— Sep 24, 2014.
Gov. Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa said the leadership of the PDP adopted President Goodluck Jonathan as its candidate for the 2015 presidential election to stabilise and engender political development.
Dickson said this on Tuesday at a forum with members of the Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Bayelsa chapter.
Dickson said the action by the PDP governors and the party leadership was to institutionalise the right of first refusal for an incumbent President.
According to him, as the dominant political party, PDP hopes the action, when entrenched in the political culture, will reduce cases of in-fighting within existing political parties.
He said the action of the PDP was to promote stability in the political system and party responsibility to the electorate, who would make the ultimate choice during the elections.
The governor said the adoption of Jonathan, being described as “sole candidacy” by the media and the opposition groups, was inaccurate and sounded undemocratic.
“It is not a declaration of sole candidacy. The term sole candidacy connotes undemocratic tendencies, a far cry from what we have done.
“What we have done is to stabilise the political system and entrench some form of order in our political culture.
“We don’t want to subject our members to the costly and stressful experiences; what we have said is that once you are a president from a political party, you have a right of first refusal.
“It will reduce in-fighting and cost of lobbying and campaigns. If the incumbent failed to deliver, the party looses elections.
“Whoever comes after Jonathan will no longer have issues of intra-party conflicts, but he will have the right to first refusal,” Dickson said.
He said that there was infighting in the first term of many administrations, adding that if the system had been institutionalised, former President Olusegun Obasanjo would have been spared the challenges that faced his re-election.
Dickson noted that democracy should not be about conflicts and unnecessary intrigues and wranglings.
“Institutionalising the right of first refusal should be made part of our political culture; no one did it for only President Goodluck Jonathan; it is to allow for party responsibility.
“If President Goodluck Jonathan refuses, the elective convention will be conducted.
“But what we are going to have in PDP now is a non-elective convention due to the acceptance of the right of first refusal by the President. This decision is provided for by the electoral law.” (NAN)