Thursday, October 30, 2014

N24m Scam; PDP Rejects...

A fresh crisis is brewing in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, over insistence of some of its members to contest its presidential primary with President Goodluck Jonathan ahead of the 2015 polls.

But the National leadership of the party has refused to sell the presidential nomination and expression of interest forms to two other presidential aspirants, keeping the only one form for President Jonathan.

The two aspirants, Dr. Abdul-Jhalil Tafawa-Balewa and Prof. Akasoba Duke-Abiola, were at the national secretariat of the party in Abuja on Tuesday to purchase the forms, but they were turned back.

First to arrive was Tafawa-Balewa, who hails from Bauchi State. He is also the son of Nigeria’s First Republic Prime Minister, the late Abubakar Tafawa-Balewa.
It will be recalled that all the caucuses of the party, including the National Executive Council had endorsed President Jonathan as its sole presidential candidate. 
Tafawa-Balewa had on September 21 condemned the action, which he said was a plot by the leadership of the party to frustrate other presidential aspirants.
He had asked, “What type of democracy do we have? Is the PDP a communist party? Where is the place of internal democracy?”

According to Punch, he insisted that he would not be intimidated by such a decision and vowed not to be cowed. He wondered the type of democracy that was being practised by the PDP.

On Tuesday, Tafawa-Balewa stormed the party’s national secretariat with his supporters and bank tellers, with which he had hoped to purchase the presidential nomination and expression of interest forms.

The bank tellers indicated that he deposited N22m into the account of the party with Zenith Bank. The breakdown of the fees showed that he paid N20m as nomination fee and another N2m for the expression of interest form.

Rather than being issued his forms, the aspirant claimed that he was told by officials of the party that the forms were not ready. Yet the party will stop the selling of forms to all the aspirants on Thursday.

Tafawa-Balewa said he was told that all other forms were on sale except the presidential nomination and expression of interest forms.

He said, “I have paid for my forms. I was however told that they don’t have the forms ready. No matter, I am still here. I will send some of my people here on Thursday to come and pick the forms.”

He said he went to the office of the Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo, and National Organising Secretary, Alhaji Abubakar Mustapha, but was denied the forms.

Asked whether he was not aware that all the party organs had endorsed the President, Tafawa-Balewa said those organs were mere little organs of the party and were not superior to its Constitution.

Speaking on the refusal of the party to present her with her forms, Duke-Abiola, who is one of the widows of the late Chief MKO Abiola, described the action of the party as questionable.

Displaying the Diamond Bank Teller with which she paid her N2m to the party’s bank account, Duke-Abiola wondered why the party would issue her receipts and refused to sell the forms to her.
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