The Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party rose from its meeting on Wednesday night at the Banquet Hall of the State House endorsing President Goodluck Jonathan as the party’s sole candidate for the 2015 presidential election.
Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting, which ended late at night, Prof. Jerry Gana said the Board also approved the timetable and guidelines for the party’s primaries and national convention ahead of next year’s general elections.
Gana, a former Minister of Information, was joined at the briefing by the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu; and BoT Secretary, Walid Jibril.
According to him, it was an unanimous decision of the members present to endorse President Jonathan as the sole candidate.
He said the Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum and Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, briefed the BoT members that governors elected on the platform of the party had earlier in the day also unanimously endorsed Jonathan as the party’s sole candidate for 2015.
Akpabio said further that all the PDP governors agreed that none of them would present himself for 2015 presidential contest.
Gana spoke further: “Hence, BoT was so informed today about this and that decision by the governors was fully endorsed in a motion by the BoT on its own.
“Having received that news, the BoT also unanimously resolved that because of the excellent work which Mr. President has done, because of the mature way he has been leading Nigeria, because of the humble and dedicated and pathetic way he has been handling very sensitive issues, the Board of Trustees is delighted, the Board of Trustees is convinced, the Board of Trustees is overwhelmed by the fact that we have a very impressive candidate.
“And therefore, the BoT also unanimously resolved that President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan be the sole candidate of the party in the forthcoming election.
“That was unanimously resolved with a standing ovation and the BoT is excited.
“I will like to take this opportunity to also say the BoT thanked the governors for their wisdom, for their maturity, for their love of the party and I want to emphasize, we asked the governors and they said all the PDP governors signed the document, which is going to be presented to the President in another session.”
On the position of the Jigawa State Governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido, who is perceived to be nursing a presidential ambition and who was absent at the PDPGF meeting, Gana said the BoT asked Akpkabio who confirmed that Lamido “phoned him during the meeting and directed the deputy governor of Jigawa, who attended the meeting, to sign the document”.
Gana added: “In other words, he authorised the deputy governor to sign on his behalf and therefore the answer to your question is that he too endorsed that decision.
“We asked the same question and that is the answer we got.”
Asked why the ruling party had to jettison internal democracy, Ekweremadu said: “The name of our party is the Peoples Democratic Party.
“So, democracy is part of us and we are very conscious of the need to have internal democracy in our party.
“But you must remember that consensus building is also part of democracy.
“For us in the PDP, we believe that the BoT is the conscience of the party.
“So, if the BoT has agreed to endorse Mr. President as the candidate of the party, what we are simply saying is that we are persuading every member of the party to accept that position.
“So, we are not going to force any person, but we are making a strong statement.
“We are persuading our people strongly to accept this position for the reasons earlier mentioned.
“It is also important for us to know that we need to reward hard work, we need to reward commitment, we need to reward achievement, we need to reward performance.
“We are borrowing from other democracies, including the United States of America, where a sitting president who has done so well is expected to be rewarded by his party with a ticket.
“So, we are building a tradition which we hope that those who will come after us will be able to imbibe.
“This is also within the tenet of democracy, not only in Nigeria but in other parts of the world.”
The National Executive Council of the PDP is expected to also endorse Jonathan as the sole candidate of the party on Thursday (today) and approve the guidelines and timetable for its primaries and convention.