By Henry Umoru
ABUJA— THE Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday, approved October 23 for the emergence of its Presidential candidate.
Rising from its 53rd National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting of the party held at its National Secretariat, the PDP released its guidelines for the primaries for the 2011 general elections, just as it fixed October 8 for the emergence of governorship candidates on the party’s platform.
Noting that the guidelines will also govern the election of ad-hoc ward delegates and national delegates, the PDP said that publication of Notice of PDP Congresses, Special/National Conventions and Purchase and Return of Expression of Interest and nomination Forms by Aspirants to Elective Offices began yesterday, September 15.
According to the Party, the Purchase of Collection and Return of Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms by State Assembly, Gubernatorial, National Assembly and Presidential Aspirants also fixed for same date, while election of three ad-hoc Ward Delegates nationwide would hold today while election for national delegates and state assembly primaries would hold September 26.
According to the party, presidential aspirants seeking to fly the party’s flag in the 2011 Presidential Election would pay N1 million for expression of interest, while N10 million is for the nomination form.
Also yesterday, the party formally granted waiver to former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, whose fate has been placed on a balance since the last NEC meeting following the inability of the party to grant waiver to him.
Atiku gets waiver
Addressing journalists after the meeting, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Professor Ahmed Alkali stressed that screening of Presidential aspirants would commence on October 14, while appeals arising from such screening would be head on October 17.
In the staggered primary, the party, in line with the letters of the 2010 Electoral Guidelines approved by the National Assembly and released by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Special Conventions in the North Central and South Eastern stated States and FCT would be held on October 18.
According to the party, primaries for the North West and South South Zones would hold on October 19, while states in North East and South west Zones would hold theirs on October 20, just as the National Convention to collate the decision of all the zones would hold at an undisclosed venue on October 23.
According to Alkali, NEC decisions were based on the letters of Article 12.72 (i) and 17.1 and 2 of the party’s constitution, noting that though female aspirants to all the positions would not be required to join their male counterparts to pay nomination fee, they would, however, pay expression of interest fee of N1 million for presidential aspirants, N500,000.00 for gubernatorial aspirants, N200,000.00 for Senatorial aspirants; House of Representatives pegged at N100,000.00 and State House of Assembly, N100,000.00.
Special Congresses (Primary Elections) and LGAs in Senatorial District 1; LGAs in North or West Senatorial District 2 and LGAs in Senatorial District 3 would hold on October 6, October 7 and October 8, respectively, while appeals arising from such congresses would hold on October 10.
Alkali said: “The meeting considered critical issues affecting the Party,especially preparations for the forthcoming General Elections following the release of a time-table by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. In the exercise of the powers conferred on it by Article 12.72 (i) and 17.1 and 2 of the Constitution of the Peoples Democratic Party, the National Executive Committee approved Guidelines for the conduct of primaries for the election of candidates for the offices of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, State Governors, Members of the National Assembly and Members of the State Houses of Assembly. The guidelines will also govern the election of Ad-Hoc ward delegates and National delegates.
“For the Presidential Primaries, NEC approved as follows: i. Screening of Aspirants, October 14 2010; ii.Screening Appeals, October 17 2010; iii. Special Conventions in States and FCT/ (Presidential Primaries) States in north Central and South East (Zones 1); States in North West and South South (Zones 2) and States in North East and South west (Zones 3), October 18, October 19 and October 20 respectively.
“The Ratification National Convention will hold on October 23, 2010. For the purpose of nominating the Party’s Presidential Candidate, each of the 774 Local Government Party Chapters shall produce one (1) National Delegate to the Special Conventions through a special Local Government Congress.
The Party’s Executive at the ward, local government, State, zonal and National levels shall by virtue of their respective offices be automatic delegates to the Local Government, Special Congresses. Other automatic delegates include the LG Chairmen, Deputy Chairmen and Councilors, members of the National and State Assemblies members of the Board of Trustees, President/Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, State Governor and Deputy Governors who are members of the Party.
“Three Ward delegates at the ward congress shall emerge by direct voting by all card carrying members registered at the wards. One National delegate shall emerge at the Local Government Congress and shall be voted by the three ad-hoc delegates and the various Local Government/Ward Executives. NEC received applications for waivers from various state Executive Committees and gave the following approvals:- i. Adamawa State: Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; Imo State, Dr. (Mrs.) Ada Okwuonu (Deputy Governor), Chief Chikwem Onuoha and Mrs. Ijeoma Nwafor.”
“For Abia State, Hon. Charles Chinedum Elechi (Abia State House of Assembly) and Prince N. Okoro (Abia State House of Assembly), were granted waiver while, in Edo State, Dr. David Imuse, Anambra State, Senator Alphonsus Igbeke and Kogi State, Chief Olusola Akanmode, Sen. Mohammed Salami Ohiare, Sen. Salihu Otaru Ohize, Hon. Abdulkareem Saliu, Hon. Suleiman Kokori Abdul, Arc. Abdulmumeen Ahmed Okara and Hon. Momoh Jimoh Anda received the waiver. In view of time and tight election schedules NEC mandated the National Working Committee to treat all future applications for waivers for the 2011 General Elections.”
Speaking further, the PDP’s spokesperson said that NEC resolved to put it on hold in view of limited time available for the conduct of Congresses and Convention.
Meanwhile, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has described the waiver granted him by the party as victory for democracy, just as he welcomed the ratification of his waiver by NEC of the party.
Atiku Abubakar who noted that it was the right thing to do, however, hailed the PDP National Working Committee (NWC), the NEC, stakeholders and other party faithful for their moral courage. He said: “It is time to chart a new course for the PDP by entrenching true democracy and the rule of law. It is not about me. It is about ensuring that we deepen our democracy by entrenching inclusiveness in our party’s quest to usher in a new order,”
He, however, extended a hand of friendship and fellowship to all members of the PDP in particular and Nigerians in general, even as he called on his supporters and all lovers of democracy to come on board and join hands with him in his avowed bid to make good things happen.