesday to meet the deadline.
 
The president made his intention known when he met the leadership of the PDP at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
 
The president was said to have assured his audience that he would beat the deadline for the purchase of the presidential nomination form at the party’s secretariat.
 
Also, to smoothen the process for the declaration of his intention to seek re-election, Jonathan has set up a committee that will be headed by a former Minister of Defence, Dr. Haliru Bello.
 
Based on the guidelines given to the committee, he will formally declare his presidential bid between November 7 and 15.
 
Giving more insight into their meeting with the president, a party chieftain said: “We met with the president at the State House and explained to him the need for the party to strictly adhere to the Electoral Act and the guidelines issued by the party at the last National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting.
 
“It is not in doubt that the organs of the party, including the NEC, have adopted him as the sole presidential candidate, but the right thing ought to be done within the constitution of the party and we don't want to take chances.
 
“At the meeting with him, the president’s attention was drawn to the INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) report on the 2012 national convention of the party which was partly nullified because it did not follow due process. So our meeting with the president underscored the need to ensure that due process is followed.
 
“It was therefore agreed that the Electoral Act and the guidelines for the PDP presidential primary should be followed.
It was also agreed that in following the guidelines, the president will buy the presidential nomination form as well as the expression of interest form and pay all the necessary fees.
 
“The meeting agreed that there shall be YES or NO votes at the presidential primary election, in line with the Electoral Act and the party guidelines. In fact, the essence of the meeting is to ensure that all that is necessary is done.
 
“We are not leaving anything to chance, as you can see that despite the endorsement of the president as the sole presidential candidate some members like Dr. Umar Ardo still took the party to court.”
 
Although journalists were not formally briefed after the meeting between the president and the PDP leadership, a party source conversant with the meeting said other members of the committee are former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani (Enugu); Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Prof. Rufa'i Ahmed Alkali (Gombe); Julius Imagwe (SSA Youths - Edo); and Dr. Baraka Sani (SSA NSAP – Kano), while the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim (Ebonyi), would serve as its secretary.
 
PDP state governors were also nominated to represent their zones on the committee. The governors who will be on the committee are Governors Liyel Imoke (Cross River - South-south), Theodore Orji (Abia – South-east), Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo – South-west), Dr. Babangida Aliyu (Niger – North-central), Ibrahim Shema (Katsina – North-west) and Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe – North-east).
 
Those to represent the National Assembly include Senator Hosea Agbola (Oyo), Senator Ahmed Makarfi (Kaduna), Hon. Bitrus Kaze (Plateau) and Hon. Salmas Badru (Ogun).
 
From his cabinet, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Dieziani Alison-Madueke (Bayelsa); Minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Abduljelili Adesiyan (Osun); Minister of Women Affairs, Hajiya Zainab Maina (Adamawa); and Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), were nominated.
 
Those to represent the PDP in the committee include its Deputy National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus (Rivers); Benue State Chapter Chairman, Chief Emmanuel Egbo; National Women’s Leader, Dr. Kema Chikwe (Imo); and the North-west Zonal Chairman, Ambassador Ibrahim Kazaure (Jigawa).
 
To represent party stakeholders, Senator Stella Omu (Delta), Senator Walid Jibirn (Nasarawa), Ibrahim Bunu (Borno), Rev. Jolly Nyame (Taraba), Senator Aniete Okon (Akwa Ibom), Peter Obi (Anambra), Mrs. Remi Adiuku-Bakare (Lagos), and Gen. A. B. Mamman (PDP National Youth Leader – FCT) were nominated.
 
Others nominated at the president’s discretion include Mrs. Halima Alfa (Kogi), Nigerian Ambassador to the Netherlands, Dr. (Mrs.) Nimota Nihinlola Akanbi (Kwara), FCT ALGON Chairman, Hon. Micah Yohanna Jiba (FCT) and Hon. Sam Ikon (Akwa Ibom).
 
A summary of representation on the committee on a zonal basis shows the South-south has six representatives, South-east - five, South-west - five, FCT one, North-west - five, North-east - six and North-central - six.
 
Meanwhile, with the president’s participation in the 2015 contest assured, a group, Niger Delta Youths for Jonathan (NDY4J), yesterday said nothing would stop it from purchasing forms for the presidential ticket of the PDP for him.
 
Mr. Benjamin Egbunike, Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of the group, while briefing the press in Abuja, explained that they had last week Wednesday, submitted a letter to the National Chairman of PDP asking to be allowed to purchase the forms but were yet to receive any response.
 
“We came here again today to give him a reminder that we shall be here on Tuesday, next week unfailingly to purchase the forms,” Egbunike stressed.
 
The group alleged that when its members approached a Zenith Bank branch in Abuja to purchase the bank drafts, the bank turned them back, insisting that they needed authorisation from the PDP leadership before they could issue the bank draft to them since Jonathan is the sole candidate of the party.
 
When they were challenged over the authenticity of their experience with Zenith Bank, the group insisted that the bank turned them back, adding that by next Wednesday, “we will be here with the cash if we don't get their approval for the letters we wrote and we will not leave this place if they don't sell the forms to us”.
 
“Last week, we came with the cash. We shall come here again with the money since they have blocked us from getting the bank draft to procure the forms for him. We are serious about this matter and I can confirm to you that as stakeholders in PDP, this is not the first time we are showing interest in the affairs of the party,” they maintained.

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