A presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Jhalil Tafawa-Balewa, has withdrawn from the race and opted to support President Goodluck Jonathan for the party’s ticket.
The PDP presidential aspirant, who is the son of a former Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, stated this in Abuja on Thursday during a press conference organised by a former Federal Commissioner for Information, Chief Edwin Clark.
The aspirant, who had earlier paid the mandatory N22m to the party, was initially denied the party’s nomination form when he approached its leadership.
The party informed him that only one nomination form was printed and it was meant for President Jonathan, who had been adopted by the National Executive Committee of the party as the sole candidate for the 2015 presidential election.
Following his insistence alongside another female presidential aspirant on the platform of the PDP, and widow of Chief MKO Abiola, Zainab Duke-Abiola, the leadership of the ruling part eventually threw the race open to all interested aspirants.
Before Tafawa-Balewa spoke, Clark said, “I wish to inform you that I have succeeded in intervening to make peace between two of my sons, Dr. Jhalil Tafawa Balewa and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
“Dr. Jhalil Tafawa Balewa had indicated his intention to contest the presidential primary on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party against the decision of the party to give President Goodluck Jonathan the right of first refusal.
“Unfortunately, this issue was to generate unnecessary public distraction as detractors jumped to capitalise on it to make unfounded commentaries.
“The relationship between Dr. Jhalil Tafawa Balewa and President Goodluck Jonathan dates back to 2005 when the latter was the deputy governor of Bayelsa State. The same relationship continued in Abuja when Dr. Goodluck Jonathan became the President.
“In deference to their old ties, Dr. Jhalil, has formally withdrawn his aspiration to contest the presidential election in the 2015 general elections”.
On the N22m fee paid for expression of interest form by Jhalil, the Ijaw leader said it was a sacrifice for friendship.