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How Jonathan Crushed Atiku

Hire-wire politics and last minute intensive lobbying of the delegates by governors of the Peoples Democratic Party was what eventually gave victory to President Goodluck Jonathan at the presidential primary of the party on Thursday, investigation has revealed.
According to sources, part of the strategy used by the governors to ensure that their delegates did not disappoint was the tagging of ballot boxes and the close monitoring of delegates by their highly trusted aides.
Aides of the governors were said to have monitored the delegates, even up to the point of voting.  “I was under instruction to monitor the movements of our delegates, since we entered the venue of the convention and that is what I am doing now,” a governor’s aide said on Thursday at the Eagle Square.
Another tactic employed for close monitoring was to ensure that all their delegates were kept in hotels of their choice and at their expense on arrival in Abuja.  

When message went round on Wednesday that Atiku was desperately making efforts to meet the delegates in their hotels, sources said the delegates were quickly told to relocate to their various governors’ lodges in Asokoro for a meeting with Jonathan.
“The delegates were told that the president wanted to address them, since he was unable to meet some of them during his various campaign tours.
“It was as a result of this that all the delegates assembled at their governors’ lodges. This made it nearly, if not impossible, for Atiku to have access to them,” said the source.
It was gathered that when emissaries were later sent to the delegates by Atiku for a meeting with him at Chida Hotel, some of them agreed in principle, but the liaison officers in the governors’ lodges were directed to ensure that the delegates did not leave the place.
Said the sources: “It was well arranged for Jonathan to meet the delegates at their governors’ lodges almost on an hourly basis.
“For states without PDP governors, residence of ministers representing them in the cabinet served as meeting points. The delegates from Oyo State who were kept at the Prince and Princess Suits in Wuse Zone 7 waited till very late to see the president.
“The last batch of delegates addressed by the president was from Imo State. The governors closely marked the delegates to ensure that Atiku was denied complete access to them.
“So, with this, it was the minimal contact Atiku had with the delegates that gave him those few votes.”
The source said further that the tagging of the ballot boxes was a strategy used to keep delegates in line.
“This was the tactic Atiku introduced during the 2003 delegate convention to track delegates that did not vote for the Obasanjo/Atiku ticket.
“This time around, it was effectively used against Atiku. All the ballot boxes were tagged with the names of the various states.
“Where delegates voted against Jonathan, the ballots were traced back to their states during counting because of the tagging. Accordingly, ballot papers were discovered in states where they were not supposed to be,” said the source.
It was gathered that Atiku’s campaign director, Senator Ben Obi had earlier complained about tagging to the electoral team, saying it was undemocratic.
The chairman, Special Convention Electoral Panel, Prof. Tunde Adeniran was said to have received the complaint with a promise to look into it, but it was never done before the commencement of balloting.
Another issue that contributed to the victory of the president was his persistent reminder to the PDP governors, especially those seeking re-election that he had done what they wanted by ensuring that they get fresh tickets.
A governor from the Northwest said: “The president kept reminding us that the ball was in our court and that we should not betray him.
“Each time he met us, he reminded us of the promise we made to him and the need to keep our own side of the bargain. He told us that even Saraki (Kwara State governor) had promised to deliver his delegates.”
It was gathered that Saraki, one of the proponents of zoning, ditched Atiku in a last minute deal with Jonathan, “when he sensed that the president would coast home to victory.”
Kwara delegates gave Jonathan 61 votes, while Atiku got 26 votes. Details of the deal between Jonathan and Saraki were not known as at press time.
Another governor said that they resolved to back Jonathan because they had been working with him for some time, while they were yet to understand Atiku.
“It is better to continue with the person we know than changing or jumping from pillar to post,” said the governor who pleaded for anonymity.
One notable observation at the convention ground was the foreign currency (US Dollars, Euros and Pounds) changing hands, but the source could not be traced.
Meanwhile, Atiku yesterday formally reacted to the outcome of Thursday’s Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential primary won by President Goodluck Jonathan, saying he had started consulting his supporters and other stakeholders and would be making a pronouncement on the result soon.
Atiku’s position contrasted sharply with his ally in the northern consensus arrangement, former military President Ibrahim Babangida, who congratulated the president for his landslide victory.
This is just as the Jonathan/Sambo Presidential Campaign Organisation said there was neither victor nor vanquished in the presidential primary that produced Jonathan and Vice President Namadi Sambo as the party’s candidate and running mate for the April presidential election.
Atiku in a press statement said the outcome of these consultations would determine his next line of action and assured that he remains irrevocably committed to a “democratic Nigeria based on democratic processes.”
The statement from the Atiku Campaign Organisation said part of the former vice president’s consultations would include briefings by his agents “who declined to sign the final results on account of lapses observed during the Thursday primaries.”
The statement said the former vice president “remains committed to entrenching democratic governance, rule of law, and the democratic process.”
Atiku thanked the PDP for the platform it provided for the contest. He also thanked delegates, supporters, campaign staff and well wishers and assured all of them that he still has a lot to offer and that it was not time to write him off.
However, the Jonathan/Sambo Campaign Organisation has said that the president’s victory was not just for the PDP but for all Nigerians.
The organisation said the president had already extended the olive branch to other presidential aspirants to come on board the new train to transform Nigeria.
“We are humbled by this overwhelming victory. The victory is not for Jonathan/Sambo alone. It is for all Nigerians.
“We thank God for this peaceful exercise and we urge all Nigerians to come on board,” said the campaign organisation.
It stated further that Jonathan has so far demonstrated sincerity and tenacity of purpose and would not disappoint Nigerians in the task ahead.
The campaign organisation thanked PDP delegates and Nigerians for his endorsement and urged them to keep hope alive.
The organisation also expressed optimism that Jonathan would spread development to every part of the country, adding, “under Jonathan/Sambo, no part of Nigeria would be marginalized or denied in the scheme of things.”
In his reaction to the outcome of the presidential primary, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who was asked by reporters what he thought of the primary, said he was still laughing regarding the aspiration of Atiku, his former deputy.
“I still dey laugh o,” Obasanjo remarked as his driver quickly drove off from the venue of the primary in Abuja.


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Posted by on Jan 15 2011. Filed under Party Politics, Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP). You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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