President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election campaigners have hit an obstacle, with the Northwest Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) divided over his yet unannounced ambition.
An attempt to present a unanimous block support for the President in the Northwest failed on Sunday.
Jigawa State – one of the states in the zone- yesterday repudiated the communiqué of the Kaduna meeting of the zonal leader of the party, which purportedly endorsed Dr. Jonathan’s candidacy.
Vice President Namadi Sambo and PDP National Chairman Adamu Mu’azu led others to the meeting.
But Jigawa Governor Sule Lamido and House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Tambuwal topped the list of PDP public officials who did not attend the meeting.
The seven-page communiqué, read by Minister of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Aminu Wali, said, among others: “Having carefully considered the steady and stable progress of our nation under the able leadership of Dr. Jonathan, the stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party in the Northwest, having in mind the monumental strides attained by this administration, have resolved to urge Dr. Jonathan to declare for president in the coming elections to continue the good work he has started. We ask for nothing less.
“Consequently, we urge the national chairman of our party to convey this resolution and unanimous declaration of the leadership and membership of the PDP in the Northwest to Dr. Jonathan to render himself for continued service to the country.”
Sources at the meeting said as soon as Wali began reading, aggrieved members, particularly from Kano, Katsina and Jigawa states, shouted “no”, “no”.
The minister, who was interrupted frequently, read on. Those against it insisted that the communiqué had not been discussed.
Jigawa State Deputy Governor Alhaji Ahmad Mahmud said yesterday in Dutse: “We are not part of the decision. We didn’t know the content of the communiqué read after yesterday’s (Sunday’s) PDP Northwest meeting in Kaduna.
“We, the government and people of Jigawa State are not in support of the content of the communiqué read after the zonal meeting, where it was announced that President Jonathan has been endorsed for a second term.”
The deputy governor said the government and members of the party in the state remained loyal to the party.
“The Jigawa government and people remain loyal to the party and the country. We are still members and remain loyal to the party and country.”
Mahmoud, who represented Lamido at the meeting, denied knowledge of where the issue was discussed and the decision made.
“Everyone knows the role Governor Lamido and Jigawa State government have played. They canvassed support and vote for President Jonathan in the 2011 general elections, which led to his victory. But, to our dismay, the President has not fulfilled his promises.”
The Vice National Chairman of the PDP in the Northwest, Amb. Ibrahim Musa Kazaure, declined comment. He said: “I have no comment.”
Kazaure, an indigene of Jigawa State and a Lamido loyalist, said: “Any member has a right to express his opinion.”
The PDP Secretary in Jigawa State, Aliyu Mohammed Tukur, also dismissed the endorsement, saying: “Nobody has endorsed anybody.”
He added:” I can confirm to you that nobody has endorsed anybody. Although the PDP is a family, and President Jonathan and Vice President Sambo are our leaders, what we are saying is that democratic procedures, processes and the rule of law should be followed.
“Normally, if you are having a zonal meeting, the zonal secretary of the party ought to be the secretary of the communiqué drafting committee. But in this case, there was no communiqué drafting committee. That was why nobody signed the communiqué.
“The communiqué ought to be brought to the larger house for everybody to discuss the content and then adopt it. Nothing like that was done. In this case, they just read a communiqué that was not discussed or adopted or signed by anybody, except that it was read by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
“This is wrong. It ought to be read by the zonal chairman or secretary. Even the speech of the zonal chairman, a day before the meeting, the zonal chairman prepared his speech, detailing the achievements of the zone and challenges. But at the meeting, somebody passed another speech to him to read. How do you run a party like this?”