By Lawrence Olaoye
The Special Assistant on Political Matters to President Goodluck Jonathan, Prof. Rufai Alkali, has said that the choice of Vice President Namadi Sambo as running mate would depend on the acceptance of the President to calls for his re-election in 2015..
This is despite reported party position that Sambo is part of Jonathan’s winning team, suggesting that he may not be replaced in the re-election bid.
Alkali said also that despite the adoption of the President by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) NEC, convention will still hold and official position will betaken.
Alkali who gave the indication on Tuesday in Abuja during a visit to the leadership of FCT Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists, was reacting to questions on whether Sambo is included in the endorsement of Jonathan.
His words: “Again, it is very interesting that you members of the press are my friends. We have told you that PDP is a very sophisticated political party. But we don’t play politics on the pages of Newspapers. This is not the first time we are seeing the endorsement of the President, even with the endorsement of Goodluck Support Group and PDP NEC.
“For the past one year, many people have been calling on the President to run for re-election. But he has not said anything. So why can’t you wait for him to answer that invitation (to run) and then you can get answers to all other questions (about Sambo). I think that is the correct thing, so let’s wait for that.”
Rufai also said that the adoption of Jonathan is in line with the principles of democracy because it was a decision taken by the machinery of PDP.
He said, “I believe with all sense of responsibility and decency that for the serious organs of the party as big as PDP to coordinate, consult, discuss, agree and resolve to adopt a candidate especially for the office of the President, a lot of work must have been done. I don’t think the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is an office where people can just play games.
“When you say members of NEC, you are not just talking about Governors but also their Deputies; chairmen of PDP nationwide; their Deputies; members of the National Working Committee; Board of Trustees members; ex-officio members, and the entire structure of the PDP machinery as a whole, who over a long period of time have studied and looked at what Mr. President has been doing, the political terrain and decided that the best thing that can happen to this country at this time is to continue with the winning party and winning team.
“Therefore this has not in any way undermine the principles of democracy at all. Remember that the convention will be held and the usual formalities will be done. But still, the party has taken its own position and that is the only way to stabilize the system.”