The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said it will indeed head to court to seek redress over the controversy surrounding the credentials of the opposition candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, which they have insisted he provide.
“The party is going to court,” Director of PDP Campaign Council (Southwest), Akin Osuntokun, said on Sunrise Daily on Monday, noting that it was a topical issue.
Osuntokun, who appeared on the programme to discuss the 2015 elections, as well as espouse the achievements of the Goodluck Jonathan led administration, insisted that General Buhari’s failure to present his certificate implied that he had none.
He also claimed that contrary to reports that the Nigerian Military admitted that it had copies of the former Head of State’s academic records, the military only said the rule was that they had copies of all who had passed through the organisation.
“Nobody said – Buhari’s certificate is with me,” Osuntokun insisted.
However, it appears the party would have to settle its grievances in court as the electoral umpire, INEC, directed it to the judiciary, to iron out any issues it had regarding the primary school leaving certificate of General Buhari.
Less than a week after the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rolled out timetable for its primary election, the Imo state chapter of the party has started rounds of consultation and reconciliation with some political stalwarts in the state to enable it build a formidable team that will withstand any challenge from the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
To this end, the leadership of the party in the state has initiated moves to woo former governorship candidate and a chieftain of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Martins Agbaso to join the party.
The team, led by the Senator representing Imo West Senatorial District, Hope Uzodinma, voted on the platform of the PDP and the state chairman, Barr. Nnamdi Anyaehie, told journalists that their move is part of the efforts to bring back all founding fathers of the PDP, who left the party due to some grievances and to also call on Mr Agbaso to join the PDP in order to build a formidable structure that will wrestle power from the APC in the state, come 2015.
Mr Agbaso expressed delight by the call and said that he will get back to them in a couple of days to decide if he will join the party.
There has been a recent controversy between the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the correct age of the newly elected APC Youth Leader, Ibrahim Dasuki Jalo.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh alleged that Mr Ibrahim is a 52 year old man whose age makes the new position as youth leader of the APC ironical. Although, he says APC has the right to (s)elect a person of any age for any position within its fold, including a 52-year-old man as National Youth Leader, he is shocked that they chose to lie over an issue as ordinary as the age of a national officer.
Metuh, said that Dasuki had contested far back as 2011 for the post of Gombe/Kwame/Funakaye Federal Constituency seat in the House of Representative and at the time announced he was 49 years old, noted that that is a fact well documented.
He stated that it is disheartening that the APC had refused to shed its unnecessary penchant for lies even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
In his statement, he expects Jalo to be grateful to God for being alive even at that age and it naturally adds up that a man of 49 years in 2011 should be 52 at present. Metuh held that in lying over the age of its national officer, APC has shown that “it has little regard for integrity and that its statements cannot be trusted” and advised them to imbibe the culture of honesty and integrity.
The ruling party’s spokesperson was reacting to a statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Lai Mohammed, that Jalo was not up to 53 years as being claimed.
Mohammed had said, “We have been able to confirm that the APC Youth Leader, Jalo was actually born on the 13th of April 1971, and that puts his age at 43, and not 49, 52 or 53, as being falsely circulated.
“This is not to say a 43-year-old man is ideal to be our youth leader but simply to put the records straight, while the party leadership continues to listen to the voices of concern by our teeming youths.”
A Political Social Commentator, Mustapha Ahmed, has emphasized the expected role of Social Media in Nigerian politics and the elections in 2014 and 2015.
Ahmed who was a guest of Rubbin’ Minds on Channels Television, where he expressed his optimism that Nigerians are more aware of the power of the internet and would use it to their advantage as the country enters into a year of heavy political activities.
He said that Twitter was revolutionary in politics in Nigeria during the year 2013 and with so many ideas that people are pushing out every day; it will play an even greater role in the polity in 2014.
According to him, what President Goodluck Jonathan did on Facebook during his 2011 election campaign was a media stunt that worked for him but that people will not buy it this time, as the web has become more powerful, with the people more aware, that in 2011, not many people were part of the vibrancy of the social media. He particularly claimed that what was witnessed in 2011 would be considered minute compared to how massive the year 2014 would be.
He cited the rise in the number of people with access to mobile technology, especially with the number of smartphone users having exploded from 2011 to the present year; 2014.
He added that Nigerians are now aware that they can post election results from the comfort of their polling units from various platforms/apps on their mobile phones. He also cited the availability of affordable Android phones as a major factor that will make Nigerians of different classes to be involved in the politics of 2014/2015.
Speaking about his expectations from the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Ahmed referred to the Anambra election as the “litmus test” for the commission, an election which they failed to conduct properly. He stressed that INEC has “to change something” for the commission to record successes in the New Year.
He cited the voter registration process as a key area of the electoral process that must be worked on to be more reliable as the 2014 governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states approach.
He however expressed his worry that despite the fact that Anambra is a small state, the election turned out to be a disappointment, yet Ekiti and Osun states would be more challenging for the INEC.
“They have to get their acts together and they have these two elections to prove to us that Anambra was just a blip”.
The state of insecurity in Borno and Yobe states also came to the fore, with Emergency Rule still in effect in both states, owing to the deadly activities of Boko Haram insurgents.
Ahmed admitted that with the current situation, election in the affected states would be highly difficult. He however stated that the time between January and the election is long enough for normalcy to return, considering the efforts of the Federal Government to stem the crisis.
Ahmed said “I want to believe that the President has put so much into curbing the crisis, and I hope he succeeds”. He also added: “You cannot disenfranchise the two states and call it a General Election, it doesn’t work that way.”
PDP vs. APC
While stating his lack of faith in the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Ahmed declared, “I believe that the ruling party, the PDP is slightly beyond redemption”.
According to him, although the PDP had been known for its many internal crisis, it had never been as bad as what was witnessed in 2013, with governors and federal lawmakers defecting to the opposition.
He added that sacrificing its National President, Bamanga Tukur would not sort their problems, as it is too late. He said that they could have nipped the trouble in the bud but they left it too late.
He however warned that it would be a mistake to think that all was well with the opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, or to believe that the PDP crisis and many defections are all to their gain.
He noted that the new APC members are made up of power players from the PDP who are used to holding primaries for the selection of candidates. He feared that it would be a miracle if the APC was able to work that out without interests clashing.
Reminding that the founding parties of the APC are not a used to the politics of holding primary elections, he warned that finding candidates that would be acceptable to the majority would be a major challenge.
Although, he commended the party for what he termed as a smart decision, having delayed the registration of members, which he says would ensure that members do not claim seniority and there is no hierarchy within the party, he advised that they may have to go the way of conducting the primaries to satisfy everyone.
Ahmed predicted that some politicians would still go back to the PDP.
He also posited that it would be a loss to the opposition, APC, if President Jonathan does not run for a second term in 2015. He said: “If PDP gets GEJ not to contest, it will be trouble for the APC”, owing that majority of the APC’s arguments has been about the weakness of the Presidency not the PDP.
He however stated that the President’s body language shows that he wants to run for a second term. He also predicted that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, would join other PDP defectors to declare for the APC.