On November 10, 2014.
ABUJA—Security men drawn from Nigeria’s major formations took over the streets of Abuja yesterday ahead of the formal declaration by President Goodluck Jonathan today to run for a second term in office.
This happened as the four presidential candidates of the All Progressives Congress, APC have been holding series of meetings to essentially reach consensus on who would eventually fly the flag of the party in the 2015 general elections.
Meanwhile, reacting to automatic tickets given to 40 senators by President Goodluck Jonathan, members of the House of Representatives insisted yesterday that the same priviledge should be extended to them.
Three top ranking lawmakers, who spoke to Vanguard under the condition of anonymity said the situation on ground in the House is far more precarious than that of senate.
According to one of the lawmakers, who is from the South East zone, the two chambers have a lot of role to play to protect the President.
He further explained that ”One thing is certain, if we members of the House of Reps are not given automatic tickets like our Senate counterparts, we will properly help the main opposition to rock the boat.
“Some of us have been denied the opportunity of coming back by the ambition of our governors who now dictate our collective interest through the enormous powers that the President has given to them”.
Another senior member of the House told Vanguard: ”By Tuesday this week, we will let the leadership of our party know our position. We will fight for automatic tickets with all methods except violence. Afterall what is sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose. The president should do the needful before we resume on December 3.
“Our resumption will go a long way to determine how we will survive the present situation though we may not sit for more than six days but those six days will be explosive.”
A lawmaker from the South South also spoke in the same vein saying: ”Except those of us that are confirmed to be traitors, the rest of us that had played a role in protecting the president should get automatic tickets.
“The truth of the matter is that some of us are not dedicated because when we invite them to our caucus meeting they always give excuses.
“On the floor of the House, you don’t see them and in our meetings, they don’t show up and we know them too well”.
On the President’s formal declaration today, security men, including anti-terrorism personnel had positioned themselves in all strategic positions in and around the Federal Capital Territory as at yesterday afternoon, frisking commuters and motorists.
An insider told Vanguard that the declaration, which is slated for the Eagles Square in Abuja, would hold simultaneously in six cities of world.
According to a presidency source, four of the cities where the events will be held are in the United States of America: Washington DC, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Houston while the other two are London (United Kingdom) and Johannesburg (South Africa).
However, while those in London and Johannesburg, whose time zone is similar to Nigeria will join the event live, others in the U.S. with different time zone, will join later.
Vanguard learnt that the declaration by Jonathan was delayed to ensure that there was no opposition to his candidature so as to give him the maximum support to defeat his opponents in the main election.
A source said it was in a bid to appease all party members that Jonathan overruled the National Working Committee, NWC, of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to sell nomination forms to other presidential aspirants, even though he had been adopted as the sole candidate for the poll.
It was learnt that the last week’s late decision by the NWC to sell nomination forms to two of its presidential aspirants, son of Nigeria’s late prime minister, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Dr Abdul Jelil Tafawa Balewa and Mrs Zainab Duke-Abiola, was as a result of the order handed over to them by the President.
The Presidential source said: “President Jonathan summoned them to a meeting and directed that the two be allowed to purchase the forms and participate in the presidential primary at the party’s convention.
“They had to reverse their decision as they were told that it was undemocratic to stop anybody from the process. No one should be denied the chance to participate in the election just because the President was endorsed by the party.”
However, one of the aspirants, Dr Tafawa Balewa has withdrawn from the contest following intervention by Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark.
Consensus candidacy: APC presidential aspirants hold meetings
Meanwhile, the four presidential aspirants of the All Progressives Congress, APC have been meeting in Abuja to reach a consensus on who would eventually fly the flag of the party in next year’s elections.
The four aspirants jostling for the ticket of the party and have purchased their nomination forms for the contest included former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar and former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari. The two others were the incumbent Governor of Kano State, Engr. Rabiu Kwankwaso and the Founder and Publisher of Leadership newspaper, Sam Nda-Isaiah who picked his own form last week.
Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, Vanguard gathered, is also interested in the office but was yet to pick his nomination form.
An APC source in Abuja, who confided in Vanguard confirmed the meetings of the presidential aspirants.
A highly placed officer of the party at its national secretariat in Abuja, said it was a normal democratic process for the four aspirants to agree among themselves on who would eventually become the party’s candidate. He however said the party has not, at the moment, set up any committee for the exercise that is scheduled to hold on December 8, 2014.
“It is a normal political process. But as a party, we have not really set a committee. The aspirants themselves are working to get a consensus. Several interest groups around the aspirants are also exploring every opportunity for consensus.
The source also dismissed the reports that governors on APC platform were asking for vice presidential plot, saying that what was important to the party was the emergence of marketable presidential products.
He said: “I am not aware of the governors asking for the VP slot. At no forum have I heard that. I am a high ranking member of the party, if that happened, I should have known. It is a mere speculation. The important thing is to produce a candidate and the running mate that will win vote for us.
Another party source said that “A lot of meetings are going on among the aspirants”.