Fresh crisis seems to be brewing in the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP as two presidential aspirants who had already paid the sum of N24million for the party’s presidential nomination and expression of interest forms were rejected on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at the national secretariat of the party in Abuja.
The two aspirants, Dr. Abdul-Jhalil Tafawa-Balewa and Prof. Akasoba Duke-Abiola had gone to the national secretariat to purchase the form but were turned back, Punch reports.
In September, the National Executive Council of the PDP had endorsed President Goodluck Jonathan as its sole presidential candidate in the forthcoming 2015 elections, a decision which some members frowned at, insisting they will contest the presidential primary with him.
Tafawa-Balewa, the son of Nigeria’s First Republic Prime Minister, the late Abubakar Tafawa-Balewa who was the first to arrive, stormed the secretariat with his supporters and bank tellers, which indicated he had deposited N22m into the party’s account Number 1012436478 with the Zenith Bank.
N20m was paid as nomination fee and another N2m for the expression of interest form.
He had come to the secretariat with hopes of purchasing the presidential nomination and expression of interest forms but rather than being issued the forms, he claimed to have told by officials of the party that the all other forms were on sale except the presidential nomination and expression of interest forms.
He said: “I have paid for my forms. I was however told that they don’t have the forms ready. No matter, I am still here. I will send some of my people here on Thursday to come and pick the forms.”
The second aspirant, Duke-Abiola, who is one of the widows of the late Chief MKO Abiola described the action of the party as questionable, while wondering why the party would issue her receipts and refuse to sell the forms to her.
She had her own teller which indicated she paid N2m to the party’s bank account with Diamond bank for expression of interest form as the nomination form was free for female aspirants.
She said: “I have the receipt from the party after paying my money. But they said they printed only one presidential nomination form, even though the guidelines do not say that.
“The NOS and the National Chairman said the party printed only one form. I asked that they should give the one they printed to me since I was there. They laughed and said whether I didn’t know who they printed it for. This is a fraud.”
She however said that she would not ask for a refund of her money, but that the party must sell the forms to her as she has already paid for them and there was vacancy in Aso Rock.
In his reaction, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Olisa Metuh, said he would need to find out from the National Organising Secretary, Alhaji Abubakar Mustapha, as he was not aware that the aspirants came.
“I will have to find out from the national Organising secretary, because I’m not directly involved in the selling of that forms. I’m only involved in the management of the image of the party,” he said.