A member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the party’s stakeholder in Adamawa State, Dr Umar Ardo, has faulted recent claims by leaders of the party, including President Goodluck Jonathan to the effect that Jonathan’s adoption as the sole candidate of the party was in line with standard democratic tenet in America where incumbents were given the right of first refusal.
Dr Ardo stated this in a statement issued to journalists yesterday in Abuja.
While noting that it is demonstrably false for Jonathan and the party’s hierarchy to make such claims, Ardo maintained that all through the democratization process of America’s presidential system, and especially as partisan politics gained pre-eminence, incumbents have been severally challenged in nominations.
He declared that the Chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih, former National Chairman of the party, Dr. Ahmadu Ali, the Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Gov. Godswill Akpabio, Chief Edwin Clark, and even President Jonathan, who were all reported to have laid claim to this assertion lied.
Citing copious examples from history, Dr Ardo argued that the claim by the leadership of the PDP before, during and after adopting Jonathan as sole candidate in the 2015 general election, was not only patently false but also showed that public policy arguments are not thoughtful and well grounded.
“The truth is that the right of first refusal as propounded by the PDP is not the norm in America’s democracy; it is in fact alien to it. If the party wants to adopt President Jonathan as its sole candidate because of some vested interests, it is free to do so within the provisions of the law; but to ride such false and unsubstantiated claims on the back of America so as to ‘justify’ its action is what the Yorubas would quip as ‘iro nla’” he stated.
Ardo equally dismissed the claim that President Barrack Obama was unchallenged in the Democratic Party’s presidential primaries in 2012, stating that Obama was actually challenged by John Wolfe Jnr, a renowned lawyer from Tennessee, in the 2012 presidential primaries, even though Obama roundly defeated him.
“In fact, on many occasions, political parties often bypassed leading candidates including interested incumbent presidents in favour of more popular candidates,” he added.
It could be recalled that the PDP had adopted President Goodluck Jonathan as its presidential candidate for the 2015 election, a new development in the ruling party since 1999 when the country attained democratic governance from the military.
The decision was announced at a NEC meeting chaired by Adamu Mua’zu, the national chairman of the party, and attended by Jonathan, Vice President Namadi Sambo, Senate President David Mark; his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu; and deputy speaker of the federal House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha.
Mixed reactions have continued to trail the PDP NEC decision. However, Jonathan is yet to officially declare interest in seeking reelection, even when he has thanked the PDP for endorsing him as sole candidate.