Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
From Jude Okwe in Calabar
Chairman of the Cross River State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Ekpo Okon, has said President Goodluck Jonathan should not be crucified over his proposed six-year single term tenure for the executive positions.
Okon said yesterday in an exclusive interview with THISDAY that the idea was not novel to Jonathan but inherited it from his late predecessor, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
According to him: “Six-year single term for the executive is a proposal of late President Umaru Yar’Adua. Jonathan only dusted it up.”
He however said he was comfortable with the idea of a singe term of six years for the executive as that would make them focused in governance.
“To me a single term is preferable as it makes the chief executive to remain focused. Second term quest distracts attention and affects government development programmes. Anybody truly on a genuine mission in governance will in six years deliver all his programmes,” he defended.
The state party chairman also commented on fears that Nigeria’s Ambassador to Mali, Chief Soni Abang, might challenge Governor Liyel Imoke in the forthcoming governorship elections in the state.
Okon said the aspiration of Abang would not threaten the unity of the party in the State as speculated by some people.
He however said: “For now Abang’s gubernatorial ambition remains a rumour to the party since he is yet to inform the party officially. Whenever he chooses to do so, the PDP will not quake nor will the party suffer defeat in the rescheduled April 14, 2012 polls.
“If the former state chairman of our party decides to purchase expression of interest form to run for the office of governor, it will not portray the PDP as not being intact. Any member of the party is free to contest for that office. The primary election will decide who picks the ticket.
“We must be careful not to be driven by rumour or speculation over somebody’s political aspiration. I should be able to speak on concrete issues and not idle gossip. I have heard of his aspiration but I consider it a rumour until he picks the expression of interest form. And until he purchases that form for that purpose, I consider it a rumour.”
He however acknowledged that the concern of the party was how it would remain one indivisible family after the primaries if a fresh one was ordered by the national executive of the PDP, stressing that the PDP in the state had always had a way of resolving its post-primaries misgivings.
The chairman revealed that apart from the 1999 governorship primary between Mr. Donald Duke and Chief Kanu Agabi, which was a 50-50 race, his party had not again conducted any primaries that had shaken its foundation and threatened its unity ahead of the elections proper.
According to him, since the party was greater than any individual or group of individuals, Abang can do little or nothing to rock the boat given that the PDP as an institution had been strengthened to weather the storm and appealed to those beating the drums of war to stop forthwith.
“We cannot change course now because we have a winning team. If another aspirant comes up, we will assess him or her vis-à-vis Imoke. The clouds may hover but finally we will have our sun shine. The PDP remains the party to beat in this state”, he said.