August 25, 2013

2015: North in dilemma as two northern presidential candidates likely

2015: North in dilemma as two northern presidential candidates likely

File Photo: President Jonathan shaking hands with northern leaders

There is uneasy calm among northern political leaders following the registration of the Peoples Democratic Movement, PDM, barely two weeks after the historic birth of the All Progressive Congress, APC.

Sunday Vanguard learnt that the emergence of the PDM, last week, has significantly altered the calculations of the North, which had hoped to use the APC platform to present a major challenger to President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015.

A leading APC chieftain, who pleaded anonymity, said, Abuja, yesterday, that the North was confused over what to do with the registration of PDM.


File Photo: President Jonathan shaking hands with northern leaders

File Photo: President Jonathan shaking hands with northern leaders

The politician, a member of  the inner caucus of the APC and hails from one of the northern states, said that the North was suspicious that some politicians who did not wish them well were behind the sudden registration of PDM, which they see as an extension of the PDP, to counter the APC.

The APC big wig confirmed that the North had zeroed-in on  his party to  upstage Jonathan in 2015 but was jolted by the emergence of PDM.

The APC top shot described the promoters of the PDM as enemies of the North, who were used to register the party in order to split the votes of the region in 2015.

According to the politician, there was a tacit agreement among ‘aggrieved and sidelined members of the PDP’ that they would all fuse to form a party that would displace the PDP at the centre.

The former lawmaker said, “From our findings, there are some northern elements who are working hard to ensure that the region does not get to the Presidency in 2015; their own calculation is that if they don’t, and can’t get the Presidency, no one should get.

“Theirs is not the interest of the region but their personal interest and concerns. Before the APC was registered, we had some working relationshipwith those who are aggrieved and have been sidelined by the PDP with the intention of forming a broad-based party to unseat the PDP in 2015.

“But from what we are seeing, with the registration of the PDM, last week, a different scenario is unfolding because the two parties are likely to field two northern candidates thereby splitting the northern votes and enhancing Jonathan’s electoral fortunes.

“The implication is that the votes of the North would be divided along the line and this is what we are trying to avoid by reaching out to the PDM in order for both parties to have a working relationship that will throw up a common presidential candidate in 2015.”

In the meantime, Second Republic lawmaker and National Coordinator of the Coalition of Northern Politicians, Academics, Professionals and Businessmen, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, yesterday, expressed concern over the emergence of the two parties, which he said left the North nowhere.

According to Mohammed, the people of the area were simply watching the two parties-APC and PDM- as none of them has made its position clear on the quest by the North to claim the Presidency in 2015”.

Mohammed added, “It is too early to assess PDM now because its birth leaves the North nowhere considering the fact that it has not declared its intention relating to North’s quest to reclaim the Presidency in 2015”.

But PDM’s Director of Communication and Strategy, Alaba Yusuf, made it clear, yesterday, that the party did not intend to align with any other party, stressing that PDM had what it takes to win the 2015 presidential election. “We are not a sectional or regional party; this is the oldest political structure from where even the PDP derived its strength to produce a President. For anyone to say that we have come to play a spoiler role in 2015 is only mischief of the highest order and a sheer fallacy”, Yusuf stated.

“All those who believe in change should come on board and be part of the crusade to unseat the PDP; but in the course of doing that, even though we are not ruling out any relationship with similar groups, we shall not relinquish our identity and colour to anyone. We shall not compromise our identity for the sake of power and we shall not align with any party that will undermine our identity”.