AHEAD of the November 29 governorship primary election of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP where candidates would emerge for the February, 2015 election, President Goodluck Jonathan has told governors elected on the platform of the party that they must produce for PDP very popular and acceptable candidates that were capable of winning elections.
According to the President, the governors must not hand pick candidates, it must be done through consultation with leaders, elders, stakeholders and party members in the state, just as he stressed that there should be primary election where the people of the state would decide who should be the candidate of the party.
These were part of the issues raised by President Jonathan on Sunday night when he met behind closed doors with PDP governors at the Presidential Vila, Abuja.
A source said that the President warned that the party must put forward its best in the states, like what happened in Ekiti state where governor Ayodele Fayose insisted that there must be primary election despite the push by some aspirants, stakeholders, leaders and elders that the party should go for a consensus candidate, but for the insistence of Alhaji Adamu Muazu led National Working Committee, NWC, the Ekiti State and Osun went for primary election, Fayose emerged for Ekiti and Senator Iyiola Omisore emerged for Osun State.
Though Fayose won, Omisore was defeated by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Rauf Aregbesola.
Sunday meeting with the president was a follow up to the one held with Muazu on Wednesday by the Governors which ended in deadlock following some irreconcilable differences on the issue of conducting primaries.
The meeting was called primarily by the governors to express their displeasure over the stoppage of consensus endorsement of their candidates ahead of 2015 general elections and their own candidature by the National Working Committee, NWC.
At the meeting, it was gathered that the President told the governors that the party cannot afford to loose any state to the APC because of the presentation of unpopular candidates, adding that the Party was working towards winning the states that were presently being controlled by the opposition in addition to the PDP states and not having any one won by the APC because of wrong candidates.
The governors were said to have raised the issue of endorsement, automatic tickets for them especially those who were rounding off and warming up to come to the Senate, to ensure that their preferred successors get tickets as well as automatic tickets for first term governors.
At the meeting, discussions were said to have centred on the forthcoming party primary elections and repositioning of the party.
Among the governors at the meeting were Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo State), Isa Yuguda (Bauchi State), Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe State) and Martin Elechi (Ebonyi).
Others were Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Saidu Dakingari (Kebbi), Liyel Imoke (Cross River) , Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Umar Garba (Acting Governor of Taraba) as well as the deputy governors of Sokoto and Nasarawa states.
It was also gathered that the Governors were not comfortable with the decision of the President especially against the backdrop that many of the Governors were already endorsing some aspirants to take over from them, but after much persuasion from the President, the Governors were said to have reluctantly agreed to open primary election.
It would be recalled that in spite of passive and open endorsement by the governors, many aspirants have been coming to Wadata Plaza, PDP National Secretariat to purchase their expression of interest and nomination forms to avoid being fenced out at the State secretariats.
From the meeting, it appeared that both the President and the NWC were not ready to change the position of the party, insisting on primary elections and a level playing field for all which include both the governors, serving senators as well as new aspirants, an indication that governors who want to come to the Upper Chambers without going through the hurdles of primaries, may not have it easy.
This forms one of the issues annoying the governors that having endorsed President Goodluck Jonathan as the party?s sole candidate ahead of the December 6 National Convention, they should equally enjoy same treatment.
It would be recalled that since the PDP announced the cancellation of all endorsement by the Governors, Zonal and State leadership, strong indications emerged that a cold war looms between the outgoing Governors who want to ?plant ? their successors as they leave office and the NWC and by extension the Presidency.
There have been reports of full and passive endorsement of candidates by the PDP governors, like Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State had announced the endorsement of Senate President David Mark for a fifth time in the Senate, just as Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma- Egba representing Cross River Central was at a rally in Ikom endorsed to return to the Senate for a fourth time.
Of the present nineteen PDP governor, those who are not rounding off their various tenure in office and want to come back for second term are governors Murktar Ramalan Yero of Kaduna State; the Acting Governor of Taraba State, Garba Umar; Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe; Henry Seriake-Dickson of Bayelsa; Capt. Idris Wada, the Present Adamawa State governor, Bala James Ngilari, among others.
Besides Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa; other governors of PDP who are outgoing have got the machinery of the party and some persons in their states to anoint them for the Senate. They are Governors Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom; Gabriel Suswam of Benue; Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta; Saidu Dakingari of Kebbi; Theodore Orji of Abia; Sullivan Chime of Enugu; Ibrahim Shema of Katsina; Isa Yuguda of Bauchi; Jonah Jang of Plateau and Babangida Aliyu of Niger.
It would also be recalled that as these governors plan to move from their various government Houses to the Senate, they already have their anointed sons to take over from them. Like in Enugu State, member, representing Udenu/ Igboeze- North in the Federal House of Representatives and Chairman, House Committee on Marine Transport, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has been endorsed by Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State as his possible successor.
In Akwa Ibom State, governor Godswill Akpabio is said to have settled for the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, while Martins Elechi of Ebonyi State has endorsed the Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, in Delta State, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan is said to be backing Anthony Chucks Obuh; the Minister of State, Education, Nyesom Wike is being looked at by the Rivers State chapter of PDP and in Bauchi, governor Yuguda may not have made up his mind on who should be between the former PDP Acting National Secretary and Chairman, Governing Board of Tertiary Education Trust Fund, (TETFUND), Dr. Musa Babayo and former Minister of State, Health, Dr. Muhammed Ali Pate.
According to PDP guidelines, Ward Congresses for 3 Ad-hoc Delegates is fixed for November 1; Appeals, November3; Local Government Area Congresses for National Delegates is November 8; Appeals if any is November 10.
The Governorship primary election is fixed for November 29; Senate is November 22; House of Representatives is fixed for November 19
It will be recalled that the NWC had penultimate week, warned all the governors, all the Zonal and state Chairmen to jettison such idea of having any anointed candidate ahead of the November 29th Governorship Primary election when Gubernatorial candidates would emerge.
A statement signed. by PDP National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo read, ?The National Working Committee (NWC) at its meeting today, Thursday, October 9, 2014 noted that some elected officers of our great Party at the state level have continued to engage in processes aimed at endorsing candidates for the 2015 general elections despite warnings from the national leadership that they, as unbiased umpires should not involved in such.
?The NWC strongly frowns at this development and issues this as a final warning to all elected party officials and chapters at all levels, and shall not hesitate to sanction such erring officers or chapters.
?The sanctity of our nomination processes must be protected at all times. We therefore wish to assure all party members that there shall be a level playing ground for all aspirants intending to participate in the nomination processes.
?Consequently, the NWC will not hesitate to protect any of our members who in any way stands to be shortchanged, cheated or victimized by such endorsements.
?The NWC charges all our members and supporters therefore to disregard all such endorsements as the PDP will conduct primaries to duly elect our flag bearers in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act and the constitution of our great party.?
Source: The Advocate