Last minute campaign: Jonathan, begs lawmakers

By NBF News
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President Goodluck Jonathan
Ahead of the Peoples Democratic Party presidential primaries, the two main contenders for the ticket of the party, President Goodluck Jonathan, and former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, have stepped up their campaigns through personal telephone calls to members of the National Assembly and known delegates.

This is even as governors on the platform of the party are tightening the noose on the control of delegates from their respective states to ensure effective control of the delegates and to prevent a situation in which aspirants and campaigners would break into the ranks of the delegates with the view of gaining access and control.

Abubakar was said to have commenced the one-to-one personal telephone calls and visits to some Senators immediately after the outcome of the primaries, congratulating those that won just as he expressed sympathy with those that lost their primaries.

This was believed to have been followed with text messages in which the former vice president requested recipients of his messages to respond with a 'yes' if they agreed with his campaign and proposal, which was not clearly defined.

It was gathered that it was not long after Atiku finished his calls and text messages that President Jonathan's calls were equally received by some members of the National Assembly canvassing support from them ahead of tomorrow's primaries .

President Jonathan was said to have appealed to the National Assembly members to choose him ahead of his rivals.

Some of the President's aides also made efforts to disabuse the minds of the lawmakers many of whom failed to get return ticket, that he abandoned them to their fate.

It was not immediately known if the aggrieved lawmakers would be swayed by the overtures being made to them to support the president

A member of the House of Representatives from one of the North-central states told Daily Sun in confidence that President Jonathan found it difficult to talk boldly on what he really wanted as he could not freely converse on phone.

'I think, the president is not too sure of the kind of support he now enjoys from the members of the National Assembly, following the outcome of party primaries in which about half of PDP Senators and members of the House of Representatives failed to secure return ticket.

'The development showed that President Jonathan is only concerned about pursuance of his interest and not that of any person yet we stabilise the polity for him. He certainly knows that his stand to ditch members of the National Assembly for the governors was certainly not fair and good enough,' he opined.

Meanwhile, members of the National Integrity Group in the House of Representatives that drummed support for the emergence of Jonathan as acting president through the adoption of 'Doctrine of Necessity,' were at daggers drawn with some members of the Jonathan/Sambo Campaign Organisation and others in the presidency, who they believed shortchanged them over some financial gifts sent to them before the PDP primaries.

Daily Sun gathered that some cash assistance and gifts to the tune of $10,000 per member of the Integrity Group were allegedly sent to them but at point of delivery, the members were instead given $7,000, which they turned down obviously having knowledge of the amount they were expected to receive.

The monies were never returned to the members, who had to go for their party primaries until Tuesday when those assigned with the responsibility of giving out the cash to the members returned with $15,000 for each of the members to gain their support for tomorrow's primaries.

The development angered the members, who wanted to address a press conference to denounce their support for President Jonathan but were prevailed upon not to do so owing to the political meaning that might be read into such a move.

It was, however, gathered that since some of the members of the National Assembly, who lost primary election had defected to other parties, then strength of members of the National Assembly is not enough to be a deciding factor if the governors kept their promise for President Jonathan who was believed to have the odds in his favour so far.

Daily Sun equally gathered that members of the Jonathan/Sambo Campaign Organisation, particularly those at the directorate level, usually cornered most materials and cash for campaign to themselves without reaching out to those for whom the items and cash support were meant.

The development was believed to have discouraged most supporters who saw them as self-serving rather than working for their principal,who entrusted them with so much but with result not commensurate with the support they received from some governors and friends of the president.

Daily Sun's findings also indicated that despite the incumbent factor, President Jonathan might still have to reach out to other delegates if he was desirous to clinch the ticket with an appreciable margin.