Ahead of the 2015 general elections, President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday warned members of the ruling PDP against politics of succession that could tear the party apart.
Mr. Jonathan gave the warning at the 9th National Convention of PDP held at the Eagle Square, Abuja. Represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo, the President admonished the party to resist the temptation of allowing the inordinate ambition and obsession of some members to cause disaffection within the party ranks. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports Mr. Jonathan was at the convention ground when it started at about 11.30 a.m but left the venue at about 5pm to depart for Seoul, for the World Nuclear Security Summit. The President urged members of the Party to eschew bickering and remain united in the pursuit of the party’s goals and objectives He said PDP must remain a party where internal discipline was supreme and a guiding anchor of its processes. The President congratulated the new leadership of the Party and appreciated the dissolved executive committee for providing energetic and purposeful leadership for the party. “We salute their courage and industry especially at a very critical period in our party’s history. “We enjoin those who have now been entrusted with the mantle of leadership after them to follow their footsteps by working hard to position our party for the pressing tasks ahead. “In our electoral processes we must not deviate from the tenets of free, fair and credible elections.” Goo The President charged the new leadership on the imperative of reforming the party, starting from the grassroots to remain focused, visionary and functional. The President also emphasised the need for PDP to continue to lead by example with an utmost sense of responsibility and to set the pace in the march towards consolidating and stabilising democracy. He urged all members to remain committed and prepared to continue to work for the interest of the party and the country.Mr. Jonathan also said that PDP must begin to improve on its capacity to be a melting-pot of ideas on how to excel in the provision of the total good of the people. NAN reports that about 5,000 delegates participated in the national convention which elected the new National Working Committee that would steer the affairs of the party in the next four years. Apart from the elections, the convention also adopted the amended PDP Constitution and endorsed its audited accounts for 2010 and 2011. Fifteen National positions were opened for contest by eligible members of the party at the convention Eleven candidates were cleared for the position of the National Chairman which was zoned to the North East. In the course of the Convention, one of the contestants and former Minister of Defence, Shetimah Mustafa, announced on behalf of nine others, their decision to withdraw from the race in favour of Bamanga Tukur as a sole candidate for the position. Following the announcement, the Chairman of the Electoral Panel and Minister of Defence, Dr. Bello Haliru, said because of the importance of the position of party chairman, delegates would still vote for the consensus candidate. At the end of voting, Mr. Tukur polled 3,185 votes from the total of 3,428 while the balance was invalid.Mr. Tukur is the ninth national Chairman of the PDP since the inception of the party in 1998.
The past chairmen were the founding chairman, Solomon Lar, Barnabas Gemade, Audu ogbeh, Ahmadu Ali, Vincent Ogbulafor, Okwesileze Nwodo, Bello Haliru Mohammed and Abubakar Baraje. NAN also reports that 12 candidates were cleared for the position of National Secretary zoned to the south West. Ten candidates openly withdrew from the race, leaving the duo of former Governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, and Dapo Sarumi (Lagos) in the race. Oyinlola won the poll with 3,061 votes from ,3165 total votes. Similarly, for the position of National Women Leader, zoned to the South East, 10 candidates were cleared to contest for the position at the convention. Also in the course of the event, 10 of the candidates came out individually to announce their withdrawal for Kema Chikwe and she was subsequently unanimously affirmed winner by the 5,000 delegates at the convention. Ten other positions were won through affirmations of delegates because the candidates were returned unopposed.