October 13, 2014

PDP govs meet to take stand on endorsement

PDP govs meet to take stand on endorsement

File Photo: Pro-Jonathan state governors, addressing the media after presenting their factional chairman. From left, Ibrahim Shema (Katsina); Goodswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom); Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa); Liyel Imoke (Cross River); Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo), factional Vice Chairman; and Jonah Jang (Plateau), factional chairman.

By Henry Umoru

ABUJA—Barring last minute changes, governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP will meet this week to strategise on the next line of action to confront the National Working Committee, NWC over the stoppage of consensus endorsements of their candidates ahead of the 2015 general elections.

File: PDP and House Members meeting— Cross Section of governors at the PDP National Working Committee  meeting with members of the House of Representatives in Abuja, Tuesday. Photo:  Gbemiga Olamikan.

Speaking with Vanguard yesterday on the governors’ plans, a very strong source at the secretariat of the Governor Godswill Akpabio-led PDP Governors’ Forum (PDP-GF) disclosed that arrangements were being made to hold the meeting on Tuesday or Wednesday, adding that he would get a clearer picture today.

Since the PDP announced the cancellation of all endorsements by the governors, zonal and state leadership, there has been a cold war between the governors and the NWC and by extension the Presidency.

Opponents of the governors in the states had accused the state helmsmen of plotting to “plant “ their successors as they leave office.

At the proposed meeting scheduled to hold at its normal venue in Asokoro, Abuja, according to the source, the governors will look at their decision of endorsing President Goodluck Jonathan as the sole presidential candidate of the PDP ahead of the December 6 National Convention and the February, 2015 general elections which the Party’s National Caucus, Board of Trustees, BoT and the National Executive Committee, NEC agreed with and is to be ratified at the Party’s National Convention.

They are also expected discuss the on- going sale of forms especially with regard to the governorship forms being obtained at the Party’s National Secretariat.

The source said that the governors want to ensure that they don’t lose out of the political equation. Having endorsed President Jonathan they want the PDP hierarchy to allow them enjoy the same measure in their states.

Meanwhile, the PDP began the sale of forms last Friday. State chairmen have started besieging the Wadata Plaza National secretariat to collect the expression of interest and nomination forms for onward sale to aspirants for State House of Assembly and National Assembly.

On Saturday, Chairmen of Kebbi, Kano, Zamfara, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Abia, Bauchi and Jigawa, among others were at the secretariat to collect their forms. The governorship primary election is fixed for November 29 and National Assembly is November 22.

Rising from its weekly meeting last Thursday, the NWC warned all the governors, zonal and state chairmen to jettison the idea of having any anointed candidate ahead of the November 29 governorship primaries to elect governorship candidates.

A statement signed on Thursday by PDP National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo read: “The National Working Committee (NWC) at its meeting today, Thursday, October 9, 2014 noted that some elected officers of our great party at the state level have continued to engage in processes aimed at endorsing candidates for the 2015 general elections despite warnings from the national leadership that they, as unbiased umpires should not involved in such.

“The NWC strongly frowns at this development and issues this as a final warning to all elected party officials and chapters at all levels, and shall not hesitate to sanction such erring officers or chapters.

The sanctity of our nomination processes must be protected at all times. We therefore wish to assure all party members that there shall be a level playing ground for all aspirants intending to participate in the nomination processes.’’

There had been reports of full and passive endorsement of candidates by the PDP governors. Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State had announced the endorsement of Senate President David Mark for a fifth time in the Senate, just as Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma- Egba representing Cross River Central was at a rally in Ikom endorsed to return to the Senate for a fourth time.

Of the 19 PDP governors, those going for second term Murktar Ramalan Yero of Kaduna State; Acting Governor of Taraba State, Garba Umar; Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe; Henry Seriake-Dickson of Bayelsa; Capt. Idris Wada, and Adamawa State governor, Bala James Ngilari among others.

Apart from Governors Sule Lamido of Jigawa; Jonah Jang of Plateau and Babangida Aliyu of Niger, the other two-term PDP governors have got the party machinery and some persons in their states to anoint them for the Senate. In this category are Governors Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom; Gabriel Suswam of Benue; Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta; Saidu Dakingari of Kebbi; Theodore Orji of Abia; Sullivan Chime of Enugu; Ibrahim Shema of Katsina and Isa Yuguda of Bauchi.

As these governors plan to move to the Senate, they had plans for their anointed sons to take over from them. In Enugu State, the member representing Udenu/Igboeze- North in the House of Representatives and Chairman, House Committee on Marine Transport, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi was endorsed as PDP consensus governorship candidate.

In Akwa Ibom State, governor Godswill Akpabio is said to have settled for the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, while Martins Elechi of Ebonyi State has endorsed the Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu. in Delta State, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan is said to be backing Anthony Chucks Obuh; the Minister of State, Education, Nyesom Wike is being looked at by the Rivers State chapter of PDP and in Bauchi, Governor Yuguda is about to make a pick between the former PDP Acting National Secretary and Chairman, Governing Board of Tertiary Education Trust Fund, (TETFUND), Dr. Musa Babayo and former Minister of State, Health, Dr. Muhammed Ali Pate.

These arrangements are not going well with major stakeholders, leaders and party members in these respective states, which explains the decision of the NWC.