****Northern PDP commences search for candidate
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced yesterday that campaigns for the 2019 presidential and National Assembly elections will commence on November 18 this year.
The commission also said that the campaigns for the governorship and the state assemblies’ elections will commence on December 1, 2018.
Speaking at a press conference to roll out the activities for the 2019 elections, INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, said the presidential elections is about 401 days from today, adding that 1,585 election would be conducted into various offices in 2019.
He noted: “Publication of notice of election for National and State Elections starts 17 August 2018, FCT Area Council Elections, 3rd September 2018. Collection of nomination forms by political parties: National and State elections, 11th – 24th August 2018, FCT area council elections, 3rd – 10 Sept 2018.
“Conduct of party primaries, including the resolution of disputes arising from primaries: National and States elections, 18th August 2018 – 7th October 2018, FCT Area Council elections, 4th September – 27th October 2018.
“Commencement of campaign by political parties: Presidential and National Assembly, 18 November 2018, Governorship and State Assembly 1st December 2018while FCT Area Council Elections starts 2 December 2018”.
Yakubu further noted that the last day for submission of nomination forms to INEC for the presidential and National Assembly candidates is on December 3, 2018, while December 14 2018 is the last day for governorship, state assembly and FCT area council elections.
“The last day for campaigns: Presidential and National Assembly, 14th February 2019; Governorship, State Assembly and FCT Area Council Elections, 28th February, 2019”, he further said.
INEC had on March 9, 2017 announced the dates for the 2019 general election in a clear departure from past practice when dates were announced few days to elections.
Meanwhile, as momentum for the 2019 general election gathers, Northern leaders in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have commenced the search for who will fly the party’s presidential flag in 2019.
Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), Sen Walid Jibrin, who disclosed this yesterday while receiving members of a PDP group, Ward-2-Ward, added that former governors and lawmakers who left the PDP in the build up to 2015 general election will soon return to the opposition party.
Describing the return of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to PDP as a good omen for the party, the BoT chairman urged Senate President Bukola Saraki, Sen Musa Kwankwaso; Sokoto State governor, Waziri Tambuwal and other lawmakers to return to the party.
Jibrin who met with the group at PDP’s annex office in Maitama also said the BoT has set up a 9-member reconciliation committee to address divisions within its ranks, which arose from the December 9, national convention.
He further prayed that the fresh PDP does not see the light of day, adding that the party has suffered enough from internal wrangling.
Speaking however on the effort of the North to produce the party’s candidate, Jibrin said “All of us as a party, we agreed that the president of Nigeria should come from the North. I enjoin you to support the North to bring and give you a very capable president; never a no do well president, a good qualitative president.
“We are all doing what we can in the North with all the leaders to identify who is the best candidate to rule this country; the best person that will take away power from the ruling party because 2019 is our own; 2019 is for PDP.
“The bad omen we have experienced in the past through artificial tsunami will not repeat itself. Those who were moved by that tsunami have already gone.”
Urging Saraki and other APC members who defected in 2014 to return to PDP, Jibrin noted: “The coming of Atiku back to this party, whether we like it or not, is a good omen for the party. By boldly coming back to his home, it is a good omen.
“When Atiku left the APC, he did it peacefully unlike some others, who left our party and tore our party card. He didn’t do that and that is why I am congratulating the APC for somebody not tearing their card.
“We are also expecting a big return of some of our former governors, our National Assembly members and very renowned party followers. And when this is done, which will be done very quickly, the party will now come to its stable stand.
“We should encourage anybody who has left us to come back and reunite with us. We will not hate anyone or deprive anybody. It is a good omen for this party that we should receive people.
“We are therefore calling on the present Senate President Saraki, Kwankwaso and all our former legislators who have left this party to come back quickly. When they come back, then we shall all come together and look at the issue of leadership. Who wants to become the president of Nigeria will now depend on all of us. We all will decide who will be the president of Nigeria and we have set the machinery already”.
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