Thursday, October 1, 2015

PDP panel submits report, recommends northern presidential candidate in 2019

The Post-Election Review Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party submitted its report on Wednesday with a recommendation that the party should pick its presidential candidate in the 2019 election from the North.

It also recommended the adoption of direct primary in the election of all candidates for future polls.

The committee chairman, Ike Ekweremadu, disclosed this in Abuja while submitting its report to the National Working Committee of the PDP.

The party had set up the panel in May in the wake of its poor performance in the last general elections.

It was given a nine-point terms of reference, the sum of which was to find out what went wrong and to chart a trajectory for the restoration of the fortunes of the former ruling party.

Mr. Ekweremadu, who is also the deputy senate president, said the recommendation for the zoning of the presidential slot of the party to the North was not only informed by the fact the last president produced by the party, Goodluck Jonathan, was a southerner but also because it was a view popularly expressed during the work of the committee.

He said the party should strictly apply the zoning principle at all levels.

He said, “It is also recommended to the party to strictly apply the zoning principle at all levels. In particular, since the last President of PDP extraction came from the southern part of Nigeria, it is recommended that PDP’s presidential candidate in the 2019 general elections should come from the northern part of the country.

“This is in accordance with the popular views expressed in the submissions to the Committee. This will also assuage any ill feelings in the North over any perceived breach of the party’s zoning principle.”

On the mode of choosing candidates during the election, Mr. Ekweremadu said the committee observed that the use of delegates for that purpose had been grossly compromised and abused.

“Furthermore, it is recommended that the party adopt direct primary as the sole means of electing PDP candidates for any election at all levels,” he said.

“The use of delegates has been grossly compromised and abused, and should therefore be discontinued forthwith to return true ownership of the party to the people.”

He said the committee also proposed a nationwide biometric membership registration to align the party records with modern technology and further boost the integrity of its membership records as a precursor to other reforms recommended.

The deputy senate president said in line with the recommendations, the panel also drew a roadmap towards the 2019 general elections and future electoral success.

Mr. Ekweremadu explained, “We have made extensive recommendations, the core of which is to end impunity, uphold justice, entrench internal democracy, enhance party administration, promote transparency and accountability, and return the party to its true owners- the people- in accordance with our Party slogan and founding principles.”

Mr. Ekweremadu said in carrying out its assignment, the committee not only received memoranda from PDP members within and outside the country, but also held consultations in the six geopolitical zones of the nation.

He said the committee’s work looked at critical areas and issues such as party structure and administration, party finance, legal framework, primary elections, party’s candidates, conflict resolution, campaign organisations, campaign finance, Election Day activities, post-election management, third Party groups/support groups, among others.

He said it also sought to find out how each of these factors had impacted PDP electoral fortunes and the party’s general wellbeing over the years, particularly in the last general elections.

He thanked PDP members across the country members across for their faith in the renewed quest to recreate the party, noting that “despite the setbacks of the 2015 general elections, especially the loss of the control of the Federal Government, we nevertheless saw across the nation determined party faithful profusely hopeful and enthusiastic about reinventing our party and returning it on the path of glory.”

He said the resilience was the committee’s greatest asset in the push to rebuild and reposition the PDP.

Mr. Ekweremadu told the NWC members that from the feedback the committee members got in the course of their assignment, more and more Nigerians were beginning to appreciate the PDP as the only truly national party in Nigeria today with strong presence in every nook and cranny of the nation.

He added, “More people are now better aware of the immense scope of freedom and inclusiveness, which we bequeathed. Never at any time in our 16 years of leadership did any part of this great country complain of total exclusion or brazen lop-sidedness in appointments into critical offices.

“The nation now better acknowledges the fact that only the PDP can provide a sense of belonging to every part of Nigeria, irrespective of their political choices. The APC must put the unity of our country first. Our strength lies in our unity.”

The deputy senate president recounted that the PDP lost the presidency and conceded it to the opposition in a smooth transition, thereby setting a standard that must not be reduced if democracy must grow.

He said the onus was therefore on every other party to respect the sanctity and supremacy of the ballot box.

“The APC should know that it is the greatest beneficiary of the electoral reforms and political freedom nurtured and bequeathed by the PDP government. These gains must not be reversed,” he said.

He said millions of PDP members across the country and other Nigerians were now better informed of the superiority of the PDP in intentions and programmes, adding “They want us to put our house in order ahead of 2019. The time to begin is now.”

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