By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- EFFORTS by son of Nigeria’s late prime minister, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Dr Abdul Jelil to purchase his expression of interest and nomination forms to challenge the decision of the National Executive Committee, NEC to participate in the Presidential primary election was frustrated, just as the doors were closed behind him.
The PDP yesterday asked Jelil Tafawa Balewa who has dared the PDP’s decision by storming the National Secretariat with his supporters to pick the forms having paid the mandatory N2 million for expression of interest and N22 million for Nomination form totally, N22 million to come tomorrow, Thursday, the last day for the sale of forms to aspirants.
Also yesterday, the PDP denied another presidential aspirant, Mrs Zainab Duke- Abiola opportunity of purchasing the forms to contest the Presidential election, even as the Deputy National Organising Secretary, Okechukwu Nnadozie, Vanguard gathered was on hand to receive Balewa.
Zainab Duke- Abiola, wife of acclaimed winner of the 1993 Presidential election, late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola.
Both Balewa and Mrs Abiola disclosed that they were told by the national leadership of the party that the Presidential forms were printed for only one person and that was President Jonathan, the party’s sole candidate.
According to Mrs Abiola, she paid N2million as a female aspirant and that she was in the race because this was a democratic dispensation, just as she said that it not a question of insisting, adding, “I have receipt from PDP. The consequences is that you are given what you paid for I asked and they told me they printed just one nomination form. I haven’t seen where it is written that PDP should print one form National Organizing Secretary and the national chairman told me. I asked for the only form printed, but they said you know who the form was printed for and I said I don’t know. It’s a representation of fact and figure and I’m not asking for my money back. Every four years, there’s vacancy in Aso Rock. The constitution guarantees inalienable rights and no one can stop me. ”
It would be recalled that NEC had at its 66th NEC meeting endorsed President Goodluck Jonathan as the party’s sole Presidential candidate of the party whose candidature would be ratified at the December 6 National Convention.
The party had also said after the endorsement that all law abiding members of the party must adhere strictly to the decision of PDP by not picking presidential nomination forms to kick against the decision of the organs of the party.
Speaking with Journalists at the National Secretatiat after he was denied opportunity, Balewa, a medical doctor said that having consulted widely, he was convinced that Nigerians have been yearning for a new leadership capable of fulfilling the high expectations and aspirations of the majority in Nigeria.
According to Dr. Abdul Jahlil Tafawa Balewa, he paid the required N22m, displayed a Zenith Bank teller with account number 1012436478.
Balewa who noted that he went to see the National Organising Secretary, Abubakar Mustapha and the National Secretary, Prof. Wole Oladipo said, “I have paid for my forms, I was however told that they don’t have the forms ready. No matter, I am still here, I will send some of my people here on Thursday to come and pick the forms. People came from Bauchi and from different parts of the nation to support me. We have signature of over 40million Nigerians that want a change. I am in the PDP, I have always being in the PDP, I have no intention of leaving the PDP, but I have every intention of making my country a better country, a country that we will all be proud of.
“I went to see the Secretary, I also went to see the Organising Secretary and they said the form was not ready. I am a party person, so I don’t want to put any doubt in thinking that maybe the presidential form is not ready. We have so many gubernatorial forms and so many people picking those up and very few of us, just the president and I for the presidential race, so why two forms will not be ready is a little bit worrisome but my party will do what is right.
“I think those who endorsed the president is a body and the body has organs. These organs are little parts of the body, I am appealing to the body polity and I am going to run. Those organs do not always represent the masses that follow my part and i am addressing myself, the party and its entirety, I am sure I will do well. I did not wait until the last hour, you have to remember that i am not pushing myself to run, I have enough to do in life, it is civil society groups and other groups that came to me and said it is my type of person that need to lead this country. So, I have never fronted for anyone, I am running and unlike most of the other aspirants that bring in so many people from the party, for me, all the people that came with me are just ordinary Nigerians that are looking for change in their lives. So, no matter when I take the form, it is never too late as long as I do it at the right time.
“What will be you next line of action if you don’t get the forms on Thursday as you have been told? Well, I want to think that my party is a leader in wanting to teach other Nigerians exactly what to do, so if there should not be anyone here on Thursday, it means there are people that should be doing a particular job that will not be doing their job that day and those are the types of people we don’t need in this country and I will make sure will not be in my administration. Concerning what I am going to do after Thursday, we will cross that bridge when we get there. I paid for it by myself, nobody paid it for me because I believe very strongly in what I am doing and I love this country with all my heart. I paid 22million for it.”
Reacting however, the national publicity secretary of the party, Chief Olisa Metuh, who denied knowledge of the situation, said: “I have to find out exactly the true position because I am not aware now, you are just informing me.
“Please it is good to balance stories in this season of elections, I will want to confirm from the National Chairman and the National Organising Secretary, the true position. I do not want to believe the report of an individual or group as against the elected leaders of our party who are the custodians of our party constitution.”
When asked if the party would be willing to sell forms to other presidential aspirants, he said: “I will send you to the National Organising Secretary on the issue of forms. All the publication is being handled by the office of the National Organising Secretary not the National Publicity Secretary.
Also yesterday, Senator James Manager representing Delta South was at the party’s Secretariat to pick expression of interest and nomination forms to return to the Senate, just as he is out to challenge Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan who wants the position. Senator Manager picked his forms through proxy. Mr. Government Tarabri picked for him
Also at the secretariat yesterday was the Senator representing Delta Central, Senator Emmanuel Aguaravwodo who picked his expression of interest and nomination forms to contest the Delta State 2015 Governorship election. Confirming his purchase of form, the PDP Deputy National Organising Secretary, Okechukwu Nnadozie said he picked forms to contest for the governorship election.
It would be recalled that Senator Emmanuel Aguaravwodo was elected to replace the late Senator Pius Ewherido.
Senator Ayo Arise was also at the Secretariat to pick forms to return to the Senate.