2015: PDP leader rules out automatic tickets for National Assembly members

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The party leader said some lawmakers are very unpopular in their constituency.

A People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader, Tuesday, said the party would not offer automatic tickets to its incumbent national assembly members in 2015 in spite of the spate of defections from its fold.

“There will be nothing like automatic tickets for anyone; incumbents and challengers seeking the PDP ticket must go through the normal process to secure it,’’ Joseph Gumbari, PDP Chairman, Zone 3 of Kaduna State,’’ he said.

Recent reports had quoted some federal lawmakers as insisting on automatic tickets for the 2015 race to stop them from joining others that defected to the rival All Progressives Congress (APC).

Nigeria’s ruling PDP has lost five governors, some key leaders and 37 House of Representatives members to the APC in the wave of defections that hit the party.

But Mr. Gumbari, a former member of the House of Representatives, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Jos that conceding to the demand for automatic ticket would “kill the PDP’’.

“No one can blackmail the PDP into making such concessions; we shall give the party’s tickets to only those who deserve it. Those who have performed and are still popular should have nothing to fear,” he said.

“There are many law makers today that cannot visit their constituencies for fear that they could be attacked by their constituents.

“Such people have abandoned the people and had offered nothing to better their lots. You cannot impose such people on the electorate because that will endanger our chances,’’ he added.

He expressed surprise at the lawmakers’ demand, instead of working to popularise the party.

Mr. Gumbari said the PDP’s tickets would only be given to members that had been consistent in shoring up its image and strengthening it through effective representation.

The chairman said that the party was already “strategising to neutralise’’ whatever effect of the defections might be on its electoral fortunes.

“The APC is new and obviously in a hurry to admit just all comers, but we are taking our time and shall move at the right time,’’ he said.

He challenged the APC to focus on the difference it would make to the lives of Nigerians rather than the “consistent chorus of seeking to replace the PDP at the centre’’.

Mr. Gumbari said that the APC was not a threat to the fortunes of the PDP in Kaduna State, adding that PDP last weekend received some top politicians that defected from the APC.

“APC members in their thousands, led by Mr. Huseini Dembo, on Friday defected to the PDP; so while APC is receiving defecting PDP members in other states, we are equally receiving top APC members defecting to our fold in Kaduna State,” he said


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