PDP, APC Hold National Conventions

By Adedayo Ogunleye, Abuja

The race for 2015 stepped up a higher notch today as the nation’s two major political parties, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, and the All Progressive Party, APC, held national conventions in Abuja and Lagos respectively to pick their presidential flag bearers.

In Abuja, the PDP’s national convention was held to ratify President Goodluck Jonathan as the party’s sole candidate for the forthcoming presidential election in February 2015. The party is also seizing the opportunity to ratify the appointment of other National Working Committee NWC officials such as Adamu Mu`azu, the party`s National Chairman, the PDP National Auditor, Wole Adeyanju, and the National Secretary, Wale Oladipo.

The convention which spans Wednesday and Thursday will see about 3,050 delegates from across the nation voting to ratify the positions of the NWC officials.

Speaking on the purpose of the convention, the national publicity secretary of the PDP, Olisah Metuh, said that the endorsement of President Jonathan will flag of issues-based campaigning and engagement with the opposition.

Metuh called for an elevation of campaign strategies above the status quo of insults, lies, slander and propaganda.

While urging stakeholders in the political process to stick to issues based on their respective manifestoes and designing alternative ideas to move the nation forward, Metuh expressed confidence that President Jonathan’s track record in government which has succeeded largely in promoting the nation’s unity and stabilizing the polity will ensure the PDP’s victory at the 2015 polls.

Dismissing any threat posed to the President’s re-election by the APC, Metuh boasted that even if the APC’s leading contenders, Muhammadu Buhari, and Atiku Abubakar, combined their influence and candidacy, Jonathan was sure to floor the duo and triumph at the February polls.

And, in Lagos, about 8,000 delegates of the APC converged at the Teslim Balogun Stadium to conduct presidential primaries from which will emerge the party’s flag bearer for the February 2015 elections.

The delegates drawn from across the nation will vote to choose a flag bearer from five aspirants which include former military Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha, and businessman and publisher Sam Nda-Isaiah.

Buhari indicated on widely televised interview last week that the five aspirants had signed an undertaking to abide by the outcome of the primary. According to Buhari, it was agreed that the losers in the contest will remain in the party and commit to working for the victory of the party at the February polls.

Political pundits agree that of the lot, Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar are the candidates most likely to be able to give the PDP a good fight at the general election.

The retired General is widely perceived as enjoying the support of a broad spectrum of Nigerians and cult-like followership across the North. He is also seen as a symbol of integrity by many Nigerians.

Buhari has contested for the office of president three consecutive times since 1999 under different political platforms, losing every time to the PDP.

He has stated that he is electing to run for presidential office a fourth time after much persuasion from prominent Nigerians, including the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory,FCT, Nasir el Rufai.

Abubakar is equally fingered by many as having requisite experience in politics and administration to lead the nation, given his active political participation for over 24 years. His huge financial resources also position him as a contender who could succeed in swaying many delegates to his side with financial incentives.



    However, Atiku’s albatross at this point could be the fact that many perceive him as politically unstable, with a penchant for ‘cross-carpeting’ at will.

    Unconfirmed reports emanating from the Teslim Balogun stadium venue of the APC’s convention yesterday evening suggest that Kwankwaso and Okorocha may be willing to step down in favour of Buhari. If this plays out, Buhari’s bid to be the APC flag bearer will have received a great boost, positioning him close to clinching the party’s ticket.

    Also, last night, all the governors of the party were said to have endorsed Buhari’s candidacy. But that may not add any advantage to the retired general’s chances as Abubakar who is known to have the financial muscle is said to be reaching out directly to the delegates.

    The result of the APC presidential primaries is not expected to be known until Sometime on Thursday.

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