PDP Lied On Claim That The Right To First Refusal Given Jonathan Is American Practice -Dr. Umar Ardo
The PDP said the adoption of President Jonathan as its sole candidate for the 2015 presidential elections is based on standard example from America where incumbents are given the right to first refusal. As an Historian, I can confirm to you that this is a false claim. All through the democratization process of America’s presidential system of government, and especially as partisan politics gained pre-eminence, incumbents have severally been challenged at nominations. In fact, on many occasions political parties often bypassed leading candidates including interested incumbent presidents in favour of more popular candidates. I can give you several examples on this assertion. President John Tyler was bypassed by his Whig party in 1843 to nominate the powerful Senator from Kentucky, Sen. Henry Clay. President Millard Fillmore was challenged and defeated in the Whig party presidential primaries of 1852 by Gen. Winfield Scott. In 1856 President Franklin Pierce was passed over for a second term when his Democratic Party turned instead to nominate his challenger, James Buchanan. President Buchanan himself was challenged at the primaries and defeated in 1860 by Steven Douglas. Also, in 1868 Andrew Johnson, the successor to Abraham Lincoln, was denied nomination by the Republican Party in favour of Gen. Ulysses Grant. In 1884, the Republican Party again denied incumbent President Chester Arthur nomination and nominated James Blaire. In 1912, former President Theodore Roosevelt challenged incumbent President William Taft, but was defeated by the incumbent. In 1976, Gov. Ronald Reagan challenged Gerald Ford but was also narrowly defeated. In 1978, President Carter himself was challenged by Ted Kennedy, but emerged victorious. These are just few incidences that I can readily remember now, but if I open my history books I am sure to come up with more examples. The truth is that the right of first refusal is not the norm in America’s democracy; it is in fact the exception.
But even coming back nearer home, President Obasanjo was challenged by former Vice President Alex Ekweme in the 2003 presidential primaries. Why didn’t the so-called America’s example feature then? The truth is that there is more to this than what is said. If the party wants to adopt President Jonathan as its sole candidate because of some vested interests, it is free to do so; but to make unsubstantiated claims in order to do that is like what the Hausa people would say ‘a sake reshe a kama ganye’.
*Umar Ardo is a PDP leader in Adamawa state
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