TheNigerianVoice Online Radio Center


By NBF News
Click for Full Image Size

L-R: President Jonathan, Bukola Saraki
Presidential aspirants on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party may be asked to pay a nomination fee of N10m each.

Those for the governorship poll may pay N5m; senatorial, N3m; House of Representatives, N2.5m; and state Houses of Assembly, N1m.

The nomination fees are contained in the proposed guidelines drafted by the members of the PDP National Working Committee.

Meanwhile, sources told THE PUNCH on Tuesday that two PDP presidential aspirants - Kwara State Governor Bukola Saraki and a former National Security Adviser, Lt.-Gen. Aliyu Gusau (retd.) - were 'surrogates' of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida.

The sources said they were drafted into the race to 'distract' President Goodluck Jonathan.

The guidelines, a copy of which was obtained on Tuesday by our correspondent, are expected to be ratified by the National Executive Committee of the party at its emergency meeting in Abuja on Wednesday (today).

The NWC members met for several hours at the party's national headquarters in Abuja on Monday and Tuesday.

After their meeting on Tuesday, they went to the Presidential Villa to confer with President Jonathan.

Although the details of what they discussed with Jonathan were not known as at press time, it was gathered that the President was briefed about the NEC meeting.

It was further learnt that the agenda of the NEC meeting included the application for a waiver by a former Vice- President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. Abubakar is seeking the waiver to enable him contest the presidential primaries having left the PDP for the Action Congress in 2007. He returned to the ruling party a few months ago.

The proposals in the guidelines show that the PDP is favourably disposed to the commencement of the primaries with the National Assembly primaries.

The presidential primaries are expected to be followed by that of the governorship and the state Houses of assembly primaries.

Although some PDP governors are believed to be rooting for the conduct of the governorship primaries first, a source said the party would stick with the election guidelines issued by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

The INEC timetable indicates that the National Assembly election will hold on January 15. It will be followed by the presidential election on January 22 and governorship and State Assembly elections on January 29.

Also on Tuesday, THE PUNCH leant in Abuja that the involvement of Saraki, who is also the chairman of the Nigerian Governors' Forum, and Gusau, in the race was to make Jonathan fight for the PDP ticket on several fronts and, thus, pay less attention to the campaign of Babangida.

A top PDP chieftain from the North, who disclosed this to our correspondent in Abuja, described the two men as Babangida's 'surrogates.'

The politician, who asked not to be named in order to protect his political capital in his home state, added that the plan was that Saraki, being the NGF chairman , would be able to win over some of the forum's members that are supporting Jonathan's ambition.

According to him, those who convinced the governor to enter the race believe that his involvement would create a sort of panic in Jonathan's camp.

He said, 'The Saraki issue is a diversionary tactics aimed at confusing the camp of the President.

'I can also tell you that all the noise about Gusau is also diversionary. They are all surrogates and I can tell you authoritatively that they are all surrogates.

'They know that they cannot go far in the race, but are ready to serve as spoilers. That is just it. The main man is IBB.' The other source, a senior intelligence operative, confirmed the former dictator's gameplan and added that the deal between Babangida and Saraki was sealed during the governor's recent visit to the ex-dictator Minna home.

Saraki had on Monday informed Jonathan and Vice-President Namadi Sambo of his intention to contest the presidential primaries of the PDP.

His presidential ambition is already causing ripples among the governors, who have accused him of politicising the NGF.