The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party is contemplating fielding President Goodluck Jonathan as its sole candidate for the 2015 presidential primaries, Saturday PUNCH Newspaper gathered.
The thinking within the top echelon of the party is that the party would emulate the United States democracy where the right of first refusal is usually given to the President.
Already, some members of the National Working Committee of the party were said to have favoured the arrangement, which would see Jonathan emerge as the sole candidate of the party.
According to the timetable for 2015 elections released by the Independent National Electoral Commission, conduct of parties’ primaries will commence on October 2, 2014 and end on December 11, 2014.
The Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih, had at a dinner for the party members in Abuja in May 2013 advocated automatic ticket for the President and governors, who had performed.
He had said, “I do not see anything wrong, if the PDP considers automatic tickets for the President and its governors who have performed well and are seeking for a second term.
“It is my view that with the outstanding performance of President Jonathan in the areas of power, rail and water transportation, road construction, aviation reforms, education, agriculture, job creation, etc., the party should not find it difficult in granting him the opportunity to serve a second term, if he so desires.”
A PDP chieftain, who asked not to be named, told Saturday PUNCH during the week that the National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Adamu Mua’zu, had been holding secret meetings with some stakeholders to ensure that Jonathan emerges as the consensus candidate of the party.
A PDP chieftain said, “Mua’zu will soon put a committee in place to prevail on presidential aspirants on the party’s platform from the North to wait till 2019, when Jonathan’s planned second term tenure would have ended.
“Mua’zu wants Jonathan to emerge as the party’s consensus candidate so that a Northerner can be elected President in 2019 to spend two terms.
“Though the President has not declared his intention to seek re-election, his body language is indicating that he will soon seek Nigerians’ mandate for second term in office.
“Even with the way some groups have been mobilising support for him, one is convinced that Jonathan will soon emerge as the PDP consensus candidate.”
However, some of the NWC members were said to have argued that there was nothing wrong in allowing other aspirants to pick forms, which, they said would give a resemblance of transparency in the process.
Apart from this, it was also gathered that the NWC members said throwing the process open would bring money into the purse of the party.
When contacted, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Olisa Metuh, told one of our correspondents that the party had not decided on the matter.
He also said it would be wrong to assume what the party would do until it calls for nomination.
He said, “How do we know if the President will be the sole candidate when we have not called for nomination?
“We will call for nomination and anyone who picks the form will be free to contest. For now, we cannot say who will be the aspirants.”
Efforts to seek reactions of the President’s Senior Special Adviser on Political Affairs, Prof. Rufai Alkali, did not succeed as calls to his mobile telephone did not go through.
But the Chairman, Mobilisation and Organisation Committee, South-West of the PDP, Mr. Buruji Kashamu, said the party would not impose any consensus presidential candidate on the people.