Scramble for PDP Tickets Rakes in N3.5bn

2010-10-25
THISDAY Newspaper- Chuks Okocha

Ten days into the sale of nomination and expression of interest forms by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party to aspirants seeking to contest various political offices across the country, has fetched the party over N3.5 billion from the exercise, investigations by this newspaper have revealed.

Also yesterday, Plateau State deputy governor, Mrs. Paulen Tallen submitted the PDP governorship nomination form to contest against her principal, Governor Jonah Jang who also submitted his own form the same day in Abuja.
The expression of interest by the Plateau contestants to slug it out, coincided with the formal launch yesterday of the re-election bid by the Delta Sate governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, who called on the people of the state to give him the mandate to “consolidate on his three-pronged development agenda for the state.”

The sale of the nomination and expression of interest forms commenced last week with five presidential aspirants - President Goodluck Jonathan, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, former National Security Adviser Moha-mmed Aliyu Gusau, former military president Ibrahim Babangida, and Governor Bukola Saraki of Kwara State - paying N11 million each to the PDP for their respective forms.


The PDP is using six banks for the collection of the fees - Sky Bank Plc, Unity Bank Plc, Intercon-tinental Bank Plc, Oceanic Bank Plc, Access Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc and United Bank for Africa Plc.

“From preliminary reports reaching the PDP headquarters in Abuja, about N1.4 billion was collected in the first few days of the exercise through the six banks selected to collect the nomination and expression of interest fees from the aspirants,” a PDP official who pleaded for anonymity said yesterday.

The source said Kogi State alone accounted for N137.5 million of the total amount so far collected by the PDP, with all the 23 gubernatorial aspirants from the state paying N126.5 million for their nomination and expression of interest forms.
Former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation Bayo Ojo; former Deputy Chief of Staff to Atiku, Sola Akanmode; and Nicholas Ugbane, were among the numerous gubernatorial aspirants from Kogi State who paid the nomination and expression of interest fees.

“It is a booming market for our party. Everybody wants our forms. We are yet to get full briefings from the banks appointed for the collection of the fees. But from the preliminary reports so far sent, we have earned over N3.5 billion,” said the PDP official.
PDP fixed the fee for the presidential nomination form at N10 million plus N1 million for the expression of interest form. The governorship nomination form is N5 million plus N500,000 for the expression of interest form.

Senatorial aspirants are expected to pay N2 million for their nomination forms plus N200,000 for expression of interest forms, while aspirants to the House of Represent-atives are expected to pay N1.2 million for nomination and expression of interest forms.

State House of Asse-mbly aspirants will pay N500,000 for nomination forms and N100,000 for expression of interest forms.
The deadline for the return of nomination and expression of interest forms has not yet been determined by the PDP following the request by the Independent National Electoral Commission for a shift in date for the 2011 election.
In 2006, PDP made over N4 billion from the sale of nomination/expression of interest forms for aspirants seeking to contest on its platform.

This year, its officials expect the amount to be much higher, with some stating that the amount will go a long way in funding electioneering activities by the party for the 2011 election.
In a related development, the crisis rocking the Plateau State chapter of the PDP may be over following the removal of Professor Dakum Shown as its chairman. He was dropped after a truce was reached by the factions in the Plateau PDP.

It was gathered that Jang and the National Chairman of the PDP Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo met with the factions led by Joshua Dariye and Senator Ibrahim Mantu over the issue and resolved that Prof. Shown, seen as the cause of the crisis, be dropped.
Jang’s faction was also asked to produce the next chairman, state treasurer, state organising secretary and state youth leader of the PDP in Plateau while the factions led by Dariye and Mantu will produce other members of the state executive of the party.

Also yesterday, Jang kicked off his re-election bid by submitting his nomination form at the PDP headquarters in Abuja. He declared that his chances of returning to the Jos Government Ho-use were bright.
Jang spoke against the backdrop of his deputy Paulen Tallen submitting the governorship form to contest against him.
Jang also promised to ensure that the 2011 elections in Plateau State are free and fair, adding that the election that brought him to office in 2007 was one of the best in the country.

Fidelis Tapgun, a former governor of the state, and former minister of sports Damishi Sango, were the other gubernatorial aspirants from Plateau State that submitted nomination forms yesterday. Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State also submitted his nomination form yesterday brimming with optimism.

“I am in for 2011. But the court will decide whether we will have a new election. No aspirant intimidates me. This is democracy and anybody interested can join the race,” he declared.
Governor Akwe Doma of Nasarawa State also submitted his nomination form yesterday, stating: “My sole candidate for the President of the federal Republic of Nigeria is Goodluck Jonathan,” leaving reporters wondering why he did not speak on his re-election bid.

Also, Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State submitted his nomination form yesterday.
Meanwhile, the Baba-ngida 2011 Presidential Campaign Organization has approved the appointment of Professor Isa Odidi as the Director in charge of Nigerians in the Diaspora.

By this appointment, Odidi will co-ordinate the affairs of Nigerians in the Diaspora for the Babangida campaign project, said the campaign organisation.

In a statement signed by the Director of Media and Publicity, Kassim Afe-gbua, Odidi is also expected to co-ordinate, mobilize, interact, and network all Nigerians in the Diaspora to enrich the Babangida campaign for the 2011 presidential election.
Meanwhile, in his declaration to recontest the 2011 governorship election, Governor Uduaghan called on all well-meaning people of Delta State to allow him to consolidate on his three-pronged development agenda.

He stressed that his administration has kept faith with its promise since assuming office on May 29, 2007, to “take Delta State to another, higher level” of socio-economic development by ensuring the prevalence of peace and security as well as transformation of human capital and infrastructure development of the state.

The governor, who was visibly excited at the demonstration of support by the mammoth crowd of jubilant party supporters, called on all members of the ruling party in the state who might have held back to come on board his campaign train towards the 2011 election.

He stressed that “no one today has any doubt that the PDP in the state is one.” The town of Sapele, the administrative headquarters of Sapele Local Government Area, where Uduaghan made the declaration yesterday, practically stood still as the entire town was overwhelmed by the unprecedented number of people that poured into the city for the momentous ceremony.
Hundreds of officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps, the police and other security personnel had a hectic time trying to mange the chaotic human and vehicular traffic.

It was clear that the security and traffic management team had grossly underestimated the volume of human and vehicular traffic that the town would witness during the event, earlier billed for the university town of Abraka.

Several persons who spoke, including Senator James Manager, House of Representatives member Hon Daniel Reyeineju, and the state commissioner for information Mr. Oma Djeba, said they were happy at the turn out for the event.
Djeba, who stressed that the PDP remained one, noted that even a blind man could read the writing on the wall regarding the overwhelming support for Uduaghan.

 

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