23 April 2002

Nigeria: There Will Be Open Primaries in PDP, Says Bode George

Lagos — Promises to deal with thuggery

Against the backdrop of insinuations that the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may impose some favoured candidates on its members preparatory to 2003 general elections, the National Vice Chairman of the party, Chief Bode George at the weekend said the party leadership would ensure an open primaries for the party wherefore members would have an array of choice to select their representatives at all levels.

Speaking at the event which also paraded all the aspirants of the party into various political offices, the PDP leader also noted that the party, ahead of next elections has begun to perfect moves to checkmating thuggery in the party. He maintained that the party leadership would not condone thuggery in whatever form and that whoever was found indulging in such act would be severely dealt with.

While addressing hundreds of party faithful who attended the rally which held in Lagos Island, Ibeju-Lekki and Eti-Osa, George who spoke in the Yoruba language said "I want to appeal to you Lagosians not to fight one another. The people we want to fight is the AD, so we should exercise patience. And whoever indulges in thuggery will be disqualified. Whoever is out to foment trouble will be sent away.

"However, we promise a level playing field for all the aspirants. There will be an open primaries, no one will be imposed on the party. So, let them go and work. And whoever wins will be supported financially and with everything needed. But let every individual go and work for their success. Now that you know them all, vote the right person", he stated.

Prominent amongst the paraded aspirants were Eng. Funsho Williams, Chief Olorunfunmi Basorun, Prince Demola Adeniji-Adele, Alhaja Sinatu Ojikutu and Babatunde Hakeem Animashaun for gubernatorial race. For the Senate, the PDP paraded Maria Sokenu, Gboyega Openiyi and Kofo Olugbesan. Demola Seriki and Emmanuel Adenigba were presented for the federal House of Representatives.

Continuing, the party leadership, for the Chairmanship election in Lagos Island, presented Chief Tunde Olorogun, Eng. Lateef Onikoyi, Saheed Salawe, Owolabi Olorunoje and Akinola Ali Balogun just as it presented Adebayo Philip and Wewe Yusuf for the state's House of Assembly and councillorship respectively.

The activity, according to programme is expected to run through the week. It started last Thursday with a meeting of all the stakeholders at the party secretariat in Ikeja. THISDAY gathered that the week long event was a formal launch of the party's campaign towards next elections, though the national vice chairman did not mention such, events at the rally however pointed towards that direction.

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