December 27, 2010

How Jonathan beat Atiku to lawmakers’ endorsement

By Ben Agande, Abuja
Details have emerged on how 75 senators on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were persuaded to endorse President Goodluck Jonathan as the candidate of the party for the 2011 presidential election.

A member of the Senate, who is in the know of how the endorsement was achieved, told Sunday Vanguard that the decision to get the senators to endorse Jonathan in writing was to pre-empt the main rival to the  president, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who was also wooing members of the national assembly to support him.

The 75 PDP senators had, penultimate week, endorsed the candidacy of  the president in what is seen as a major boost to his campaign.

In documents seen by Sunday Vanguard, a breakdown of the senators indicates that sixteen from the south south endorsed him; eleven from south west and fourteen from the south east endorsed the president.

The rest are thirteen from the north central, eleven from the north west and ten from the north east.

One of the senators said that, following the endorsement of Jonathan by  the PDP governors,  the coordinator of the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign in the Senate, Senator Bariagha Amange appointed coordinators  the Senate to coordinate the collection of signatures to indicate the acceptance of each senator that he would vote for Jonathan in the forthcoming primaries of the PDP.

“For instance, Senator Grace Bent was the coordinator for the north east zone and she was very instrumental to persuading people like Senator Jubril Aminu to append his signature to the endorsement document. Similarly, Senator Joseph Akaagerger was the coordinator for the north central and he worked hard to get the highest number of senators from the zone to endorse Goodluck Jonathan”, the senator said.

Explaining why the endorsement by the senators is important, the senator stated: “we believe that each senator should be able to attract one delegate and if we are able to achieve this, then our candidate is home and dry. We do not want to take chances by feeling too confident about the chances of President Goodlcuk Jonathan”.

Sunday Vanguard gathered that  Amange and other supporters of  Jonathan in the National Assembly are also working on members of the House of Representatives to endorse the president Jonathan for the PDP primaries.