Nigeria -Yar’Adua bars governors from campaigning for 2011 poll
President Umaru Yar’Adua has asked PDP governors to put off their campaigns for a second term until 2010. He told the governors to concentrate on governance and be concerned with how to deliver the dividends of democracy to the electorate. Yar’Adua spoke at the party’s special convention where some portions of its constitution were amended.
At the convention party supporters were carrying placards calling for the adoption of their governors for a second term when they are yet to spend half of their first four-year tenure.
The President was, however, silent on whether he would be contesting for the 2011 presidential election or whether the ban also applies to him.
The leadership of the PDP, ministers and some governors had, in recent times, been saying that the President would run for a second term, even when Yar’Adua himself had remained silent on the issue.
The President said that it was not yet time for politicking and advised the governors to abandon it and face their job.
He informed the gathering that the PDP was yet to call for nominations and that when the time came, the party would do so.
He called for discipline among the governors, saying that since the party had 27 out of the 36 state governors in the country, it must set a good example for other governors to follow.
Yar’Adua said, “The issue I will like to discuss today is regarding the issue raised by the National Chairman in his address. In about 10 days‘ time, in precisely 10 days, we will be half way through our mandate.
“Now, I would like to point out clearly that the PDP bears a great responsibility, a burden of trust placed upon it by the people of this country.
“This party runs the Federal Government of this country and 27 state governments out of 36 state governments.
“Therefore, the burden of responsibility and trust placed on the PDP is quite heavy and great.
“And we must at all times rise to the occasion to discharge as best as we can this trust.
“In doing so, we must be as disciplined as possible. In this respect, I heard the National Chairman call on all of us, PDP government, the Federal Government and the state governments to continue to exert ourselves to deliver to the people the dividends of democracy.
“We should continue to ensure that we discharge our mandate, carry out our activities and projects and functions that would ensure the attainment and accomplishment of the seven-point agenda and the party’s policies and manifestoes at the federal and state levels.
“To do this, we must ensure that we become disciplined and demonstrate a great sense of responsibility as a political party.
“Time will come when the national leadership of the party, the National Working Committee and the National Executive Committee will come out with the timetable and programme for party nomination for all those aspiring to various offices in 2011.
“But this time has not yet come. I am certain that the NWC and NEC will do this sometime in or after the middle of next year and till then, we must be disciplined enough to concentrate on our mandate.
“When the time comes, and when the party comes out with a clear programme and says these are the criteria and from this date, aspirants to various offices can start to campaign and aspire for these offices, then that is the time for politics.
“Now, for the PDP, it is not the time for politics of 2011. Until then, from now to that time it is the time for every PDP member holding position of responsibility to concentrate on discharging the burden that is on us.”
He asked the governors to leave their ambition for now and wait for the party to “blow the whistle” before jumping on the lane.
He also called on the governors to pay attention to repositioning their states’ electoral commissions, adding that reform would not succeed unless states played their roles in it.
While commending the delegates for the peaceful manner with which the activities were carried out, Yar’Adua said there would be no real democracy until internal democracy was firmly rooted in all the political parties.
Also speaking at the occasion, the National Chairman of the party, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, said the leadership of the party had been able to make peace among hitherto estranged groups by insisting on fair play.
He said that the party would not allow individuals to handpick the executives of the party at any level, adding that the party’s leadership would make sure that the executives were elected by party members.
He also told the President that the party was growing bigger with the decamping to the party of governors of Zamfara and Bauchi states, Alhaji Mahmud Shinkafi and Mallam Isa Yuguda, respectively.
All the governors elected on the platform of the party were at the convention.
It was however not clear why the Chairman of the Board of Trustees and former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, was absent.
The party was, however, able to throw his office open to all members of the BOT, which was one of the issues addressed at the convention.
Until now, the party constitution provided that the chairman of the BOT must be a former president and without a definite tenure.
But with the amendment, Obasanjo will have to vacate the office in 2011, or seek for fresh election in competition with other members of the BOT.
Other issues which the delegates voted to adopt included raising the annual subscription of party’s members from N200 to N600 and the composition of congresses and national convention which has now been streamlined.
The National Legal Adviser of the party, Chief Olusola Oke, proposed the amendment while the Governor of Rivers State, who is also the Chairman of the Convention’s election committee, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, announced the result.
He said that while 3,897 delegates voted in favour of the congesses, 13 voted against. He also announced that 3,914 delegates voted in favour of the BOT tenure issue while 20 preferred that the matter remained as it was.
On the last issue, which is membership fee, 3,916 delegates voted ‘Yes’ for the amendment, while 15 voted ‘No.’