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Northern elders warn against fielding Jonathan, insist on Northern President

AS Saraki picks presidential form, declares on Monday
By Uduma Kalu
Some elders within the People Democratic Party, (PDP) have warned that fielding President Goodluck Jonathan as the party’s presidential candidate may affect the peace and unity of the country. It will also destroy the ruling party.

More so, the Kwara state governor, Dr.  Bukola Saraki, has picked the PDP presidential form for the 2011 election.

Saturday Vanguard gathered that he will declare on Monday.. This makes the number so far to four with Jonathan, IBB, Atiku leading the pack. The form costs N10m

The People Democratic Party, (PDP) elders, warning contained in a petition to the PDP Chairman, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo and his members of the National Working Committee (NWC) was signed by  a group calling itself Concerned Members.

It is signed by Adamu Ciroma, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, Alhaji Lawal Kaita, Madakin Fika, Alhaji Bello Kirfi, Amb. Yahaya Kwande, Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim, Wazirin Bauchi.

Entitled  RE: REQUEST FOR DECLARATION TO RESERVE THE PDP PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION FOR NORTHERN ASPIRANTS AND TO RESTRAIN PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN FROM PARTICIPATING IN THE 2010 PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY AS AN ASPIRANT, the group noted that Article7, section 7.2(c) of the party’s constitution prescribed the policy of rotation and zoning of public elective offices, enforced by the executive committee at all levels.

According to them, this party provision zoned the presidency to the south for eight uninterrupted years and was held by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, under the Obasanjo/Atiku ticket. It also brought in Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua from the North and  Dr. Goodluck Jonathan from the south as the Vice Presidential candidate in 2007 as the Yar’adua/Goodluck ticket which was to end in 2015.

For the group, the death of President Yar’Adua mid way to the completion of the first term tenure does not rob the North of the presidency.

The elders  therefore said that based on the existing party regulation, “ the Party must nominate a NORTHERNER as our Presidential candidate and a SOUTHERNER as our Vice Presidential candidate because the existing Yar’adua/Goodluck ticket zoned to the NORTH not the SOUTH.

“We make bold to remind you Sir, that by all implications, a NORTHERN ticket means that a NORTHERNER should be nominated the Party’s Presidential ticket. To us, Yar’adua was nominated to fulfil the rotation of power to the NORTH.

The fact that he died midway did not in any way terminate the total number of uninterrupted years which the North is entitled to enjoy. Nor did it obfuscate the right of the NORTH to field a replacement candidate.”

“The intention of President Goodluck Jonathan to vie for the presidency, they alleged, is now causing widespread anger, not just within the Party , but also throughout the country, over this clear infringement of our Party’s ground rules.

The evidence suggests that the Party leadership may be encouraging this infringement and this constitute great danger to peace, security and stability of our country.

“We fear that if President Jonathan’s plot succeeds, it will divide and dislocate our beloved Party. It will also cause irreparable damage to the peace and oneness of our country.

It will constitute an assault on reason and gross injustice to the North.
PDP, they went on, retained zoning at its 52nd NEC meeting held last on August 12, 2010 but muddied by paragraph 18 which allows other Nigerians and Jonathan to contest as he is serving the Yar’Adua/Jonathan joint ticket.

They said that the full import of Article 7.2(c) of the party constitution is “that whenever the Presidency shifts to a geo_political zone (in this case the NORTH) by rotation, all other zones are excluded by implication and convention from producing the Presidential candidate of the Party until and unless the duration of the shift/rotation is exhausted.

“Given that President Jonathan comes from the SOUTH, it is inconceivable that the Party should nominate him as the Party’s Presidential candidate to complete the second term of a NORTHERN ticket, especially where, as in this case, there are other ready, willing and able Northern aspirants in the Party.

The NORTHERN ticket did not cease or terminate with the death of Yar’adua. On the contrary, it continues in the NORTH for the Northern aspirants.

“ President Jonathan is incompetent to inherit the Northern ticket under our Party’s constitution because he is NOT from the North. We find it sufficient to note here that, unlike in the elevation of the then Vice President Jonathan to substitute Yar’adua as President (when he died) for the uncompleted first term tenure of the Yar’adua/Jonathan ticket, there is no credible argument which will otherwise trump the sustenance of the NORTHERN ticket.

The Party constitution and internal arrangement in this matter is supported by precedent. Therefore, by reason, convention or constitution of our Party, the choice of the Presidential candidate of the party for the 2011 election remains the exclusive preserve of the NORTH, and the Party is under obligation to nominate a NORTHERNER as its Presidential candidate.”


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