By Henry Umoru
Former Federal Commissioner for Information and South South leader, Chief Edwin Clark said yesterday that the alleged imposition of candidates who did not win the party primary elections as party candidate will haunt the party at the polls.
He regretted that the imposition of candidates was at all levels in the party.
The ruling party’s machinery ensured President Goodluck Jonathan emerged PDP’s sole presidential candidate. Party chieftains had declared the seat was not vacant.
Consequently, PDP governors keyed in and bulldozed the way for their preferred candidates to emerge party gubernatorial candidates at all cost. Some of the governors ensured their candidates won their primary elections. Delta State was one of the few exceptions where the incumbent Governor allowed true democracy to hold sway. However, for state and national assemblies, the PDP leadership substituted names of many winners with those who lost in the primaries. The story was same in many parts of the country where party members who suffered such humiliation decamped to other parties.
Clark frowned at this yesterday and feared that the apathy it created within the party would haunt the party at the polls at all levels. But he was optimistic President Jonathan would still emerge winner.
He, however, said that things would change for the better for the party once Jonathan is re-elected in the March 28 Presidential election. Noting that matters for the PDP were not helped by aides and party chieftains who denied well meaning people access to the President, Clark said Jonathan’s re-election will end the era of “People dey work, monkey dey chop.”
Clark spoke as the National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Adamu Muazu yesterday ordered the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, campaign coordinators of the party to ensure that the President Jonathan and other party candidates are elected during the March 28 and April 11, presidential and National Assembly elections respectively.
Muazu also, handed down a 10- point agenda to the Coordinators, stressing that they must also ensure that PDP had overwhelming majority in the National Assembly to ensure the progress and prosperity of Nigeria under the PDP till 2019.
The PDP national chairman maintained that the party would achieve success despite huge opposition by the All Progressives Congress, APC. He then asked them to remain steadfast during the campaigns.
However, Clark spoke at his Asokoro residence, when a group of PDP supporters from Gombe South/Central Senatorial District in Gombe State paid him a courtesy visit. He said that the imposition of candidates was not democratic against the backdrop that the people were appointed as candidates of the party and not elected, in line with democratic principles.
He wondered why the National Working Committee, NWC and the National Executive Committee, NEC, of the party would allow such ugly scenarios considering the consequences.
The Ijaw leader stressed that imposition of candidates at all levels by the leadership would haunt the party at the polls.
Responding to complaints by his visitors over the alleged imposition of candidates by the state governor, he said, “I am very sad indeed that people in Gombe State; majority of our minority people are being held hostages. The area of imposition is not limited to Gombe.
The problem in PDP across the country as of today is caused by imposition of candidates. People being replaced by those who were not qualified for reasons best known to the party. So these are problems we are trying to solve
“A situation whereby a governor of a state would try to nominate everybody to become part of him is not democracy.
“When they do that they are merely protecting their own interests. If you nominate someone to represent you, they will go and nominate somebody else.
“The leadership of the PDP at various levels are doing that for their selfish interests. That is why they don’t allow you to elect your candidate for an election. It is the same people who will deny you access to Mr. President.”
Clark, however assured that such situation will stop in the party after the 2015 general elections.
He reiterated that all Nigerians were equal and that victims of post election violence in 2011 in Gombe State would be identified and adequately compensated.
According to him, the era when a group of people thought that Nigeria belonged to only them was over.
On the deployment of soldiers, the former federal commissioner for information said that troops would be deployed at polling centres to assist the police to ensure a hitch-free elections, pointing out that what the people wanted was a safe environment to exercise their rights, which could only be achieved with deployments of soldiers.
He said, “ our people want their safety when they go out to vote and the soldiers would be deployed to guarantee that.”
Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Ibrahim Dikko had said that candidates were imposed and also lamented the neglect of Gombe South and Gombe Central Senatorial Districts in the scheme of things, warning that if victims of pre and post election violence in the state were not compensated and the lack of respect for political culture was not addressed, it would be difficult for the party to win 40 percent of the votes in the state.
Meanwhile, Muazu who met with the state coordinators at the Wadata House- PDP National Secretariat, Abuja warned that if they must win the polls, there was the need for them to show total commitment, loyalty and transparency.
He also urged them to increase their work speed to ensure success, by strictly following the 10- point agenda which said that if executed, would lead the party to victory.
His words, “It is sacrosanct for the party to ensure that President Jonathan and Vice President Namadi Sambo are duly re-elected. This is a cardinal objective that all coordinators must bear in mind and work towards their realization.
“The PDP has to produce a working majority in the National Assembly to ensure that the progress and prosperity of Nigeria under the PDP is ensured till 2019.
“The importance of a bandwagon effect must be stressed and seized with both arms so that the party can win all the elections and therefore continue its tremendous transformation of Nigeria in all sectors of the economy.
“Coordinators must work in tandem with state governors in PDP controlled states and party chairmen in non-PDP controlled states in order to have a cohesive force that will finish off the opposition.
“Most importantly, this is time for commitment, loyalty and transparency. This is crucial to winning the 2015 elections.
“Opposition antics will be to hit the social media with faked results before INEC announces the full, final and authentic results.
“You must remain steadfast despite the heavy propaganda arsenal of the opposition which the PDP has exposed in recent weeks and led them to fall apart.
“Blow your own trumpet because our administration has achieved a lot under President Jonathan. As the ambassadors of this administration, you must not be afraid to blow your trumpet because no one will blow it for you as we have achieved so much which the opposition is pretending never happened.
“Our party has hit the opposition hard by exposing their pack of lies and their desperation to win at all costs and relying solely on promises that they have no intention of fulfilling.
“We must flaunt our successes in agriculture (dry season farming and fertilizer distribution revolution), education (over 200 almajiri schools, 13 new universities in thirteen states), power, aviation, job creation and the economy which has made Nigeria the biggest economy in Africa. Go for it my brothers and sisters. We are on the move to victory as our enemies are now running scared.”