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Atiku Campaign Wants PDP Screening Committee Made Public

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ABUJA, Dec 22, (THEWILL) - The Director General of the Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organization, Senator (Dr.) Ben Obi today called on the leadership of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party to as a matter of urgency name the members of the Presidential Screening Committee early so that Nigerians would know whether such persons are of good character and integrity to carry out the weighty assignment.

Obi stated this while briefing the press on recent events in the country’s political climate. While saluting the courage and steadfastness of all stakeholders - political parties, state governors, civil society and the media - in pressuring the National Assembly into aborting the unnecessary process of further amending the 2010 Electoral Act, Senator Obi said the collective stand caused the reversion to the original document which has been hailed by Nigerians as a significant step towards ensuring that the 2011 general elections are free, fair, transparent and credible.

“We salute the humility of the members of the National Assembly in heeding wise counsel through the mature course of action they eventually took. We believe that removing the extraneous materials and toxic clauses in the proposed amendment will deepen our democracy and enhance internal democratic practices in the management of the affairs of political parties,” he said.Obi however expressed concern that since the Senate threw out the proposed amendments to the Electoral act, Nigerians have remained in the dark about the status of the 2010 Electoral Act in view of the secrecy that apparently surrounds the work of the Joint Harmonization Committees of the two Chambers, urging Nigerians to remain ever vigilant to ensure that the deleted materials do not re-surface in the final version of the Act.

He also urged the National Assembly to finalize its work and publish the 2010 Electoral Act that will conform to the Act already in existence.

He said the Atiku Campaign Organization salutes the NEC of the PDP in the far-reaching, progressive decision it reached during its 54th regular meeting, in spite of the spirited attempts by desperate politicians to subvert the will of party members. Some of these decisions, according to Senator Obi include the order of the primary elections in the party and the format of the Presidential primary election slated for January 13, 2011, which clearly specifies that the primary election will be conducted simultaneously in the 36 states and the FCT on the same day.

He said however that media reports said surreptitious attempts are being made to confuse the situation and create an un-warranted impression that the presidential primary election of the party will only be held in a central location in Abuja and urged the NWC of the PDP to dispel these rumours and further affirm the decision reached by the NEC on this matter.

He said his campaign Organization is of the view that 22 days to the PDP Presidential Primary Election, the party is yet to constitute the panel to screen its presidential aspirants and invite various campaigns to a discussion on the format and modalities of the primary election. “We urge the party to constitute this committee as quickly as possible so that party members and indeed the generality of Nigerians, will get to know who these individuals who will be discharging a tremendous obligation are, their mural integrity, uprightness and suitability for the job. We also urge the party to extend an invitation to the various presidential campaign organizations to a meeting on the issues raised above and factor in their suggestions in the weighty decisions it is bound to take,” he said.

He said his campaign organization is proud of the records of a disciplined, focused and issue based engagement with the delegates and Nigerians as a whole, just as its opponents are still wallowing in the unbecoming practice of smear campaign, fear-mongering, slander, character assassination and sheer pedestrian mischief. “We are not perturbed in the least by sponsored petitions and oracular predictions about disqualifying aspirants by politicians who are frightened about the prospects of a democratic contest. We are also not bothered that the NTA and a few other electronic media organs have been reduced to personal property of incumbent power authorities and that seditious materials daily drench the airwaves, with the NBC turning a blind eye”, he said.

Obi said further that Nigerians know the authors of the script advertorials and documentaries in question, understand their under handed motivations and have already exposed them for what they are, the desperate strategy of a failing campaign which cannot defend its record in office, and is thus hiding behind low level, negative campaign to mask its obvious non-performance.