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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

How PDP governors plan to frustrate Jonathan [punch]

Indications emerged on Tuesday that some governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party were planning to work against President Goodluck Jonathan during the 2011 presidential race.

The governors, who are believed to have met with some pro-zoning elements in the country, are said to be pushing for the conduct of governorship primaries before presidential primaries.

A source close to the governors said this would give them (the governors) the advantage of determining who would be the party’s candidate in the presidential primaries.

The source, who pleaded anonymity, said that if the party agreed to this proposal, the governors would become “semi-gods” during the primaries.

“They will use the advantage to either ask Jonathan to step down from the race or direct their delegates to vote for a candidate of their choice,” he said.

Already, the governors are said to be in constant touch with a former Head of State, who, it was learnt, had vowed that he would make sure that Jonathan did not become the PDP candidate in the 2011 presidential election.

The source said, “Those who are insisting on zoning are not relenting in their agitation, which they know might not scale through the party’s National Executive Committee meeting.

“This is why they have reached out to the governors and others who have sympathy for their cause to make sure that the party holds its governorship primaries first before deciding on who becomes the party’s candidate for the presidential election.

“If this is done, I can assure that the governors will then work against the President’s interest in the presidential primaries.

“The idea behind this is that the governorship candidates would have emerged and at that period, there is nothing the party or the presidency could do to stop them anymore. If their names are changed, they will contest it in the law court.”

Apart from this, the source added that the governors were waiting for the Independent National Electoral Commission to release its timetable for the election.

He said that this would enable them to decide on what he called their “Plan B.”

This plan, according to the source, was to make sure that INEC conducted the governorship election first before that of the presidential.

The “Plan B”, he explained, would enable those in favour of zoning to compel their supporters to vote for another candidate apart from Jonathan in the presidential election.

He said the proponents of zoning in the country, and those who were working against Jonathan, were not leaving anything to chance.

“Those are the two plans for now. But I don’t know the extent they can go; but in politics, anything is possible.”

The PDP National Chairman, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, had on Monday night met with governors elected on the platform of the party in Abuja, where several issues were said to have been discussed behind closed doors.

The governors, among other issues, were said to have advised Nwodo that it would be better for the party to leave the issue of zoning for now because it was capable of affecting the unity of the party.

However, the party chairman, who spoke with journalists after the meeting, refused to reveal the issues that were discussed.

He merely said that the meeting was part of the consultations he had embarked on after he assumed the leadership of the party. Nwodo said it was also his first meeting with the governors and that several other consultations would follow.

Nwodo had declared that the issue of zoning in the party had been jettisoned since 2002. The PDP boss said in an interview with journalists that zoning was only used during the party’s primaries in 1998.

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