By Ahmed Abubakar
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has yesterday conducted screening exercise for President Goodluck Jonathan and Dr. Abduljalil Tafawa Balewa as aspirants for the 2015 presidential election of the party, even as the latter finally announced his withdrawal from the race.
President Jonathan, who arrived the PDP headquarters yesterday at about 2.45 pm, was accompanied by several ministers, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Pius Anyim, Deputy Speaker House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, Akwa Ibom State Governor, Dr. Godswilll Akpabio and a host of top government functionaries.
The president, who was screened inside the National Working Committee (NWC) hall, left after an hour before Dr. Balewa came for the same exercise.
The party which had earlier scheduled to screen both Presidential aspirants at different times, forced Balewa to patiently wait outside the PDP gate for the screening of President Jonathan to be concluded before he was allowed entry by the heavy security deployed to man the secretariat.
However, Balewa was soon to announce his withdrawal from the race, citing the need for unity in the PDP as his reason for withdrawing from the presidential race.
It would be recalled that Abduljalil Balewa, scion of the late Prime Minister, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, raised a lot of dust over his inability to obtain the party’s nomination form to enable him contest the presidency against President Jonathan who was earlier endorsed as the only presidential candidate of the PDP.
Meanwhile, several angry protesters emerged after the departure of the President carrying placards and chanting solidarity songs as they demonstrated their anger over alleged manipulation of the party’s primaries.
The protesters who were from Cross Rivers State were said to be protesting the choice of the party’s candidates that would contest elections in various elective offices across the state, demanding that the decision should be reversed by the party.