Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson says, the adoption of President Goodluck Jonathan as the presidential candidate of the ruling Peoples? Democratic Party, (PDP), is aimed at institutionalizing the right of refusal for an incumbent President, as contained in the Electoral Acts and promoting stability in the political system.
He stated that the adoption of President Jonathan by the PDP Governors and the leadership of the Party is not a declaration of sole candidacy as being presented by the opposition groups, adding that the step taken is in accordance with the law.
“If President Goodluck Jonathan refuses, the elective convention will be conducted. But, what we are going to have in PDP now is a non-elective convention due to the acceptance of the right of first refusalby the President. This decision is provided for by the electoral law.”
Making this known during an interactive session with newsmen in Yenagoa, the Governor said, the decision, aside, putting an end to in-fighting among the political class during and after the primary, it will also reduce the huge cost of the campaigns.
According to him, ?the action of the PDP State Governors and the Party leadership, was to institutionalize the right of first refusal for an incumbent President and reduces cases of huge cost and in-fighting within existing Political Parties.
?Though the adoption of President Goodluck Jonathan has been wrongly termed “sole candidacy” by the media and the opposition groups, it is not a declaration of sole candidacy. The term sole candidacy is a far cry from what we have done. What we have done is to stabilize the political system.”
“What we have done is to say that, we don’t want to subject our members to the costly and stressful experiences. What we have said is that, once you are a President from a Political Party, you have a right of first refusal. It will reduce in-fighting and cost of lobbying and campaigns.”
“What we have said is that, if the head (President) have failed, the party looses elections. Whoever comes after Jonathan will no longer have issues of intra-party conflicts. But, he will have right to first refusal. In the first term of an administration, there is much in-fighting. If the right of first refusal had been institutionalized in the past, former President Olusegun Obasanjo wouldn’t have been subjected to such issues that came up before his re-election.”
?Democracy should not be about conflicts and unnecessary intrigues, but by institutions. Institutionalizing the right of First Refusal is by law. No one did it for only President Goodluck Jonathan. It is to give room for Party responsibility. If candidates do not perform, the party is at risk of loosing. It should not be termed a declaration of Sole Candidature.”