*Dangles carrot before Jonathan, PDP NEC members to agree
By Ben Agande
ABUJAâ€”Key supporters ofÂ President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua in the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP,Â are pushing for the conduct of the party’s presidential primaries in June.
Vanguard gathered in Abuja that the decision to push for an early conduct of the primaries by Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s supporters is to ensure that, if he is unable to return to the country soon, a Northerner would emerge as the partyâ€™s candidate to contest the 2010 presidential poll.
Though the campaign is allegedly being spearheaded by members of the party from the Northern part of the country, they allegedly have the support of some of Acting President Goodluck Jonathanâ€™s opponents from the South-South zone.
According to a source at one of the meetings where the matter was discussed, ”the issue is not about Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as a person, but to protect the interest of the North.
”Since there is the understanding that power will rotate between North and South and the South served eight years, the North should also serve its own tenure of four years even if President Yarâ€™Adua is unable to serve out his term.”
Bargains with PDP NEC members
The source said: ”We are looking at reassuring the present members of the National Executive Committee of the party that if they support the proposal, their position would be guaranteed as they would be returned to their posts.
”We are also aware that Dr. Jonathan is not particularly popular with the various power blocs in the South-South. So, we will have natural allies in some of the political leaders from Dr. Jonathanâ€™s immediate political vicinity,” said the source who pleaded anonymity.
Vanguard recalls that in the build-up to the National Assembly resolution empowering Jonathan as acting president, a governor from one of the South-South states mobilised members of the House of Representatives to vote against the resolution making Jonathan the acting president.
Relatedly, in the Senate, only one of the three senators from Edo State supported the resolution making Jonathan acting president. The two others were reportedly directed by a chieftain ofÂ PDP from the state (names withheld) not to support Jonathan’s lift.
The source stressed that to dispel the impression that Goodluck is being targeted, ”he would be offered the opportunity to continue as the vice-president to any candidate that would emerge from the primaries.”
Donâ€™t forget that Jonathan did not contest to be president and we all know that he is not a man of inordinate ambition; so, we donâ€™t anticipate a major problem from him. What we are trying to do is to save the country from any major crisis since it would be unacceptable that the North will serve for less than one term when Chief Olusegun Obasanjo served for two terms.â€