Monday, April 11, 2011

Nigeria News Update: Ruling Party May Form Coalition Government

PDP dangles unity govt carrot before rivals

Tuesday, 12 April 2011 00:00 From John-Abba Ogbodo (Abuja), Niyi Bello (Akure) and Lawrence Njoku (Enugu)
Nigerian Guardian

WITH the results of the National Assembly election indicating that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may not have the overwhelming majority in the national legislature as it currently enjoys, the leadership of the political grouping has launched a fresh initiative, reaching out to the opposition with the Government of National Unity (GNU) carrot. The party has also embarked on last-ditch efforts nationwide to win next Saturday’s presidential election.

Besides, President Goodluck Jonathan has commended Nigerians for voting en masse for the PDP in the last Saturday’s National Assembly elections.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja yesterday, the acting national chairman of the party, Dr. Haliru Bello Mohammed said it was willing to work with the opposition after the elections. He noted that already some of the opposition parties were working with PDP.

He stated: ‘’On the issue of ganging up, this is not the first time. It was tried in 2007 and it did not work. It was tried at the beginning of this election, it did not work. The choice of leaders in this country is vested in the people of this country and the people of this country have shown over and over again that PDP is the party of choice. No amount of gang up will stop PDP. However, PDP has a policy of all inclusiveness. In 2007 when we won, we were working with some parties in a Government of National Unity. This time around, too, our doors are open to all parties who want to cooperate with us to move this country forward and we will be amenable to talks with any party that shares our aspiration of free and fair election, national unity and move the nation forward economically, and there are many parties like that.

“Right now, we have forty-five political parties that are working with PDP because they believe in the politics of PDP and they believe in the candidature of Goodluck Jonathan. They have declared openly. They met us in Nasarawa. We met some in Owerri and in all the places where we went round, they came to indicate their desire to work with us to move the country forward. So, we are not afraid of any gang up. Out of 63 political parties, if you add 45 to PDP, that is 46. Even if it is one party, one vote, we have the majority.’’

Asked what the fate of some highly placed members of the party arrested over alleged electoral malpractices would be, he said: ‘’It is our policy and belief and the president has already directed; anybody involved in crime, whoever he is, should face the full weight of the law. It does not matter from which party he is. Anybody who commits a crime should be treated according to the law. Dispute resolution is a continuous operation in PDP. Right from the end of the last election up to this date, we are working on dispute management and we have been very successful in managing our internal disputes. The one in Ogun State is not different. We are working on it. We are working on it and all hands are on deck.’’

For allegedly being in possession of unauthorised arm and ammunition and voters’ cards while last Saturday’s National Assembly elections was in progress, a member of the Ogun State Executive Council and the State Commissioner for Education, Yemi Akinwoni was yesterday arraigned before an Akure Chief Magistrate’s Court to answer charges of engaging in acts capable of disrupting public peace.

The commissioner was arrested by eagle-eye security operatives with six others within Ondo State at a spot near the state’s boundary with Ogun in company of six others who were also alleged to be in possession of wraps of substances suspected to be Indian hemp.

The accused who had been in police custody since their arrest last Saturday at Araromi Estate in Ore, Odigbo Local Council of Ondo State which shared boundary with Ogun State, were facing charges of electoral offences which included flouting the movement restriction order and illegal possession of firearms.

The PDP national chairman added: “Without any interference from government. We in PDP are particularly glad that the president has fulfilled his promise because it has given us the opportunity to prove what we have always said that PDP can always win in a free and fair election. It has always been our stand that the hue and cry of rigging that out opponents were using as alibi for their loss, now that Jega has delivered, that alibi has been removed. It is clear for all to see that PDP has remained the party of choice among the electorate in Nigeria. This commitment of Mr. President to free and fair election is commendable’’.

Meanwhile, the president has commended Nigerians for turning out and voting en masse for the party in the last Saturday’s National Assembly elections. In a statement issued by the Director, Media and Publicity of the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) Mallam Abba Dabo, the president noted that the support given to PDP was a confirmation of its acceptance by Nigerians.

And the South East Zone of the PDP yesterday called on Ndigbo across the country to troop out en masse and join other Nigerians to vote for President Jonathan in next Saturday’s presidential election. It said the success of the president was fundamental to the progress of Ndigbo and Nigeria’s stability.

But the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) said in the contrary that Jonathan will not serve the interest of Ndigbo, saying that his emergence would alter the zoning arrangement for the leadership of the country.

Addressing a press conference in Enugu yesterday, governorship candidate of the party, Osita Okechukwu urged Ndigbo to massively vote General Muhammadu Buhari, saying he would restructure the country and initiate action to amend the constitution.

The zonal leadership of the PDP while addressing the media has also expressed sadness over the alleged anti-party activities perpetrated by some of its members in the zone who clearly worked against the interest of the party’s candidates in the National Assembly elections and threatened to sanction them according to the party’s constitution.

They specifically accused the Minister of Interior , Emmanuel Iheanacho of anti-party activities during Saturday’s elections, saying it was unacceptable to the party.

National Vice Chairman of the party in the zone, Chief Olisa Metuh who briefed reporters in Enugu, said that President Jonathan “is the best candidate for the presidency of our dear country at this point in time”, adding that with Jonathan as president the interest of Ndigbo would be best protected in the affairs of the nation.

PDP: Obasanjo, Martins-Kuye, Meet to Re-strategise

By Sheriff Balogun
Nigeria ThisDay
12 Apr 2011

Unfavourable outcome of the National Assembly election held in Ogun State where the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) lost to the opposition party, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) over the weekend has made the former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Minister of Commerce, Sen. Jubril Martins-Kuye and other leaders of the party to re-strategize ahead of the next election.

In a meeting held Monday in Abeokuta at the operational base of the Adetunji Olurin Campaign Organization included Navy Captain Rasheed Raji (retd.) and Chief Adetunji Olurin, the party’s governorship candidate.

It would be recalled that the party witnessed setback during last weekend elections, as it failed to win any position. Apart from the major lost, two of its candidates, Speaker Dimeji Bankole, House of Representatives and Sen. Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, lost their respective bid to return to the House of Representatives and the Senate.

However, Chairman, Media and Publicity, Olurin Campaign Organisation, Chief Lai Labode, told newsmen that the meeting was aimed at reviewing the exercise with a view to re-strategizing, hinted that PDP might challenge the election in court, if necessary, as it observed some irregularities, especially in the Ogun West Senatorial District.

According to him “the election has come and gone, but all the same, we have some few lessons to learn and that is why the meeting was held to review all areas. Although we expect election that was free and fair, that does not mean that we don’t have one or two complaints in some areas, especially in Ogun West Senatorial District.”

He added that “we are studying the situation and if need be, we may challenge the result in court but if the need does not arise, we will not, because we are for free and fair elections.

”He lamented that the party had learnt some lessons from the election, expressed optimism that the party would have better outing in the next round of election. He blamed the poor performance of the party at the elections on the defection of some of its members to other political parties.

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