Lagos 2015: Obanikoro, Agbaje, other PDP leaders support primaries

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The Lagos chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its leaders, said on Saturday that the party would not adopt candidates for the various positions including governorship in the 2015 elections.

The Lagos chairman of the party, Tunji Shelle, spoke against the backdrop of the party’s adoption of President Goodluck Jonathan as its sole candidate for the 2015 presidential poll.

Mr. Shelle told the News Agency of Nigeria on the sidelines of the South-West sensitisation rally of the party in Lagos that the President’s emergence as a consensus candidate was different from the situation in Lagos State.

“The President is going for a second term and the party decided to let him continue and finish the good job he is doing.

“In Lagos State it is different. The PDP is not the party in power; therefore, all aspirants must go for primaries as it is the tradition of the party.

“There is no preferred aspirant. The candidate that would emerge would be decided by the party delegates,” he said.

Mr. Shelle disclosed that there were nine contenders for the governorship position in the state and hundreds of other aspirants for the other positions.

Also speaking, Musiliu Obanikoro, the Minister of State for Defence and a chieftain of the party, restated the party’s stand that there would not be handpicking of candidates in the state for the elections.

“Jonathan emerged as a consensus candidate because of the need to continue with his transformation agenda. There will still be a national convention of the PDP to endorse him.

“Lagos PDP is known for its transparent democratic process and we will not allow that to die,” he said.

A governorship aspirant, Babatunde Gbadamosi, also said that if primaries were not held it would be contrary to what the party was known for.

“Fairness and fair play makes even a looser happy. Having free and fair primaries will remove rancour among aspirants and their supporters.

“Whoever emerges among us must be seen to have emerged fairly. The issue of Mr President emerging as our candidate is understandable based on his excellent job.’’

For Jimi Agbaje, another governorship aspirant, primaries would strengthen the confidence of members in the party’s leadership.

“Democracy cannot survive without a level playing ground,” Mr. Agbaje said.

The PDP aspirants from across the South-West were seen competing for attention at the rally.

Supporters adorning different attires of their aspirants had a field day dancing round Tafawa Balewa Square, venue of the rally, with banners displaying their preferred aspirants.

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