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JONATHAN CONFIDENT, I'LL WIN PDP PRIMARIES

By NBF News
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Feelers from the inner caucus of the President Goodluck Jonathan campaign organisation indicate that he is confident of picking the sole presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

A confidant of the number one citizen, who spoke to Sunday Sun yesterday in a telephone interview, expressed confidence that regardless of the permutations being read into Jonathanís endorsement by 21 governors of the party, he was sure of picking the presidential ticket.

President Goodluck Jonathan is not worried about the PDP primaries.

Whichever way it is ordered, he will get the ticket. The presidential ticket is as good as being in the kitty. Those who are worried know themselves. Jonathan has been around long enough to know how to play the right politics and he knows his onions. The President is sure of both the flag and the ticket of his party. Those were the confident words of a close confidant of President Jonathan who spoke yesterday in a telephone interview with Sunday Sun.

He dismissed claims that the partyís governorsí endorsement of Jonathan during the PDP NEC meeting was a dummy. According to the source, the stories doing the round that the president was virtually on his knees were coming from the camp of those who were shocked by the 21 governorsí endorsement.

You know how it is with a drowning man. They are just grabbing at straws. That open endorsement by the governors was like a final nail on their coffin of defeat. They were not expecting it. As far as they were concerned, they thought they had sealed the deal with some governors to cross over to their side and abandon the President. They are peddling all those stories and insinuating all kinds of things because it doesnít look like the nine wise menës choice will sail through. We sympathise with them but the PDP ticket is Jonathanís.

The source also pointed out that since it is the delegates that are produced at the states that will go on to vote at the national convention and the presidential primaries, Jonathan had nothing to fear. He maintained that the delegates from the states would vote for Jonathan at the January 13 primaries, which, according to him, was the real fear of the opposition within the party.

Prodded to give his own account of how the NEC meeting went, our source said it was actually the Niger State governor, Babangida Aliyu, that raised the issue of the governors supporting the President, which the other governors agreed to. Former PDP chairman, Ahmadu Ali, thereafter brought up the issue of the tenure of governors and the President. Sunday Sun gathered that Jonathan, who had always been an advocate of single term tenures, had no problem with the arrangement.

It was reliably gathered that one of the first things the President will do as soon as he is sworn in will be to send an Executive Bill to the National Assembly to seek for the amendment of the Constitution to provide for a single term of seven years for Presidents. According to Sunday Sun findings, he had always been in support of a single-term tenure since his days as Vice President to late President Umoru YaríAdua. The duo were said to have presented a proposal to the effect to the erstwhile Vincent Ogbulafor-led PDP but somehow it never saw the light of day.

ìThe President is committed to the single term arrangement and he will bow out in 2015. There will be no second term for him and he will not be a beneficiary of the seven-year tenure in the proposed Executive Bill. He has always been an advocate of a single term and therefore it is not true that the governors imposed it on him. That is why he will go beyond just saying it to sending an Executive Bill.

As far as this President is concerned, what the nation currently operates is a farce. Once a president is sworn in, he works for the first two years, maybe a little more in the third year. Thereafter, he starts fighting and lobbying for a return ticket, leaving governance to suffer. That is what this President wants to end with the help of the National Assembly.

Following the intrigues and high drama at the Thursday meeting of the ruling partyís National Executive Council meeting in Abuja, there had been widespread reports that President Jonathan virtually begged the 21 governors, who openly endorsed him in exchange, for a promise to do only one term in office. Six governors and the 844 delegates of the North West zone of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have endorsed the Jonathan-Sambo ticket ahead of the party's presidential primaries.

The Katsina State Governor, Ibrahim Shema, announced the number of delegates present. Before the endorsement, which took place in Kaduna, President Goodluck Jonathan said: 'Today is yet another day to tell you that we are still interested and to thank you and assure you that when you give us your mandate, we will not let you down.'

Jonathan also stated that his administration would ensure that every part of the country was carried along and developed at the same pace across the country.

'Nigeria is one. We have a common destiny, a common interest. What affects one part of the country affects the other because the country is one and our interest is the same. 'We must work together to develop the country, to create jobs and wealth for our people. Next year, the country is going to conduct general election where people will be contesting for various elections. It is proper to come and sensitize you and solicit for your support,' Jonathan said.

In his opening remarks, the North West Zonal Coordinator and Katsina Governor, Ibrahim Shema, said the zone was the largest and the most populous in Nigeria in terms of registered voters and delegates and the largest in accommodation of culture and religion as well as support for this country since independence.

'This nation has continued to play important role in the process of unity and ensuring faith among nations in battle and these are the same principles for which our President stands for. Speeches over, Senator Sahabi Ya'u Kaura, a serving legislator from Zamfara State, moved the motion for the adoption of the Jonathan-Sambo ticket and said the President had done creditably well to deserve another opportunity to move the country forward.

His motion was seconded by Honourable Saudatu Sani, representing Lere federal constituency of Kaduna State.