Ahead of the forthcoming governorship by-election in Adamawa State, the Presidency has said President Goodluck Jonathan will not impose any candidate on the Peoples Democratic Party or on the people of the state.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, said this in an interview on Friday.
Abati was reacting to reports that the Presidency was backing a former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, to clinch the party’s ticket.
The presidential spokesman said his antecedents, since assumption of office, had shown clearly that Jonathan was not favourably disposed to imposing his choice in any matter that has to do with democratic process.
He said because of the President’s strong belief in the fact that electoral integrity was critical to political stability, he would continue to encourage a free and fair process of electing leaders.
Abati said Jonathan would continue to defend the right of the people to choose their leaders, whether at party level or general elections, without undue interference.
He said, “By now, anybody who has been following the political process in the country would know that President Jonathan will not dictate on anything relating to democratic process.
“He is a defender of a free and fair process. Transparency and accountability are his watchwords. He believes that electoral integrity is at the heart of political stability.
“President Jonathan has consistently defended the right of the people to choose their own leaders, be it at the level of party primaries or at the level of the general elections. He has been very consistent because that remains one of the major achievements of this administration.
“This is not the President who dictates to anybody. He has the principle of transparency, accountability and due process. What I can do is to reiterate his stand.”
Ribadu, who recently defected to the PDP from the All Progressives Congress, is contesting for the party’s ticket alongside the likes of the state Acting Governor, Ahmadu Fintri; a former Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Mr. Ahmed Gulak; a former military administrator of Lagos State, Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa (retd.); Mohammed Modibbo; Mr. Marcus Gundiri; and Aliyu Kama.
Others are Dr. Umar Ardo, Mr. James Barka, Senator Andrawus Sawa, Senator Abubakar Halilu Girei, Dr. Idi Hong and Mr. Awwal Tukur.
Members of the National Working Committee of the PDP granted waivers to Ribadu, Marwa and Gundiri on Friday to enable them to contest in the party primary slated for September 6.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Olisa Metuh, told journalists that the people of the state would be left to pick their desired candidate.