PDP Presidential aspirants renew battle for 3,700 delegates

Lagos PDP commends screening c'ttee, aspirants, delegates 

Stories by John Alechenu, Abuja

Presidential aspirants on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party have romped up campaigns among the party’s 3,700 delegates ahead of the party’s Presidential primary scheduled for May 28-29, 2022.  

Findings by Saturday VANGUARD indicate a sharp increase in the number of engagements by aspirants and party delegates within the last 48 hours.

PDP Governors divided between Wike and Saraki

This, it was learnt, is a direct consequence of the decision of the National Executive Committee of the party to throw open the contest for its sole Presidential ticket.  

Some of the delegates, especially former PDP Governors, ministers and senior members of the National Working Committee of the party, have taken up temporary residence in the nation’s capital.  

On Thursday alone, three aspirants, former Senate Presidents: Bukola Saraki, Anyim Pius Anyim and Industrialist Sam Uhuabunwa, held separate interactive sessions with statutory and other delegates in various locations.

Saraki started the day with a breakfast meeting with over 1,500 delegates at the Ballroom, a private hotel facility in the Central Business District.

He used the occasion to appeal for their votes at the upcoming primary as well as unveil his plans for the nation if eventually he wins the party nomination and gets elected as President.

The aspirant promised to rebuild the nation given the chance. He said, “I will be the bridge between Muslims and Christians. I will be the bridge between the North and the South. Because I am the Nigerian for all Nigerians.

“2023 presents the moment to choose hope over hopelessness; the moment to choose peace and security over fear and terror; the moment to choose unity and inclusion over division and exclusion; the moment that we draw a bold line in the sands of history and say, ‘no more’ and then move ahead as one people, as one nation, towards our God-assigned destiny as the greatest black nation on the face of the earth.”

While addressing a set of former NWC members who are statutory delegates in his private office in Garki, told them to vote according to the dictates of their conscience.

He said, “The Nigerian problem is that of leadership. If we recruit the right person the better for our country, like I always say, let us do the right thing because we will bear the consequences of the choices we make today. We should have these three things at the back of our minds: The future of our children, Nigeria and our party-the PDP.” Anyim promised the delegates that if elected, he would restore party supremacy and ensure they were all carried along in the decision making process.

Sam Uhuabumwa who also met with the delegates at the Immaculate Hotel and Suits, in Wuse II, said his desire was to leave behind a Nigeria which works for all Nigerians irrespective of socio-political, religious or ethnic background. He maintained that Nigeria will attain its rightful pride of place with the right kind of leadership.

Trouble brews in states over PDP guber tickets

A crisis of confidence is brewing between supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party and the party leadership in some state chapters in the run up to the party’s Governorship Primaries.

Already, several groups acting on behalf of interested parties have sprung up to raise the alarm or defend the causes of aspirants.

In Cross Rivers State, party supporters under the aegis of Cross River State PDP Professionals (CROSPP), have accused a former Governor of the State, Donald Duke, of plotting to foist the founder of Arthur Jarvis University, Arthur Jarvis Archibong, as the PDP gubernatorial candidate.

They allege that the former governor was trying to frustrate the genuine aspirations of the party’s leading lights such as: Sen. Gershom Bassey, Hon. Daniel Asuquo, and Amb. Nkoyo Toyo.

Leader of the group, Okon Edem-Ita, warned the PDP state working committee against ceding its powers to an individual or allowing any form of imposition because doing so would cost the party dearly.

He said, “As professionals within the PDP, we are totally against the weakening of our party’s chances in the forthcoming governorship election in Cross River State.

“While, it is the constitutional right of every man and woman who has attended the universal suffrage age and status to run for elections, as a group, we will never yield the PDP a defeat in the next governorship election.”

In Gombe State, another group petitioned the PDP National Working Committee over what it called the erroneous provisional clearance given to a governorship aspirant, Ardo Babayo Kumo, to contest the party’s Governorship primary.

The group, Ethnic and Corporate Compliance Institute of Nigeria, in a petition signed by Abubakar Balarabe, alleged among other things that the aspirant was a serving Federal Permanent Secretary, as at the time of his clearance.

While demanding for the disqualification of the aspirant, the petitioners said, “The Chairman is invited to note that Dr. Ardo Babayo Kumo is a civil servant and currently the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Niger Delta.

“It is most pertinent for the party to observe that this may lead to the disqualification of the party and the candidate as he cannot be validly nominated being a civil servant as at the time of the issuance of the certificate of clearance.”

2023: Don seeks cancellation of fraudulent congresses

The Director, Abuja School of Social and Political Thoughts, Prof. Sam Amadi, has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), not to recognise congresses conducted in breach of statutory rules and regulations.  

Amadi noted that congresses conducted by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and the main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), especially within the last four weeks.

This was contained in a letter he wrote to the election management body. Amadi, an Associate Professor of law, cautioned against INEC reneging on its constitutional duties enshrined in the extant laws governing the regulation of political parties’ primaries in Nigeria.

He said,  “…the apparent violation of some of the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022 by the political parties, compels the Commission to intervene to protect the core principles of electoral democracy as enshrined in the constitution and the new electoral law.

“It is important to stress the importance of the new electoral law in helping to establish democracy and accountable governance in Nigeria.

“It holds the key to reversing the political capture of electoral democracy in Nigeria by a few political stalwarts, who have turned party leadership into a weapon against the democratic freedoms of Nigerians and the consolidation of democracy.”
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