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Nigeria: PDP Summons Presidential Aspirants’ DGs

The leadership of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has invited the Directors-General of the five presidential aspirants to a parley over what the party termed as “inflammatory statements”.

The national chairman of PDP, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo who revealed this yesterday while playing host to a delegation from the National Democratic Institute that paid him a courtesy visit in his office, said that the party can no longer fold its hand and watch the on-going media war deteriorate further.

This is even as Nwodo expressed optimism that any candidate that emerges after the party’s presidential primary is likely to win the general election.

Nwodo explained that the party is worried by the kind of statements coming out from the campaign organisations of the various presidential aspirants, saying it would do more havoc to the country and the party if not checked.

Dr. Christiana Thrope, Chairman, Sierra-Leone Electoral Commission, Dr. Peter Lewis, head of Africa Program, SAIS, John Hopkins University, Washington DC, Dr. Nazul Ahsan Kalimullah, Professor of Political Science, Dhaka Univerisity, Bangladesh, Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh, Senior Associate, Regional Director, Central West Africa, NDI, Washington DC and Ms. Barrie Freeman, Deputy Regional Director, Central West Africa, NDI.

He noted that rather than make their campaigns issue -based, the campaign organizations have been engaged in ethnic war, mundane vituperations and statements capable of inflaming the polity.

He explained that as the leader of the PDP, he would not sit by and watch things go bad, adding that he would have met them today but for logistic problems.

We have sent out invitations to them for a meeting where we will plead with them to base their statements on issues and the way they want to run the administration of the country.

“We shall tell them to stop all these ethnic, religious and mundane propaganda and base their arguments and statements on issues and based on the letters of the manifesto of our party.

“If they refuse to obey what we at the National Working Committee (NWC) decided to tell them, we shall be compelled to convoke a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting to obtain NEC approval to spell out the guidelines to follow in their campaigns and we shall remove the issues of sectionalism, tribalism and all such mundane statements, issues that divide us as a country.

Our party is very firm in the issue of integrity of our party”.

He also spoke on his efforts at bringing about internal democracy in the party, stressing that many PDP chieftains had decamped in the past due to imposition and other malpractices in the party’s primaries.

Stressing that President Goodluck Jonathan is truly committed to free and fair election, the PDP boss explained that the setting up of the Justice Mohammed Uwais Electoral Reforms Committee, the general acceptance of its recommendations and the appointment of Professor Attahiru Jega to head the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are sure pathways to ensuring credible elections.

He explained that it was a great pain that the country is battling with credibility of its electoral processes, noting that the present administration was committed to ensuring that such issues no longer resurfaced.

“The vibrations and preparations for the election are something we can rely on that there is genuine effort to giving us good and credible elections. PDP has great challenges because of it and we are doing all we can to change the scenario.

Both Sir Masire and Hon. Clarke had expressed deep desire on the issue of security, credibility of the elections and party internal democracy, saying they remain sine qua non to ideal democracy.