ANENIH WARNS DELEGATES:VOTE FOR ATIKU, WE FISH YOU OUT
Chief Tony Anenih
Any delegate from his native South-South geo-political zone who votes against President Goodluck Jonathan at the Peoples Democratic Party's (PDP) presidential primary elections in January will be traced by hand written data on the ballot papers, former chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees Chief Tony Anenih warned in Port Harcourt yesterday.
Anenih issued the dire warning in the presence of President Jonathan at the South-South PDP Delegates and Stakeholders' Conference which took place at the Banquette Hall of the Government House in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
He said, 'Anybody from the South-South who does not vote for this ticket (Jonathan/Sambo), God will not give him good luck. That day, we have the boxes, Bayelsa, Edo, so when you put your ballot paper inside the box, we will know what you have done. Akwa Ibom box will be counted,Jonathan, Jonathan, Jonathan! We don't expect to be here, not even by mistake, somebody is saying Atiku. We will identify the handwriting of that person. If it is a finger print, we will trace it. I hope you know I was a Commissioner of Police! We will trace that person who made that terrible mistake!'
He however said that for the fact that Jonathan's main election rival, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, had married a woman from the South, they will allow him to get one vote at the primaries.
'Because we belong to one party and Atiku is my in-law, make we givam one vote. If he wants us to come and take our daughter, we will go and take our daughter. There are more beautiful men in South-South to go marry them!'
Yesterday's statement was Anenih's second controversial one this month alone. He had said in Benin, Edo State, at a similar Jonathan/Sambo campaign rally that there will be no vacancy in Aso Rock by 2011. He had said the same thing in the build up to the 2003 elections, which were subsequently marred by irregularities.
Director General of the Jonathan/Sambo campaign organisation Dr Dalhatu Sarki Tafida told the delegates that Jonathan's bid to remain in Aso rock was facing threats from an aspirant from the North-East (clearly referring to Atiku). He even said Atiku may clinch the ticket, although he assured the President of victory.
'Mr. President you are lucky. You are lucky because these people you see here love you. However, there are challenges, challenges in the sense that other zones are competing with you. The north-west is competing with you. The North-East where we think we have an aspirant there is competing with you. Believe you me, the North- East (Atiku) may even beat you in the polling zone, therefore you should be careful! Be careful! (turning towards Jonathan). They are working very hard! They are working very hard. The aspirant from that zone may not get much, that one I can assure you. So keep your work. Make sure what you (delegates) promise is what you do!' Tafida said.
President Jonathan however said at the meeting that he has been assured by governors of securing votes of delegates at the primaries and he trusts in them.
He said, 'I am convinced by what my governors have told me about the position of the delegates of the South-South. I am convinced with what the traditional leaders have told me. So I will not campaign again. The Vice President and others have noted some of our strides. I would not want to talk about them because I hear it in the press that I am being challenged by someone for a debate, so I am reserving it for the day the PDP will call us for the debate. Even today I read it in Leadership [newspaper]. I know presidential debates all over the world are in two levels. A president represents a political party and tells the country how he will implement the programmes of that political party. That presupposes that a candidate must emerge first before you can go for a presidential debate. In the event a political party feels it will assess candidates vying for President under that political party, then that political party can arrange an internal discussion with the aspirant. In this case somebody challenges as if it is wrestling game.'
Vice President Namadi Sambo as well as the Governors of Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River and Akwa Ibom were present at the meeting while representatives of delegates from two other South South states— Edo and Delta—pledged their votes for the President.