February 8, 2022

‘Nation’s mood’ll decide our presidential candidate’

Revitalizing leadership decay in Nigeria

…Says PDP source, adds North only ruled for 2 years during PDP’s reign

Zoning’s a knotty issue

We’ll cross the river when we get to the bridge—PDP leader

Confirmation of Gumus as INEC commissioner, coup against democracy —PDP

By Dapo Akinrefon & Dirisu Yakubu

There are strong indications that the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, may be determined by the ‘mood of the country,’ Vanguard has learned.

Vanguard had reported yesterday that the PDP is yet to make up its mind on the zone its presidential candidate will come from because both the PDP and the All Progressives Congress, APC are playing mind games over the issue.

A PDP source, who is a former member of the National Working Committee, NWC, said the party’s decision to leave the contest open will help it read the mood of the country when the APC announces its candidate for 2023.

The source said: “The contest will be left open to avoid a crisis. By the time the APC announces its presidential candidate officially, the PDP will declare its candidate officially. It is a strategy to leave the contest open.

“Leaving it open was done in two ways. First, if the APC declares it is going South, the PDP will look at the mood of the country and see if it favours Nigerians. If it does not favour them and the North disagrees with the APC, we (PDP) will go North.”

North only ruled for 2 years during PDP’s reign

Asked if the strategy will not backfire against the PDP, the source said: “The strategy will not backfire because nothing says we (PDP) should not pick a candidate from the North and the reason is that the APC is different from the PDP. We won’t work at their pace.

“In the 16 years that the PDP ruled Nigeria, the North only ruled for two years, so nothing will backfire. It is only the APC that has a problem because they must not pick a candidate from the North. We (PDP) can pick a candidate from the North. If we pick a candidate from the North, it will pay us because there is nobody from the North that will not like to be in power.

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“If they (APC) pick a candidate from the South-West, it will backfire. We are looking for power and when the PDP gets power, we will organize ourselves.”

We’ll cross the water when we get to the bridge — PDP leader

A top PDP leader, who spoke to Vanguard in confidence, said the zoning of the presidency remains a knotty issue that must be addressed.

The PDP leader, who hails from the South-West, said: “As regards zoning of the presidential candidate, it is still an issue which must be addressed.

“The political equation of the country has another parameter added and that is the fact that when the founding fathers of the PDP started, nobody thought there will be a time that another party will produce the president. It was not in our political equation. After we add that to the equation, then the party leaders will sit down and see how we can cross that bridge.

“I am sure that most of our people are passionate because we do not have a godfather or kingmaker like the APC but fortunately, we have a man at the helm of affairs, who started with the PDP. As a senior member of this party, I don’t want to start postulating which region will produce the presidency.”

Asked why the governors are calling the shots in the party, the PDP leader said: “We had a presidential candidate who should be the rallying point of the party and the leader of the party but when our candidate left the country and went to stay in Dubai, the next level of people that can control the party are the governors.

“By the time he (Atiku) came back, the governors were already running the party.  Of course, the governors are the ones running the party, they finance the party and as active participants, they will benefit from whatever decisions the party makes.

“We should not undermine them, but they should not be in total control of the party at the national level.”

While reacting to the decision of some northern politicians to join the presidential race, and the clamour for power shift to the South, he said: “The fact that they (northern aspirants) are coming out is fine. The zoning they did was for the chairmanship and not the presidency. The Bala Mohammed committee has made some recommendations regarding zoning. The issue is as important today as it was in 1998. There must be justice, fairness and equity, and you must be fair and carry everybody along.”

Confirmation of Gumus as INEC commissioner, coup against democracy — PDP

Meanwhile, the PDP has rejected the confirmation of Professor Rhoda Gumus, as a national commissioner (South-South) in the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, describing the development as a coup against democracy.

Alleging that  Gumus is a ‘card-carrying member’ of the APC, the opposition party said her confirmation is “an open invitation to serious political crisis that can derail our hard-earned democracy and lead to breakdown of law and order if not immediately reversed.”

In a statement signed by its spokesman, Debo Ologunagba, the PDP noted that “in confirming Professor Gumus, the APC-led Senate leadership has exposed itself as anti-people and completely insensitive to the aspiration of Nigerians for credible and transparent elections in 2023.”

The statement further read: “The action of the APC-led Senate is highly provocative and incendiary because it is in violation of Paragraph 14 (2)(a) of the 3rd Schedule to  the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), which provides that “a member of the commission shall be non-partisan and a person of unquestionable integrity.

“Such violent assault on the constitution and our electoral process by the APC cannot be allowed to stand.

“The media space is awash with reports of Professor Gumus as a member of the  APC in Bayelsa State with APC Registration Form No: BAY/YEN/08/58315 and  reportedly as Number 27 in her APC Ward Register.

“In nominating and confirming an APC card-carrying member into INEC, President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC-led Senate leadership, have recklessly violated the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), which they swore to uphold and  defend.

“This action is designed to corrupt and compromise the electoral commission and pave way for the APC to rig the 2023 general elections.”