Ahead of the June 9 inauguration of the National Assembly, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday said it has no choice candidate for the post of senate president and deputy senate president and has given leeway to its members in the federal legislature to decide on their own who to support.
Former governor of Kwara state, Senator Bukola Saraki and Senator Ahmed Lawan from Yobe state, are the two major contenders for the senate presidency.
Briefing newsmen at the end of the weekly National Working Committee meeting, PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, said the party has opted to allow the lawmakers make their choice without any interference from its national leadership.
According to him, “The PDP has decided to tell Nigerians that the party has no candidate for the position of senate president and deputy senate president. What is important to the PDP at this critical time is how it can reposition to form a credible opposition party to offer alternatives and options to Nigerians on the policies and programmes of the ruling party.
“We are at present more worried about the heinous plot of some elements in the ruling party to influence membership of tribunals in order to attempt to upturn the victory of PDP in certain states. That is our focus and that is our worry.
“On the issue of the National Assembly, we believe that senators are mature, experienced, exposed and they hold the mandate of their people and we believe that the election of the senate president and deputy senate president should be left to members of our party to decide on their own.
“We have no candidate. I repeat, we have no candidate for the position of senate president and deputy senate president. We have made it quite clear. Ours is just to form a formidable opposition to handle alternatives and options.”
Metuh added that PDP learn a political lesson from the emergence of Aminu Tambuwal as speaker of the House of Representatives in 2011 against the zoning arrangement of the party.
“We believe that with what has happened to us in the past especially with the last House of Representatives, with the party’s position, they say once beaten twice shy, we have been beaten before. They have shown that the National Assembly members are capable of taking decisions on their own,” he said.
He stated that the PDP was not aware of those contesting the National Assembly positions and was not even interested as it was a matter for ruling APC.
“Whatever is happening with the ruling party, they are in charge of the country right now, we believe that their vision, their activities and their programmes and policies, time should be given to them to come up with it,” he added.
Metuh also shed light on why the PDP has been moderate in commenting on the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari saying the new government needs the support of every Nigerian to stabilize.
“We don’t want to cry, make noise or complain fervently, the success of President Buhari is the success of the entire Nigeria, it would mean the progress of our democracy. The party is not interested in wishing them ill.”
“We cannot dabble into their affairs. They are in charge of the country, they should be left to handle the affairs of the country in terms of how they are doing it.
“We don’t know who they are bringing for candidates, we don’t know what their plans are, we don’t even know how they plan to make one dollar to one naira, we don’t know the 25 million people they are going to pay the N5000 (monthly). We cannot select for the ruling party, the APC, the 25 million that they will pay the N5000 to. We cannot select for them.”
“Nigerians expect that we should allow this government to settle down before can start saying these are our alternatives, these are our options. It is not to be abusing or insulting the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“And for some of our supporters, they might think we are slow, they might think that we are a bit weak, they might think that we lack courage, but it is in the overall interest of this party that we align with the expectations of the majority of Nigerian people. That is what will bring us back.
“He (Buhari) has not even formed his cabinet, he has not even told us of his policies, let the president settle down. We will not engage him. The only thing we can do is that after one week, we will check the mileage, one month we will clock mileage of democracy, six months we will do that, one year, and so on. And we will assess the progress they have made and what happened during the PDP government and our policies and Nigerians will decide on their own which party is the best to progress democracy in this country,” he stated.

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