2015: Anenih calls for automatic tickets for Jonathan, governors, others

By The Citizen

The chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Tony Anenih Firday canvassed that in order to avoid the wrangling that characterised party primaries especially for executive positions, incumbent president and governors who have performed well in office should be granted automatic tickets to contest election.

In a message at a dinner organised by the President for 'PDP family'  at the banquet hall of the presidential Villa, Chief Anenih said the internal problem of the party must be tackled urgently if the party wants Nigerians to take it serious.

According to him, the problems going on in the Nigeria governors forum which has two chairmen  who are members of the PDP ' is an embarrassing situation which must be urgently addressed.

'I believe the challenges facing the party are temporary and at the end of the day, we will come out stronger. But if we want to continue to enjoy the support of Nigerians; if we create tension in the country as a result of the problems in our party and expect Nigerians to continue to support and applaud us, it is not possible.

'As party leaders, we must commit ourselves to repositioning the party. It is an embarrassment what is happening in the Nigeria Governors Forum. It is an embarrassing situation which must be urgently addressed. The leadership of the party will not tolerate a situation where it will preside over a divided house.

'We need a strong party. If a party is strong and there is discipline and those who work hard are rewarded, our government will be stronger.

Our problems are not insurmountable. After the tour of the Board of Trustees, we will collate the opinions and make appropriate recommendations to the President as leader of the party. But what I would like to say is that the President and  governors who are seeking their second term should be given automatic tickets to contest the second term' he said.

He also suggested the extension of the same gesture to performing members of the National Assembly, even though their tenure or number of terms they can enjoy is not circumscribed by the Nigerian Constitution.

According to him, '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.'

He said his proposition was made against the backdrop of the incidents of rancour and disunity that have always attended the party primaries.

'Since this gathering is all-embracing and fully representative of our party membership nationwide, I would like to repeat what I said in Asaba about our party primaries.

'I did say that, over the years, our primaries have been the most serious sources of rancour and disunity in our ranks, and, that we usually invest so much resources and energy fighting ourselves in the primaries that should have gone into the larger battle against our political rivals.

'I had admonished that we could not continue this tradition of internal warfare and hope that we would have enough energy left to win elections,' he stated.

He said he had consequently proposed the evolvement of a new system of selecting flag-bearers at the presidential and governorship levels that would preserve the party's unity and reserve its energy and resources for the greater battle for political power.

He told the gathering that 'Soon after my address, I read in the media the positive reception and reactions to my proposition by some of our members who believed that one of the ways to do that should be the granting of automatic tickets to sitting presidents and governors who are seeking their second term

'I concur with them, provided that the sitting presidents and governors must have performed creditably with tangible results.  The same may apply to performing members of the National Assembly although they enjoy indefinite number of terms.

'The proposed arrangement would, I believe, help to forestall frictions and acrimony in the nomination process, in the overall interest of our party and the nation.'

He condemned what he called, the 'persistent negative profiling of the administration of President Jonathan' and urged PDP leaders to rally round and unite behind the president in the task of nation-building.