The Peoples Democratic Party, on Wednesday, said that there was no move to amend its constitution to pave the way for President Goodluck Jonathan and second term governors as the sole aspirants of the party at the 2015 primaries.
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisah Metuh, who stated this at a news conference in Abuja, said all aspirants of the party would go through the primaries.
Metuh commented on the alleged discreet move by the party’s National Executive Committee to amend the constitution to enable the President and second term governors to have the right of first refusal as it is being done in the United States.
In the US, political parties give incumbent president and governors-automatic tickets if they want to re-contest.
The ticket will only be thrown open if the incumbent does not want to re-contest.
Metuh said the PDP’s National Executive Committee did not have the power to amend the constitution.
He said, “On constitution amendment, the NEC does not have the power to handle such. It is above the power of the NEC. The constitution provides that there should be primaries and that everybody must go through primaries; you must be able to come to the national convention and I do not know why people are talking about it.
“I am the National Publicity Secretary, nobody in the executive; nobody in the legislature; nobody in the administration of the party has ever mentioned it in my presence. Nobody has ever told me. I have never been informed. Nobody in the administration of the party has said he has heard it.
“Now, why is it so important for us to talk about amendment of the constitution or no amendment, we have a constitution that must be followed to the letter. As long as this constitution remains, there will be primaries. People will be free to run primaries according to the constitution of our party. That is where we stand. The constitution says that there will be primary. You cannot go against the constitution”
He also spoke on the crisis that trailed the removal of the National Secretary of the party, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, and other officials from the South-West.
Metuh said that the matter was still in court, adding that the problem would be resolved based on court decision.
He stated, “I will have really loved to speak a lot about this issue of Oyinlola, Oni and what is happening in the South-West. The matter is subjudice. It is in court and being a lawyer, I am weary of making any statement that might be contemptuous of a court.”
“Whatever the court decides; whatever comes up at the end of the day, the party will obey it. As national working committee, we have no interest whatever in who occupies a position in the working committee. We did not elect ourselves. We were elected by our party members across the country and we are responsible to our constitution.
“Nobody can remove another member of the national working committee. There are constitutional laid down procedures for you to handle a working committee member or working committee issue.
“In the South-West, what has happened is causing a serious concern to our party leadership; to the Governors’ Forum, to the PDP Board of Trustees and to the national working committee. We all want to solve this crisis bearing in mind the decision of the court.”
Appealing to the media for balanced reporting of the party, he said that there was no crisis in the party.
He also said that there was no move to remove any member of the NWC, adding that the committee would organise the 2015 elections.
Metuh stated that the committee enjoyed the full confidence of the President; the PDP governors and legislators as well as the Board of Trustees members
He stated, “We are not embattled with the President; we are not embattled with our governors. I am assuring you that this national working committee has come to stay. This committee will conduct elections in 2015. You can hold on to that. We will be in charge of our party administration until our tenure ends. There is no attempt to remove anyone in the national working committee. There is no crisis. There is no problem.”
Metuh added that the reconciliatory tour of the PDP Chairman, Dr. Bamanga Tukur, and that of the BOT chairman were not contradictory.|
“The more the merrier. We are happy with our BOT chairman. It is different in nature from the one we are undertaking. I have said it and I want to say it again, the election of Chief Anenih as chairman of the BOT is one of the best things that ever happened to this party. The idea tour is to ensure that every section is visited. “
The PDP spokesman also denied an allegation that there was a presidential directive that opposition’s All Progressive Congress should not be registered.
He said that the PDP would like the APC to be registered to ensure that the country’s democracy was further strengthened.
A former vice-president, Atiku Abubakar, was two weeks ago reported to have vowed to oppose any attempt to amend the party’s constitution in favour of Jonathan’s sole candidacy.
Atiku was defeated by Jonathan during the party’s presidential primaries in 2011.
He said, “My position is that, as far as PDP constitution is concerned, any attempt to change the rule to favour President Jonathan as a sole candidate in the event of his willingness to contest is unconstitutional.”