In an apparent flush of excitement at his recent adoption as sole candidate of Peoples Democratic Party for next year’s presidential election, President Goodluck Jonathan said yesterday in Lagos that the endorsement had given him the right of first refusal. Jonathan, who believed he now had the right to decide whether to accept or refuse the presidential ticket before it can be declared open for contest, applauded his party for the decision to adopt him, saying it is the practice in the advanced democracies.
But the opposition All Progressives Congress said the endorsement of Jonathan as the only candidate of PDP is a mockery of democracy. Speaking yesterday by telephone, APC’s national publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said, “Who then is afraid of internal democracy. It is not that endorsement is entirely bad but the apparent shutting out of other aspirants does not augur well for democracy.”
Mohammed said a worrisome dimension to the president’s endorsement was the allegation that some PDP governors were arm-twisted into submission by an assurance of non-prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission after their tenures. He added that under the deal, PDP also granted its governors automatic tickets to run for the senate next year, saying it is a dangerous development in the polity.