PDP Declares 2019 Presidential Ticket Open for All


• Rejects Osinbajo panel on herdsmen-farmers’ conflict

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has declared that none of its established organs will anoint a presidential aspirant ahead of the 2019 general election.
This is just as the party has rejected what it described as a belated response to the incidence of herdsmen-farmers’ bloody conflicts in the country, leading to the slaughter of hundreds of people. It described the decision to set up a committee headed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo as pretentious.

The party also condemned the alleged double standards exhibited by the federal government in feigning ignorance over the massive corruption going on in the management of the fuel subsidy scheme, which it had declared non-existent while at the same time billions of naira was being deducted monthly from oil proceeds that should have been paid to the Federation Account.

In a communiqué issued after a meeting between the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) and the governors elected on its platform in Asaba, the Delta State capital, which was jointly signed by the national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, and the chairman of PDP Governors’ Forum, Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State, the party restated that its platform was open to all Nigerians aspiring for various elective offices, including the presidency.

“We commend members of our party for their unalloyed support. We reiterate that our repositioned party is prepared for the 2019 elections and will ensure that all Nigerians aspiring to elective offices are free to contest on the platform of the PDP.
“We want to assure that no established organ of the party is allowed to align with any presidential aspirant. We thank the people and government of Delta State for playing host to this all-important meeting,” it said.

On the incessant killings by suspected herdsmen, the party said that President Muhammadu Buhari must take responsibility for the protection of lives and property of Nigerians, describing this as the most important of his responsibilities.

The communiqué also commended members of the party and well-meaning Nigerians for their unalloyed support in the repositioning of the party for the 2019 elections, while assuring them that its platform was open to all Nigerians as a level playing field for anyone to aspire even to the highest position in the country.
“We strongly condemn the unabated killings across the country. We call on Mr. President to come out clean on the herdsmen killings and address the nation on how to end the carnage.
“The president must take responsibility for the protection of lives and property of Nigerians, which is the most important of his responsibilities.

“We believe that the federal government’s decision to set up a committee to address the issues of herdsmen killings is a pretentious approach to a matter that requires firm action and leadership by the president, in line with his oath of office to protect all Nigerians irrespective of creed, tribe and political affiliation,” the party said.

The PDP leaders also condemned attempts by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to use what it termed its phoney restructuring agenda to once again beguile Nigerians ahead of the 2019 polls.
The opposition party said that it had mandated its members in the National Assembly to immediately commence the process of initiating a bill to address issues bordering on the restructuring of the country.

Apart from asking the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to obey court judgments and orders in respect of its handling of the probe of Ekiti State Government’s finances, PDP said it was vehemently opposed to the unilateral withdrawal of $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) by the federal government under any guise.
“We want to state unequivocally that neither the Nigerian Governors’ Forum nor the National Economic Council has the power of appropriation of the Federation Account, as such powers reside with the National and State Assemblies,” the party stated.