2015: PDP hands over party structures to govs
The People's Democratic Party (PDP) governors have won a major victory over the party's leadership ahead of the 2015 elections by securing the nod of the Presidency to control the political structures in their states.
Under the new arrangement, which was wrapped up at the weekend, the outgoing governors have been given the go-ahead to pick their successors and also go for any other office of their choice provided they ensure maximum support for President Goodluck Jonathan's re-election bid.
The new development will enable no fewer than seven PDP governors pick their successors and also go to the Senate next year.
A top PDP official told Vanguard, yesterday that President Jonathan directed the National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Adamu Muazu, to hand over the political structures in the respective states to the governors.
The development, which has effectively strengthened the governors against all other contenders in their respective states, is however, against the party's earlier position to allow a level playing field for all aspirants to contest the election.
Muazu, it was learnt, had maintained that position until Friday afternoon when the Presidency reportedly asked him to allow the governors to have their way so as to give the President 100 per cent support during his election.
The national chairman was reported to have insisted that the party structures should be managed by the national leadership of the party to ensure that every aspirant had a sense of equity and justice.
Muazu had agreed with the governors to either choose their successors or go to the Senate rather than take the two simultaneously in order not to generate bad blood among the other stakeholders in the respective states.
Powers of a governor
However, the Presidency is said to have been warned by political strategists to reverse the position of the National Working Committee (NWC) headed by Muazu to win the support of the governors described as the key determinants of his victory.
The presidential directive may have been responsible for the freedom given to most of the governors to decide on the delegate lists of their respective states to be used in choosing candidates for the different elections slated for next year.
President Jonathan had two weeks ago alluded to the enormous powers of governors in deciding the fate of the President in presidential primary election.
He said: 'The PDP constitution as currently practised gives a lot of room for the governors to influence the election of the President. So, if a governor who claims to support you cannot give you at least 70 per cent of the votes, then you should know that that governor does not mean well for you.'
Rat race in states
In spite of the new directive from the Presidency, a host of the aspirants are upbeat on their chances ahead of the November 29 governorship primaries, if the number of those who have bought the PDP nomination forms is anything to go by.
The PDP national leadership last Thursday extended the sale of forms for governorship, senatorial, House of Representatives and state houses of assembly elections.
Vanguard gathered at the PDP National Secretariat that there was shortage of forms for aspirants, while the State Executive Committees were alleged to be hoarding the forms, only to return them unused at the end of the exercise.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, last Thursday announced that the National Working, NWC, had extended the deadline for the sale of nomination forms for all categories of aspirants, which according to the party, ought to have closed on October 30. He added that sale of forms will now end this week.