Posted by By Jide Ajani, Political Editor on
LAGOS—A tight screening exercise is being conducted by the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in its search for a suitable successor to President Olusegun Obasanjo.....
LAGOS—A tight screening exercise is being conducted by the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in its search for a suitable successor to President Olusegun Obasanjo, although a possible crisis appears to be brewing over the exercise. The screening, a leader of the party said, was being done to stem future tide of disloyalty to the party.
This is coming as governors of the PDP controlled SouthWest states of Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti and Oyo met yesterday at the Lagos residence of Governor Olusegun Agagu of Ondo State.
The meeting was said to have discussed how the South-West could deliver block votes in the crucial presidential election. Political sources said the meeting might have been ordered by President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Vanguard learnt, weekend, that the screening would cover all the elective offices.
Aspirants seeking election into the House of Representatives, Senate, governorship as well as the presidency next year are being screened indirectly by the presidency, using some security agencies.
Vanguard gathered that the leadership of the PDP, and especially those who work with President Obasanjo as key allies, are searching for a set of candidates who would be loyal to the cause of the party.
In fact, information available to Vanguard suggests that there is a directive from the presidency, requesting major political leaders in the 36 states of the federation to forward names of loyal party members.
The list from each state would contain names of possible aspirants for all elective offices that would be contested at the polls next year.
Only recently, President Obasanjo blamed the state of the polity on lack of loyalty by party members.
Already, a major part of the electoral guidelines that would be ratified by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the PDP makes it clear that the choice of candidates to represent the party at the polls next year would be effectively guided.
Section 4(a) of the guidelines stipulates, in the case of the presidential candidates, for instance:
“4. (a) There shall be a Presidential Screening Committee appointed by the National Working Committee of the party, whose sole responsibility shall be to screen presidential aspirants.
“(b) The Presidential Screening Committee shall consist of the National Chairman of the party, as the Chairman; the National Secretary as Secretary and eight members, one shall be appointed from each of the six geo-political zones in Nigeria and two women; one from the North and one from the South.
“(c) A copy of the result of the screening shall be announced and shall be prominently displayed at the National Secretariat of the party.
“(d) Any aspirant aggrieved by the decision of the Presidential Screening Committee may appeal in writing to the Presidential Screening Appeal Panel within 24 hours or soon thereafter from the time of the announcement of the result of the screening and the Presidential Screening Appeal Panel shall pronounce its decision on the appeal within 48 hours or soon thereafter of the receipt of the petition.
“Only aspirants cleared by the Presidential Screening Committee or whose appeal the Presidential Screening Appeal Panel has upheld shall be qualified to participate in the primary elections.
“The Presidential Screening Appeal Panel shall bo appointed by the National Executive Committee of the party and shall consist of a Chairman and 12 other members, two from each of the six geo political zones in Nigeria. The presidential primary election shall be by a Special National Convention using the modified secret open ballot system and delegates shall emerge as provided for in the constitution of the party or the Electoral Guidelines of the party.
“There shall be a National Electoral Panel comprising a Chairman and eight members who shall be appointed by the National Working Committee of the party, one from each of the six geo-political zones and two women; one from the North and one from the South.”
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