#However, Bayelsa Governor says the endorsement is line with international practice of right of first refusal
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has condemned the endorsement of President Goodluck Jonathan as the sole candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for next year’s presidential election to the exclusion of all other candidates, describing the endorsement as a mockery of democracy.
Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, however, explained that the action of the PDP was aimed at “institutionalising the right of first refusal for an incumbent President”.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Wednesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the APC said the endorsement has come at a great price to Nigerians, considering the obvious deals that were struck to make President Jonathan the sole PDP candidate.
It said the parody of democracy that the endorsement represents has exposed the shameless hypocrisy of the PDP, which is ever so eager to accuse other parties of lacking in internal democracy.
‘’Obviously, those fellows in the PDP have never heard of the saying that those who must come to equity must come with clean hands. PDP, where is your own internal democracy now that you have turned your party into a fiefdom controlled by one and only one person only?
‘’While endorsements are part and parcel of democracy, they are never done to the exclusion of other candidates. This is simply not democratic.
“When then candidate Barrack Obama was endorsed by his party’s bigwigs to contest the U.S. Presidency, the party never excluded Hillary Clinton from its primaries. That’s how it is done,’’ APC said.
The party said the price being paid for Jonathan’s endorsement by Nigeria is simply too heavy, considering that the PDP Governors who spearheaded the endorsement have now secured perpetual immunity from prosecution by anti-graft bodies, including the EFCC and the ICPC.
It also said it has ensured the automatic tickets for all first-term PDP Governors, whether or not they have performed, the automatic tickets for all PDP Governors running for the Senate as well as the free ride back to the Upper Chamber for Senate President David Mark.
‘’It is now an Open Sesame for the PDP Governors, who have no prying anti-corruption agencies watching over their shoulders. They can now simply see the commonwealth as an extension of their deep pockets.
“The endorsement is also a vote of approval for the proceeds of corruption that have been powering the noisy and outrageous Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN),’’ it said.
APC accused President Jonathan of desecrating the country’s democracy because of his desperation for re-election.
However, Governor Dickson while speaking on Tuesday evening in Yenagoa during an interactive session with members of the Federated Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Bayelsa State Council, said the concept of the right of first refusal had a lot of advantages for the nurturing of a sound political culture for the country.
He said the institutionalisation of the right of first refusal to a sitting President would reduce political tension and eliminate in-fighting for the presidential ticket of political parties.
The governor said the adoption of Jonathan by the party’s leadership was being misunderstood by the media and the opposition parties as “sole candidacy”.
He insisted that every incumbent President who wants to contest for second term should have the express liberty to exercise the right to first refusal.
“It is not a declaration of sole candidacy. The term sole candidacy connotes a far cry from what we have done. What we have done is to stabilise the political system,” he said.