Seventeen aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were screened at the weekend by its Presidential Screening Committee led by former Senate President, David Mark. Virtually all the aspirants commended the party for the caliber of personalities that served on the committee while appreciating the screening process described as smooth.
However, some of the aspirants that spoke with journalists during the exercise which took place at the PDP Presidential Campaign Office, Legacy House in Abuja held different views on the issue of zoning and consensus. Politics Editor TUNDE JOSHUA brings snippet from the exercise.
Peter Obi says PDP’s decision on zoning is final The former Anambra State governor said whatever the party does is alright. But for him, he is more concerned about what Nigerian people are looking for. He said “the party has the final say.
I can’t have a thought, I’m a member of a party. If the party says this is where they want the party to go, if you’re a member of an organization, you respect that organization.
And that is why I said, whatever we do, the most critical thing is, what we do to pull Nigerians out of poverty and create a future for teeming unemployed youths of Nigeria. “How do we create a future for the teeming unemployed Nigerian youths pulling Nigerians out of hunger.”
On his chances, he said he is just for the delegates to decide. “I’m not going to impose myself on them. My chances is for the delegates to reflect on the nation and decide, what do we do to guarantee a future for our young ones? ,” he said A’Ibom governor believes delegates will elect PDP candidate who can rescue Nigeria He expressed belief that any of the 17 aspirants is capable of the office of the President of Nigeria.
“I want to believe that all the people they’ve seen so far today any of us, is equal to the task to rescue and restore this country.”
On what he think was his comparative advantage, Gov.Emmanuel said “I want to believe that so many things are to my own advantage, because if you look at my antecedents, if you look at my training, if you look at the capacity and above all, I think age is also on my side, because the problem is with Nigeria today needs a very strong agile young man.
And I think all around, I think as so many factors are in my favor, and that will be decided by the electorate on the primaries.”
However, he said the delegates will determine who will rescue and restore this country and that whoever they will bring up as the candidate of the party will be one of the best that the country has ever produced.
On agitation for zoning of the position to the South, he said “party is supreme, if the party has spoken we will all abide by what the party has said.”
Former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose Says best thing for PDP is to zone Presidency to South He categorically stated that he is for zoning.
“Well, I say it again, very expressly, that I am for zoning and I believe the best thing this party can do for posterity, for tomorrow, so as not to cause confusion is for this party to zone this presidential election.
“You know why, If we fail to do it, even if we say anybody can contest, you must officially zone it to the South. “In 1999 it was zoned to the South which brought Obasanjo and Olu Falaye.
Rimi still contested within the ambit of the Constitution. But the party must remember, whatever we do today, will stand against us tomorrow. The system is not functioning in our country, the institutions are not functioning that is why we have all these problems. “And we must be courageous enough to say this is going to South.
If you want to contest the Nigerian constitution still gives you the leverage, the opportunity to do so. I support zoning this to southern Nigeria.”
He made allusion to the APC saying largely those obtaining presidential forms are from the South and it because the party know the president of Nigeria currently is from the north, now it must come to the South.
Urging PDP leaders to be decisive, Fayose said ‘this is not a sign of weakness, but it’s a sign to make sure that you don’t have the leeway for some people who will be using it negatively in future.
The party must make pronouncement and that may not necessarily stop anybody from contesting. The party must and should make a pronouncement.” Wike says Nigeria needs courageous leader like him.
While commending the screening process, Wike expressed confidence that he would scale through the screening hurdles. He said his being in the race was to help solve myriads of problems bedeviling the nation.
Wike said “the major problem of this country today is insecurity. If you cannot tackle insecurity, then there is nothing to talk about. If you take this issue of security to a level were people are happy, then you can talk about economy. “So you can’t talk about economy without environment been safe.
You can’t talk about agriculture when people cannot go to farm. “This nation need a strong and courageous leadership and that is what I stand for.” Ovation magazine publisher Momodu urges delegates not to sell conscience He dismissed the insinuation that he is in the race to front for another aspirant saying “anyone who feels Dele Momodu is here to waste time or to step down for somebody tell them that Dele Momodu is a man of principle.”
Momodu sent a strong message to delegates expected at the May 28 and 29 presidential primary not to sell their votes. He said “my message to the delegates is that they should not sell their conscience. They should vote their conscience? I don’t have money.
But I have integrity, I have reputation as a global brand, our founding fathers in Nigeria they all have journalism background. If you go to Ghana many of their leaders you know have journalism background. The world can only be changed by intellectuals and not by money.”
He said he is a global brand .”That is what I want to offer my country, everywhere in the world now people are electing superstars. You need somebody who will be president from day one who has been interacting with Presidents and will be able to take charge from day one,” he said.
Bala Mohammed to step down if Jonathan runs Affirming his loyalty to his former boss and erstwhile President Goodluck Jonathan, the Bauchi State governor vowed to immediately step down moment Jonathan decided to run for 2023 on the platform of any party.
He said: “I have told Nigeria and I am a man of my own words that I will not be contesting alongside with Jonathan and I have gotten his go ahead, before I came to this level, I have gone very far. “ I have gotten a consensus status from my section of the country, and I have gotten supporters we can see across the country, but certainly it’s something that we are going to sit down and discuss.
“I’m not going to swallow my words. I respect president Jonathan so much and I know up to this moment, he has not declared, he is not here. And declaration is not the assumption or assumption of the ticket of the party. But certainly if he collect the ticket of any other party, I will not be joining issues with him.”
Governor Mohammed said the issue of consensus is a settled one. He said “the party has a process of the emergence of candidates through the primaries, but what we did in the consensus is not a new one, it has been done before and some people have benefited on it.
“And I’m humbled that I’ve benefited on that attestation that sense of judgment, that appreciation by our elders and I’m carrying it as a booster, not as a free to accomplish the emergence or that it is all uhuuru.”
He prayed that the primary will be without any rancour, without any provocation, without any attack on any member that is contesting with him. Ohuambuwa says PDP must respect constitution on zoning The industrialist said the party knows the implication of its action on any decision taken on zoning or otherwise.
But he emphatically said “PDP must respect its own constitution” but as a party man, he is ready to abide by the party decision. “Whether the party made announcement on it or not we will all abide by the process towards a free and credible presidential primary,” he said.
On his competence, he said he has the requisite qualification to emerge as PDP candidate and that if he picks the ticket, he is ready to rescue Nigeria, to restore dignity of the citizenry because Nigerians have been dehumanized under the present APC administration.