President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday submitted himself to the Presidential screening committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) where his credentials and other political qualifications that will enable him contest the party ticket were perused.
The President’s screening, however, was a matter of formality, as the party’s organs have adopted him, as the chosen candidate for the election.
In the same vein, the committee also screened his challenger, Jelil Tafawa Balewa, who is seeking the PDP presidential ticket.
The party presidential primary is slated for January 10 and 11.
The President arrived the PDP national secretariat at about 3:15 pm to a rousing welcome as party National Working Committee (NWC) members had formed a guard of honour to welcome him.
Other members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), who accompanied him, also joined the waiting NWC members before the President disembarked from his vehicle.
However, Balewa on Wednesday announced his withdrawal from the presidential race in honour of President Jonathan.
In a dramatic move, Balewa, who participated in the presidential screening exercise at the party’s secretariat, decided to withdraw from the race after he had gone through the screening exercise.
The news of his withdrawal was broken, as the PDP National Working Committee gave clearance to all Governorship aspirants in River State.
The screening committee for Rivers State had disqualified almost all the aspirants leaving former Education Minister, Nyesom Wike, as the only major aspirant to contest the PDP ticket.
Lancelot Anyanya, one of the aspirants initially screened out, mounted a spirited pressure on the party leadership asking for verifiable reasons why he should alongside others, not contest the PDP ticket.
The party unable to give any cogent reason for the disqualification reviewed their cases and gave them a clean bill.
Unlike what used to be the norm, the premises of the PDP national secretariat were not cleared of persons and vehicles, which usually heralded the arrival of the President.
As much as his security details tried to shield the president away from cheering crowd, the president took his time under the scorching sun, to exchange pleasantries with party members.
President Jonathan, who was at the party national secretariat in the company of his vice, Namadi Sambo, Akwa Ibom state governor, Godswill Akpabio and other members of his cabinet spend about an hour with screening committee headed by former National Chairman of the party, Dr. Ahmadu Ali.
Source: Daily Independent