PDP NATIONAL CONVENTION: PARTY CHIEFTAINS IN BILL BOARDS, POSTERS WAR IN ABUJA
Ahead of the Peoples' Democratic Party national convention scheduled for March 24, 2012, by the party's National Executive Committee, stalwarts of the Party, who have declared interest in the race for the National Working Committee, the party organ saddled with the-day-today responsibility of administering the party, have been trying to put themselves in the consciousness of the party faithful. The Federal Capital City is now adorned by their posters and bill boards.
Leading aspirants for the office of national chairman of the party, are former governor of old Gongola State, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, and former presidential adviser on National Assembly matters, Senator Abba Aji, from Borno State. Other contenders are Professor Ahmed Rufai Alkali and Dr. Musa Babayo, incumbent national publicity secretary and national secretary of the party, respectively. Alkali is from Gombe State while Babayo is from Bauchi State. Mallam Isa Yuguda, the Bauchi State Governor is believed to be galvanising support for Dr. Musa Babayo, among the serving PDP governors.
Also in the race are former chairman of defunct Grassroot Democratic Movement, Alhaji Gambo Lawan; former agriculture minister, Adamu Bello, former governor of Bauchi State, Alhaji Adamu Muazu and a former minister of state in the Ministry of Housing and Environment in the Second Republic, Ibrahim Bunu. Others are Alhaji Shettima Mustapha, Ambassador Adamu Waziri and Ibrahim Birma.
The posters of the aspirants for the various offices can be seen splashed on walls at the Wadata Plaza, the party's national secretariat, located at Wuse, Zone 5 area of the Abuja metropolis, its adjoining buildings and several locations within the federal capital city. The bill boards are in different locations but only two of the aspirants are engaged in the billboards war: Babayo and Abba Aji.
The roads to the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja, are also adorned by Aba Aji's billboards. 'Posters, bill boards don't win elections in PDP.''
While the fate of contenders for the other offices will be decided at the party's zonal congresses, the national convention to hold at Eagles Square will decide who will emerge as the national secretary and national chairman of the PDP.
Even as the Presidency has denied that it had anointed a candidate for the office, Daily Sun findings revealed that President Goodluck Jonathan had settled for Tukur, as the president's foot soldiers were the ones, who signed Tukur's nomination form, which has been returned to the party's headquarter.
The names of those who endorsed the nomination forms, according to Daily Sun findings, cut across the geo-political zones in the country.
From the South-south were former chairman of PDP Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih, and Chief Edwin Clark while two former chairmen of the party, Senator Barnabas Gemade and Dr. Ahmadu Ali, from the North-central zone equally endorsed the form, along with former information minister, Professor Jerry Gana.
From the North-west were Alhaji Lawal Kaita and Abdullahi Gumel while Senator Abdul Ningi, Deputy Senate Leader and former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Bayero Nafada, endorsed the form from North-east.
From the South-east were former Senate president and the Secretary to Government, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim; former special adviser to President Olusegun Obasanjo on domestic affairs, Senator Andy Uba, and former aviation minister, Chief Kema Chikwe.
He also revealed to newsmen that he had sought the blessing of President Jonathan on his ambition to lead the party. 'I have discussed my ambition with the president but I will not tell you what we discussed.''
Dr. Babayo, another aspirant for the office feigned ignorance of speculation that a particular aspirant had got the blessing of the Presidency for the exalted position but further gave indication that he would be willing to submit to the decision of the party elders.
'Well, as the national secretary of this party now, I am not aware of the consensus move but if PDP, like you know very well, we talk to ourselves, we dialogue. No problem is big before our leadership, even if it looks very big to those outside the fold.
'Should there be a move, at any point in time in the future to resolve any issue one way or the other, as leaders of this party, we would support it. We encourage all of us in the party to engage one another, to remain focused, remain faithful and loyal to this party and it is my utmost belief that whatever decision will come out at the end will be a decision that will bless this party and our dear country.
'As a patriotic, loyal and committed party member, I will do whatever is required to make our party better, to make our party more efficient.
'Consensus in itself is an election. When people agree voluntarily to negotiate, that's part of the power game and that's election and the outcome, at least, will make everybody happier and better because Nigeria will win, PDP will win.'.
A member of the party told Daily Sun, with measured cynicism that national officers of the party had always emerged through imposition, in the name of consensus candidates.
'Well, it is good to print posters and erect billboards but they don't win elections in PDP. The March 24 national convention will not be an exception. Delegates are only coming here to clap and enjoy themselves.''