Posted by Tribune on
There are strong indications that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the House of Representatives may have rejected the candidature of the former Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, for the 2007 Presidential elections
There are strong indications that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the House of Representatives may have rejected the candidature of the former Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, for the 2007 Presidential elections, even before the December 16 National Delegate Conference of the ruling party, as indication also emerged during the week that the caucus are sharply divided over who to support between Prof. Jerry Gana and Gov. Peter Odili of Rivers State.
The strong oppositions to the ambition of Gen. Babangida, came from the PDP caucus, even as over 60 millions students in the African sub-region, under the West African Students Union (WASU) vowed to mobilize against the emergence of the retired general by joining other forces to frustrate and stop his political ambition of becoming the nation’s president in 2007.
Sunday Tribune gathered that the House of Representatives caucus rejected Gen. Babangida because of his political antecedents and the belief that there are more credible persons among the aspirants parading themselves under the party to become the next president.
Besides, members of the caucus were said to have argued against the candidacy of Babangida because he would not be acceptable to the generality of Nigerians like Prof. Gana and Gov. Odili, who were said to be very focussed and have started their campaigns which have took them around all the states of the country.
To this end, the caucus decided to back either Prof. Gana or Gov. Odili as their preferred choice and PDP aspirant for the coming election.
However, Sunday Tribune gathered that the caucus could not resolve who to give the final support between Prof Gana and Odili, but a source closed to the group said the final decision would be made closed to the December 16 congress, when it would have been cleared if the Presidency would go to the North or the South.
When Prof. Gana and Gov. Odili took their campaigns to the caucus in the House, the supports for them were clearly evident as the members assured both of their support. In fact, when Gov. Odili met the caucus during the week, a motion was moved through the House Leader, Abdul Ningi, permitting him (Odili) to go and fill his nomination form.
Odili had earlier told them that though, he had obtained his nomination form but had not filled a line because he wanted to seek their permission before filling the form.
Also, the President of WASU, Comrade Daniel Onjeh, said the union would lead the over 60 million students in the sub-region, including Nigerian students to resist Gen. Babangida from becoming the next president of Nigeria in 2007.
Specifically, the former President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), said the union was now more determined to shift the gaze of the teeming million members of the organization and the entire world to the 2007 general elections in Nigeria and to build a synergy that would frustrate IBB’s political ambition.
Comrade Onjeh expressed sadness that the former president and his likes could still nurse the greatest ambition of governing the country again, when his eight years regime was an epitome of corruption, dictatorship and extra-judicial killings, adding that IBB, by his ambition is assaulting the collective sensibility of Nigeria.
He said: “We were stunned last week, when in spite of the stiff, concerted opposition and the ululations of well-meaning Nigerians, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, (IBB), Nigeria’s most renowned tyrant and an epitome of high-profile corruption, could muster the nerve to assault the collective sensibilities of Nigerians by picking a nomination form for the presidential elections under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
“WASU as an organization must express its utter resentment at the verdict of the PDP to allow persons like IBB to have a leeway to unleash such a bruise on the intelligence of Nigerians. If sanity must be entrenched in the national polity, the political parties have a great role to play, and in our opinion, persons like IBB who lack even a modicum of rectitude should not be allowed a space in the membership of any political party in the country, talk more of contesting presidential elections under the platform.”
As the nation prepares for the 2007 elections, and the political activities are speedily gathering momentum, Comd. Onjeh said it was imperative for all socio-political/human rights and all other civil society organizations, that have made selfless sacrifices towards the enthronement of democratic governance in Nigeria, to boost the tempo of their enlightenment, concretization and grassroots mobilization programmes.
This, according to him is necessary in order to shape the opinion of the electorate vis-a-vis the need to embrace and support the most eligible candidates, especially at the presidential level.
“WASU, as the umbrella body for the teeming millions students of West Africa and which is fully committed to promoting democracy and good governance across the sub-region, has long kick-started this process and has maintained its resolve, that unless the political terrain in Nigeria is rid of undeserving, incompetent, anti-democratic and brazenly corrupt aspirants, we shall not relent to this effect.
This is in view of the fact that Nigeria is the acclaimed giant of Africa, and a threat to democracy in Nigeria is a threat to democracy in the entire sub-region,” he said.
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