Warns against candidates’ imposition
PDP convention holds March 24
IT is an issue President Goodluck Jonathan could no longer gloss over. Three years to the end of his tenure, his appointees, who are eyeing elective offices at both the federal and state levels, are into open and secret meetings as well as campaigning for such offices.
Their actions are believed to have slowed down the pace of governance and the targets set by the President under his Transformation Agenda, seemingly becoming elusive.
And yesterday in Abuja, the President warned that public office holders who are overheating or distracting his administration through their scheming for elective positions in 2015 would be fired.
Jonathan said he would not hesitate to remove such appointees if his admonition was ignored or treated with levity.
He also warned leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against the imposition of candidates on the members as the party prepares for its congresses and national convention.
The President, who spoke at the 58th meeting of the PDP National Executive Committee (NEC) in Abuja yesterday, told public servants not to give the impression that everything was about elections. He asserted that appointees, who performed well in office, could always get the nod of the electorate.
He said: “Let me also plead with those who are interested in the general elections in 2015. I have noticed that some people have just started some meetings. It is too early to hold such meetings. We can see it in the electoral laws and the nation’s constitution. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) normally declares it (race) open. The idea is that people, who were elected into the offices, as governors and President, should be given time to work.
“In a situation whereby a governor has not even stayed for a year, the President has also not stayed for one year and you start harassing people for 2015 is another way of saying everything is about election.
“There must be time to work. At the federal level if you are holding a political office and I notice that you are involved in meetings for 2015 elections, I will ask you to leave and concentrate on your meetings because that is too early. Government must not be distracted. Nigerians are interested in what we put on ground for them not how many elections we conduct and win,’’ he said.
On the PDP congresses and the national convention re-scheduled for next month, the President warned the party leaders against the imposition of candidates at all levels. He also charged them to allow the choice of the people to prevail. .
According to the President, whatever happens in the transition process of the PDP next month would determine the shape of the 2015 elections.
“Let us begin to move from the culture of imposition because if we elect those who will lead us well, we are sure that the primaries or general elections in 2015 will also be democratic and of course, the general elections will be free and fair. And as a party, we’ve been able to develop that culture. The presidential election is the number one election in the country and every party will want to produce the president because of the status that goes with the ruling party,’’ he noted.
Jonathan also tasked members on unity noting that if the PDP performed well, Nigerians would continue to vote for its members. .
“I plead that the unity of the party and the cooperation of all of us is paramount and we should not fight one another because it will not translate to the dividends of democracy. For PDP to be regarded as a party that has succeeded that means that the governors will perform, the President and the states will perform. What Nigerians want are good roads, health facilities, power and so on, not people wearing boxing gloves and doing shadow boxing in different forms,’’ he stated.
Jonathan asked the party leadership to sanction erring members irrespective of their status, stressing that the African National Congress (ANC) did it in South Africa. He observed that when he arrived at the PDP premises, he saw Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment (SURE) documents being distributed at the venue of the NEC and directed the leadership of the party to withdraw them because the government is still repackaging the policy in line with the agreement it reached with organised Labour.
Briefing journalists after the meeting, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Prof. Rufai Ahmed Alkali, said NEC approved the extension of the tenure of the National Working Committee (NWC) by one month. The tenure of the NWC ought to end on March 8, 2012 but it will now terminate on March 31, 2012 after the national convention where an executive committee would emerge.
“NEC also unanimously approved a slight extension of tenure of the current NEC to terminate at the end of March 2012. Similarly, NEC approved that the tenure of office of ward, local government, states and zonal executive committees to terminate in line with the revised timetable for congresses and national convention,’’ he said.
Explaining the rational for the new timetable, PDP Acting National Chairman, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, said it was necessitated by the ruling of the Supreme Court, which annulled the extension of the tenure of the governors of Adamawa, Bayelsa, Cross River, Kogi and Sokoto states.
The meeting was attended by all the PDP governors, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and then national chairman of the party, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo.
Another NEC meeting will hold Wednesday next week to address the amendment to the party’s constitution.