2015: Jonathan, PDP Governors Strike Deal
Governors under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), few days ago adopted President Goodluck Jonathan as the sole presidential candidate of the part for the 2015 election.
While that may not be entirely surprising given the antecedents of the governors and how they are amenable to take certain decisions, the capitulation of the governor of Jigawa state took many by surprise.
The governor seems to have been the only one that declared interest to challenge Jonathan for the PDP ticket, but to the chagrin of many, he did not only dropped his ambition. He also joined other governors in endorsing Goodluck Jonathan.
What may be responsible for that is not farfetched. The governors according to Punch decided to adopt Jonathan as the sole candidate for the part only after they were able to get some commitments from him.
It was gathered that the governors discussed openly the merits and demerits of supporting or not supporting the President for the 2015 race.
Two different sources who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity on Thursday night and Friday morning, said the governors extracted words of commitment from the President before they endorsed him.
The governors were said to have been assured that they would not be harassed by the agents of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission after leaving office because of their support.
Though there was no known petition against any of the governors who are still enjoying immunity now, aides and children of some of them were however said to have been interrogated by the operatives of the EFCC.
If not that the governors still enjoy immunity, it was learnt that some of them would have been picked up or invited for interrogation in connection with alleged fraud in their states.
It will be recalled that two sons of Jigawa State Governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido, were some months ago arrested by the EFCC over an alleged N10bn fraud.
It was not clear if the two sons will no longer be prosecuted since their father, who was nursing presidential ambition, was among other PDP governors that had endorsed President Jonathan for a second term.
The conviction of three former governors was said to have made some of the serving governors to be apprehensive of what might befall them after leaving office.
Those convicted were Lucky Igbinedion (Edo), Diepreye Alamieyeseigha (Bayesla) and James Ibori(Delta).
Of the three former governors, Ibori was the only one convicted outside the country while Alamieyeseigha has been pardoned by President Jonathan, who served as deputy governor to the pardoned ex-convict.
Some other former governors like Gbenga Daniel (Ogun), Ayo Fayose (Ekiti), Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu), Danjuma Goje (Gombe), Saminu Turaki (Jigawa) and Adebayo Alao-Akala(Oyo) are currently facing corruption charges.
A governor, who played a prominent role in the endorsement of the President by his colleagues, also said the President had agreed that all the outgoing governors are free to pick their successors.
He said, “Because of this, just like the Presidential Convention on December 6 will be a formality, so it is going to be in most of our states on November 29 as we are going to be the one to pick our successors.”
He said the plan not to rock the boat in the states was also responsible for the party’s allowing the Acting Governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Fintiri, to be cleared before winning the governorship ticket in his state by the party.
“Fintiri’s clearance by the PDP appeal panel was significant because he ought not to have been allowed in the first place, but in order not to rock the boat, he was asked to run and he eventually won the ticket,” the governor added.
Another governor, who spoke with our correspondent on Friday morning, said the party and the President would support any of the governors who is interested in coming to the Senate.
Among the governors who have signified their interest in contesting senatorial election in their states are Gabriel Suswam (Benue), Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta), Godswill Akpabio(Akwa Ibom), Sulivan Chime(Enugu) and Babangida Aliyu(Niger).
Also, before adopting the President, Saturday PUNCH also learnt that members of the Board of Trustees of the party gave Jonathan three conditions, which he has allegedly promised to meet.
These conditions, according to a former Deputy Chairman of the party in the South, Chief Shuaib Oyedokun, were discussed with the President when members of the board met at the Presidential Villa on Wednesday night.
Oyedokun, who revealed the position of the board at the end of the meeting that adopted the President, told our correspondent on Friday, that before adopting him, he was given three conditions.
These condition, he said, were issues that the President had agreed to meet.
He said, “What we have asked him to do are not difficult and he has promised to do them.
“We have asked that he should make sure that peace returns to all parts of the country. We also asked him to ensure that he should implement the party’s manifesto, which he also said he would do.
“Then we insisted that the transformation agenda must be implemented to the benefit of all the sections of our country in accordance with the PDP constitution.”
Meanwhile, President Jonathan had expressed how apprehensive he was during the Niger East bye-election, which was eventually won by his party.
The President, who spoke during the National Executive Committee meeting of the party in Abuja on Friday, said he kept on calling the governor of the state, Alhaji Aliyu, on the need to win the election.
He said he was worried because of the non-popularity of the ruling party in the state capital, Minna. But he said he was happy that Aliyu, who he said told him that the party was popular in other towns, was able to win the election.
President Jonathan said, “I was worried and apprehensive because of the senatorial bye-election in the state and that was why I was calling the governor.
“This is more so when we seem not to be very popular in Minna. But he told me not to worry that we would win. I’m happy we won.”
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