- Category: Politics
- Published on Tuesday, 14 December 2010 09:23
- Written by Admin
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MEMBERS of the Northern Political Leaders Forum (NPLF) may prevail on its consensus candidate, ex-Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, other presidential aspirants and party members in the North to leave the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) en masse if the presidential primaries are manipulated in favour of President Goodluck Jonathan, it was learnt Monday.
Besides, a legal team of the NPLF has been placed on standby for Atiku Abubakar to return to court to seek the interpretation of the verdict of the High Court, Federal Capital Territory, on zoning.
These positions formed a major plank of a secret meeting by the NPLF leaders at the Tafawa Balewa Guest House last Thursday (December 9) in Angwa Rimi, Kaduna.
The session, which started at about 11.30 am, ended at about 1.40pm.
According to findings, the NPLF leaders decided to support ex-President Ibrahim Babangida’s position in a letter he sent to the National Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo.
A document obtained by our correspondent indicated that the Northern leaders were unhappy that the PDP leadership is "not creating a level-playing ground for all the aspirants, going by the developments in the party and in the House of Representatives on the Electoral Act."
Some of the elders were said to have also admitted that they have strong suspicion of moves to "manipulate the presidential primaries". They gave no details.
A few others were alleged to have come up with suggestions on how to "stop Jonathan at all cost".
The document reads: "Participants at the meeting resolved that the decision taken by Babangida as reflected in the letter to the National Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, is the position of the group.
"They said they would follow the decision to its logical conclusion, such that should Mr. President eventually manipulate the planned PDP primaries/National Convention to his advantage, they would have no other alternative but to defect from the PDP en-masse to another political party, where they intend to slug it out with Mr. President at the 2011 general elections.
One of the leaders was said to have "thereafter enthused that there is no cause for alarm".
As one of its strategies, it was gathered that the NPLF legal team might go to court on behalf of the North’s consensus candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to seek the correct interpretation of the pronouncements of the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory, Justice Lawal Gunmi, on zoning, a policy of the party.
The NPLF has a four-man legal team, which has been defending its interest.
The document added: "Meanwhile, Atiku is expected to be meeting with his legal team any time from now, ostensibly to deliberate on the planned litigation against the PDP and Mr. President and to seek for the court’s interpretation of the zoning formula arrangement of the PDP."
Justice Gunmi had said that while zoning is binding on the party and its members, he could not stop the President from contesting the 2011 poll.
He said: "In this case, the constitution of the first defendant simply recognises zoning and rotation. It has not stated that any part of the country would hold the position of the president or any other party or public elective office for any specified period of time.
"For the court to, therefore, insist or order that only candidates from a particular zone should be sponsored when the constitution of the first defendant has not so defined terms and conditions is an invitation for the court to enter into the political thicket. Self restraint in matters such as this is a virtue the court must cultivate.
"Like the court, the National Caucus or the "Enlarged National Caucus" has no business with the internal policies of the party. If it did, it will be acting ultra vires and such an action is null and void. In all, the Constitution of the (PDP) does not even recognise the existence of an Enlarged National Caucus and any decision taken by that legally nonexistent body goes to naught."