By Ben Agande, Abuja.
The Chairman of the Presidential Declaration Committee, Dr. Haliru Bello, has revealed that the committee has fixed November 11, 2014 as the day for the formal declaration by President Jonathan to seek re-election in 2015.
Speaking with State House correspondents at the end of the committee’s inaugural meeting at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa on Friday, Dr Haliru said the venue of the formal declaration would be decided at the next meeting of the committee.
He said: “the President gave us the task to organise the modality of creating a platform for him to meet Nigerians and announce his response to the various calls for him to come out and declare his interest in the presidential election.
“The President has not said anything yet but it is like all Nigerians have called on him. It is our honest hope that he will come out and say yes to the demand of multitude of Nigerians.
“We expect he will say yes but we cannot say yes for him. We will wait for him to speak.
“The date that is fixed is Tuesday, November 11. On that day, there will be a forum for the President to meet Nigerians to announce his decision.
“The venue is yet to be decided. That will be decided at our next meeting. When we come out on November 11, the President will face the people of Nigeria and say yes to their demand.
“If he says yes, it will be yes. If he says no, then it is negative. But you are aware that our party, the PDP in all its organs, from the caucus to the Board of Trustees, NWC had decided that President Jonathan should be given the first option of refusal with the PDP ticket.
“If he is going to contest, the PDP will give him preference. As the President, he has performed and we are satisfied with what he has done” he said.
Dr Haliru said as long as the president is interested in contesting, PDP will give him preference over other aspirants.
“It is only when he declines that we can look at any other contestant” he said.
Also speaking with state House Correspondents, the Governor of Katsina State, Ibrahim Shema said sub-committees were set up during the inaugural meeting.
Some of the sub-committees set up yesterday he said, include secretariat, venue and decoration, media and publicity, security, protocol and mobilisation.
He expressed the hope that the committee would come up with enough preparations that would ensure a hitch-free declaration.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Hajiya Zainab Maina, expressed confidence that Nigerian women would troop out in large number to support the President’s re-election bid.