"BRING BACK JONATHAN!!!!!"

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ABUJA—AHEAD of his formal re-election declaration, President Goodluck Jonathan has been adopted as the sole presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by the National Working Committee (NEC) and Board of Trustees (BoT) of the party. The party’s governors’ forum had on Wednesday endorsed the President for a second term. In essence, President Jonathan will stand as sole aspirant at the PDP’s December 6 presidential primaries unless another aspirant emerges. The Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido, who earlier vowed to challenge Jonathan for the PDP ticket has shelved his ambition and toed the path of other PDP governors. NEC’s endorsement Rising from its 66th meeting, yesterday, at the Wadata Plaza National Secretariat of the party, the party’s highest body, NEC, explained that the move became imperative because no serious party would change a winning team like President Jonathan’s, who has performed with his Transformation Agenda which has changed the face and well-being of Nigerians. As prelude to the NEC’s adoption of the president, yesterday, Governor of Niger State and Chairman, Northern States Governors’ Forum, NSGF, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, who spoke first and on behalf of all the PDP governors, told NEC members that at the meeting of the governors held on Wednesday at the Akwa Ibom Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, the governors had unanimously adopted President Jonathan as the party’s sole candidate for next year’s election without any dissenting voice. Former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Speaker of House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, were absent at yesterday’s meeting. Tambuwal was allegedly said to be preparing to dump the PDP. I’m humbled, I won’t disappoint you –Jonathan Meanwhile, President Jonathan who accepted the endorsement by all organs of the party which culminated in that of NEC, said he was really humbled, overwhelmed and promised not to disappoint the PDP governors, the leaders, stakeholders and members of the party. He said: “Let me really say that the events of yesterday, starting with BoT meeting last night and what has just happened today, with the various motions adopting me as sole candidate of the party has really humbled me. “Let me specially thank our governors that initiated that action, let me thank members of BoT, let me thank the Senate President and members of the National Assembly, let me appreciate the PDP women for their position and the NEC, because no matter what anybody does, without the NEC, you will be on your own. “Adopting me as the sole candidate of the party has humbled me; I am totally overwhelmed. When the governors came up in a jointly signed paper, though House of Representatives started it, governors’ intervention was like an atomic bomb. I commend all departments of the NEC. “I am so overwhelmed that I lack words to express myself. I leave it for another day. For today, for you to have that kind of confidence, I am extremely challenged. It means that whatever we had done in the past three years, we’ll triple it. That is the only way Nigerians will appreciate it. I promise I will not disappoint you.” Lamido steps down There was, however, a mild drama when Governor Aliyu called on Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State to stand up and join him and soon after, Lamido stood up as a sign of agreeing with other governors and jettisoned his ambition for now to support President Jonathan’s return bid. The hall erupted with shouts of PDP! PDP!! by members of NEC, just as Governor Aliyu boasted that Rivers, Nasarawa, Kwara, Sokoto and Adamawa states would be brought to the party in next year’s election. Soon after Governor Aliyu spoke for the governors, former Deputy National Chairman of the party and member of the party’s BoT, Alhaji Shuaibu Oyedokun, who was mandated to speak on behalf of the BoT, also announced that the BoT at its Wednesday’s meeting unanimously voted for Jonathan’s continuity and as the party’s sole candidate. BoT, NASS caucus, PDP women speak According to him, the BoT took the decision unanimously, willingly and joyfully because of the need for him to further consolidate on his achievements. President of the Senate, Senator David Mark who doubles as Chairman of the National Assembly said that as an advocate of continuity especially for a performing sitting president, it has become imperative for Jonathan to continue, a reason the National Assembly PDP caucus made up of both the Senate and the House of Representatives agreed that President Jonathan should not only continue, but should be the only candidate to be presented at the convention by the party for the 2015 presidential election. For the women, Ambassador Justina Eze, said PDP women passed a resolution that the president should continue and be the party’s candidate because of his concern for women, adding that there was no vacancy in Aso Rock. How PDP BoT endorsed Jonathan On Wednesday night, the PDP BoT unanimously endorsed the President as its sole candidate for the 2015 presidential polls, adding that it was done to reward hard work as well as for continuity. At its meeting at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja which started at about 8:16pm and ended at about 11:30pm, the BoT also approved the time-table and guidelines for the party’s primaries and national convention for the 2015 polls. The