BY HENRY UMORU

…To force aspirants to step down for him…
ABUJA—FRESH facts have emerged why the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was last Thursday silent at its National Executive Committee, NEC, on planned moves to amend the constitution to pave the way for President Goodluck Jonathan to have automatic ticket towards 2015 election.

A motion was to be moved to allow for the President and governors on the ticket of the party serving the first term in office the right of first refusal to the party’s ticket for a second term.

The proposal which would have scaled through only to be ratified at the August 31, Special Convention, was jettisoned at the last meeting following advice by members of the Board of Trustees, BoT, and also from meetings held last Wednesday. It was also gathered that members argued that since the convention was designed for the election of members of National Working Committee, NWC, the PDP decided to suspend such volatile issues which included the amendment of the constitution.

According to a source, since it was expected that the 62nd NEC meeting would be stormy, raising it will further aggravate the PDP crisis.

A source told Vanguard that at meetings before last Thursday NEC, members argued that there was no need amending the constitution for the purpose, adding that it was resolved that 2015 was still far and other teething problems of the party should be resolved at the moment.

Alhaji Bamanga Tukur  and President Goodluck Jonathan
Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and President Goodluck Jonathan

It was also resolved that when the primary election comes, rather than including it in the constitution, other aspirants will be asked to step down for President Jonathan like what happened at the 2012 National Convention where other aspirants stepped down for Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola.

Vanguard gathered that to allow tempers rise especially from the anti-Tukur’s camp, the meeting became the shortest in the history of NEC, just as it was gathered that only item five on the agenda was taken after Mao Ohabunwa moved a motion for the ratification of the item, “Ratification of Date for the Special National Convention” His motion was seconded by former National Woman Leader, Hajia Maryam Inna Ciroma.

It will be recalled that the Chairman, Board of Trustees, BoT of PDP, Chief Tony Anenih had at a meeting of the party’s leaders in South-South region, proposed the granting of automatic tickets to a sitting president and governors, just as he stressed that PDP must not subject the president to the party’s primary election.

Chief Anenih also at a dinner meeting called by President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja with select leaders of the party drawn from the federal and state levels, said he did not see any problem in PDP extending the gesture to the president to serve a second term without going through the rigours of primary election.

Anenih had on May 30, said, “Party leaders, brothers and sisters listening to reports of Ministers of various sectors at the Democracy Day celebration held at the International Conference Centre on May 29, 2013, I felt proud that Nigerians have not been disappointed by this administration, fulfilled by his own achievements, President Jonathan confidently asked Nigerians to develop their own criteria in judging his performance during the last two years.

“I do not see anything wrong if the PDP considers automatic tickets for the President and its Governors who have performed well and are seeking for a second term. It is my view that with the outstanding performance of President Jonathan in the areas of power, rail, and water, transformation, road construction, aviation reforms, education, agriculture, job creation, etc, the party should not find it difficult in granting him the opportunity to serve a second term if he so desires.

At today’s emergency NEC meeting which will have President Goodluck Jonathan, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and other members in attendance will deliberate on the crises rocking the party, as well as assess the successes recorded by Governor Seriake Dickson-led National Reconciliation Committee.

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