Ken Nnamani tells Ciroma and others to back Jonathan or quit PDP
FORMER President of the Senate, Chief Ken Nnamani, yesterday, asked members of the Mallam Adamu Ciroma-led Northern Political Leaders Forum, NPLF, to uphold party discipline by backing President Goodluck Jonathan or exit the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Nnamani who backed the presidential aspiration of the NPLF consensus aspirant, Atiku Abubakar, is equally calling for the cancellation of waivers the basis of which returnee party members like Atiku sought the PDP ticket.
The call by Senator Nnamani followed Monday’s resolution by the NPLF chastising the primaries conducted by the PDP and other opposition political parties.
Nnamani’s assertions came in the wake of concerns in the camp of Atiku that President Jonathan was yet to make concrete efforts in reconciliation with the group. Sources in the camp told Vanguard that Atiku was not consulted ahead of the inauguration and did not make any nominations into the Presidential Campaign Committee, PCC, as was widely insinuated.
The Atiku camp, it was learnt, is equally peeved with the incorporation of Kwara State Governor, Dr. Bukola Saraki, as a member of the PDP reconciliation committee with one source in the Atiku camp asserting that “Saraki is too young for the job of reconciliation.”
Dokpesi now fully behind Jonathan
President Jonathan had, Tuesday night, inaugurated the PCC which incorporated some erstwhile supporters of Atiku. Among those listed in the PCC were Senator Ken Nnamani and erstwhile Director General of the Ibrahim Babangida Campaign Organisation, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi.
Though Dokpesi was not at the inauguration sources close to him told Vanguard that the broadcast mogul was now fully behind the Jonathan presidential campaign.
Nnamani who was equally absent at the inauguration claimed to be now supportive of the President.
However, sources in the Atiku camp were dismissive of the President’s poach of supporters of the former Vice-President. A source in the camp said: “We are unaware that anyone is representing Atiku Abubakar in that PCC. Atiku was not consulted before they formed their committee and he did not send anybody’s name.
“So any attempt to associate him with the PCC is at best, a failed attempt at political marketing and salesmanship.”
It was learnt that the same thinking was being shared among members of the NPLF.
The development, Vanguard learnt, may be hardening minds in the Atiku camp to press on with the petition filed against President Jonathan’s primary victory at the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
But justifying his support for the President, Nnamani told Vanguard that though his school of thought lost out in the presidential primaries, he was bound by party loyalty to adhere with the majority choice.
Nnamani said: “It is the same party even though I didn’t belong to that school of thought, my own school of thought did not win, so to ensure that our party wins all that is required is for all of us to team up to ensure that our party will win.”
He traced his absence at the inauguration of the PCC to the late arrival of his invitation.
Asked if he would be willing to serve in the committee, he said: “Oh yes I will give any advice and do all that is required of me as a loyal party man.”
Casting his support for the President against the background of the continued objections by the NPLF to Dr. Jonathan, he said: “For those of us that have decided to remain in the PDP it is necessary that we all work hard to ensure that PDP wins the general elections. There is no point in remaining in your party and you are not making any contribution or if your own side in any contest does not win then you abandon the party.
The party will never grow. In fact, I am advocating that waivers normally given those that left the party should be cancelled, any person that goes away should stay away so that the party can grow.”
Asked if he would also be willing to help reconcile members of the NPLF with the President, he said: “Of course yes, party work is not done by one person, it is a team effort and I think the whole concept is that if we can build a culture of seeing the party as supreme so that even if your own school of thought does not win in a particular process it does not mean that you have to abandon the party.
“But if you keep moving from one party to the other, the party will not be known for anything, it becomes a supermarket, just buy what you want to buy and move on, that doesn’t make any sense.
“I think that it is important that we develop that culture of making sure that a party gets strong and it is also necessary to have another strong party in opposition. ”
In our case, it will make PDP to work harder. One party system, I have always kicked against that. But I encourage people to stay in their parties and work for the success of their party even though you don’t win at a particular time you may win at another time.”
Emir of Muri endorse Jonathan
THE growing nationwide acceptance of President Goodluck Jonathan’s Presidential candidacy for April polls, yesterday, got a boost when the Emir of Muri in Taraba State, HRH Alhaji Abbas Tafida, declared his support for the Jonathan/Sambo ticket.
Presidential spokesman, Ima Niboro told Vanguard in a telephone interview from the campaign venue that “from the ancient Emirate of Muri in Taraba State came a solid boost for President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s election campaign today with an endorsement by the Emir of Muri, HRH Alhaji Abbas Tafidal.
Receiving President Jonathan in his Palace in Jalingo, the Emir openly declared his support for the Jonathan/Sambo ticket because it represents “a breath of fresh air”. He said that like Gen. Yakubu Gowon, a minority, came to stabilise Nigeria over 40 years ago, so has Jonathan, a minority, come to stabilise modern Nigeria.
He quoted the Emir as saying that the minorities of the South South have been the bonding cement of national unity, and the best way to repay them is to put a son of the zone in the presidency.
His words: “ The south south has sacrificed for Nigerian unity. They refused to go during the civil war and instead chose to stabilise the country. In the second republic, they came out to vote massively for Shagari.
This same zone shares their oil wealth with the rest of Nigeria. How else can we compensate them than to put their son in the presidency.”
Speaking earlier, President Jonathan had pledged to pursue an open government that will not discriminate against any Nigerian. He promised to tackle power, water and other infrastructure needs of the nation even more vigour if returned to office.
President yesterday formally flagged-off his presidential States campaign in Taraba and Plateau states with the campaign train expected to hit Benue today Thursday.
The State campaigns had earlier been scheduled to be flagged-off in Borno and Yobe but had to be postponed in honour of those who died at round-off session of the zonal rallies in Port Harcourt, after a stampede.