decision of the BOT, according to former Minister of Information, Professor Jerry Gana was an affirmation of the position of the PDP governors who had earlier taken such position and presented same to BOT of the party. Endorsement motion Former acting National Chairman of PDP, and past Minister of Defence, Dr. Bello Haliru Mohammed, moved the motion, which was seconded by former governor of old Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo, who said: “It is difficult to change a winning team because this team has done so well. I think it is just fair that I second the motion that Dr. Ebele Jonathan be returned as the sole candidate of the PDP.” PDP National chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, however, put the motion to vote and the NEC unanimously adopted it without any dissenting voice. Speaking after, Mu’azu who disclosed that the convention of the party has been fixed for December 6 and 7, where his position would be ratified as well as that of the National Secretary and the National Auditor with minor amendments in the party’s constitution. PDP approves guidelines for primaries lPresidential aspirants to pick forms for N22 million; Governorship aspirants N11 million lSenators, N4 million, Reps, N2 million, State House of Assembly, N1 Million President Jonathan and any other presidential aspirant will pay a total of N 22 million to collect the Expression of Interest and nomination forms of the PDP. This is one of the guidelines for the 2014 general elections approved by the National Executive Committee, NEC, yesterday. The NEC approved that the Presidential election shall be by Special Convention using the modified open secret ballot system otherwise known as open secret and delegates shall emerge as provided for in the constitution of the party or the Electoral Guidelines of the party. According to the 39-page document obtained by Vanguard, yesterday, for the presidential primary, the Expression of Interest Form Code PD002/P would go for N2 million and the Nomination form Code PD003/P would be purchased for N20 million, totalling N22 million. To qualify for the primaries, a presidential aspirant must be nominated by 60 persons from at least two-thirds of all the states of the Federation who shall be registered voters in their local government areas and also registered members of the party. Governorship aspirants will maintain the N1m for Expression of Interest form Code PD002/G and N10 million for nomination form Code PD003/G and a gubernatorial aspirant must be nominated by 45 persons. According to the approved guidelines, the Presidential Screening Committee shall consist of Chairman, Secretary and eight other members; Presidential Appeal Panel shall consist of 12 members of the NWC and six from the Board of Trustees, BoT, one from each zone of the country with the National Chairman presiding. Meanwhile, the NEC said government appointees would not be delegates at the special national convention. According to the guidelines, to be a senatorial aspirant, such a person must purchase the Expression of Interest form for N500, 000.00 and Nomination form for N4 million. An aspirant to the House of Representatives will purchase the Expression of Interest form for N500,000.00 and nomination form for N2 million while for the State House of Assembly, an aspirant would pay N200,000.00 for the Expression of Interest form and N1 million for the nomination form. Female aspirants, in line with the tradition of the party, will not pay for the nomination forms. According to the guidelines, 15 per cent of income realised from the sale of forms, shall be remitted to the state chapters of the party and five per cent to the zones. BoT members who dump party can’t come back until after 4 years Meanwhile, NEC at its meeting, Vanguard gathered, agreed that any BoT member who dumps the party would need four years before he or she could be re-admitted into the party. Roll call Party chieftains at the NEC were President Jonathan; Vice President Namadi Sambo; Senate President Mark; Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha; National Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, Deputy National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus and other members of the National Working Committee, NWC. Also present were Governors Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Sullivan Chime (Enugu), Theodore Orji (Abia), Garba Umar (Taraba), Muktar Shagari (deputy governor, Sokoto), Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa), Jonah Jang (Plateau), Ramalan Yero (Kaduna), Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta), Umar Fintiri (Acting governor Adamawa), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Idris Wada (Kogi), Gabriel Suswan (Benue). Others were Secretary, PDP BoT, Senator Walid Jubrin; former speakers, House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole and Umar Ghali Naaba; former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu; National Vice Chairman, South South, Dr. Cairo Ojuigboh and other national vice chairmen; Chief Dan Orbih and other state chairmen; Political Adviser to the president, Professor Rufai Alkali; Iyom Josephine Anenih; Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma- Egba; Senator James Manager; Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu; Senator Hope Uzodinma, Mrs Ifeoma Agbomah; Erelu Olusola Obada; Alhaji Maina Waziri; Senator Mohammadu Magoro and Senator Bode Olajumoke among others.

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