The increasingly fractious struggle for the 2011 presidential ticket of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] would be amicably resolved because President Goodluck Jonathan will soon reach a compromise with his four main rivals. Director General of the Jonathan/Sambo campaign Ambassador Dalhatu Sarki Tafida said this in Dutse, the Jigawa State capital, yesterday.
Speaking when the led a campaign team to visit Governor Sule Lamido, Tafida said Jonathan’s rivals for the party ticket, namely General Ibrahim Babangida, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, General Aliyu Mohamed Gusau and Governor Bukola Saraki, have “all been treated fairly.”
He said, “We are doing everything to treat them with respect and therefore we hope and pray that in the final analysis, we will reach a compromise.”
Tafida also said when he was asked to head the Jonathan presidential campaign team, he was not comfortable because he did not see any true politicians around him. He however said with men such as Governor Lamido around him, he was now comfortable.
According to Tafida, the team was in Jigawa State to meet with party stakeholders and to seek for their support for President Goodluck Jonathan. The Jonathan/Sambo campaign boss told Lamido that his team had so far visited 12 states including Jigawa as part of its tour of the 36 states.
Governor Lamido told the team that, all the presidential aspirants are senior members of the party; hence, they should be listening for the goodness of the party and the country as well.
Governor Lamido said as a family, PDP members must strive hard to salvage the country. He said “between 1999 to 2007 it was Northern crisis. Some people even abandoned the party in 2007 to other political parties for personal interest. They abandoned Nigerians in PDP. Now they are coming back to us.”
“Between 2007 and 2010, when Yar’adua was alive, the crisis within the party was purely Northern battle. It was northerner that was challenging his fellow northern brother. The northerners challenged Yar’adua. Where were they when Nigeria was in coma in 1999?”
He however called on the team to do everything possible to defend the integrity and sanctity of the party, the country and the democracy. PDP, he said, has restored the lost glory of the country, hence its members should not let this glory to be lost again.
Lamido also said, “You are not campaigning for President Jonathan and Sambo, but you are campaigning to restore the integrity and culture of PDP and democracy. We must work hard to bring to Nigeria the best candidate for 2011 elections.”
He told the team that no one from other political parties can rival the PDP’s candidate. He said unlike other political parties such as the Action Congress of Nigerian (ACN), PDP is not owned by individual. Lamido also advised the team to do all it can to bring other aspirants under the PDP together with a view to winning the forthcoming elections.
Reacting to Tafida’s claims last night, head of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s media campaign Malam Garba Shehu said, “Our basic position is that Jonathan ought not to be in the race. If he has any respect for the party’s constitution and even the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he must not run. He is not the moral equivalent of the four candidates. He has no right to be in the race. It is clear he wants to seize it by force in violation of the party’s constitution.”