Former military president Ibrahim Babangida has said the consensus arrangement that allowed Alhaji Bamanga Tukur to emerge as PDP national chairman was an undemocratic process.
Tukur became chairman of the People's Democratic Party unopposed after all other candidates announced a last-minute withdrawal from the race on March 24.
Babangida, who spoke on the Hausa service of the Voice of America radio monitored yesterday, said the consensus deal was no democracy.
"A situation where some people would sit and select someone by consensus is undemocratic," he said.
A few days to the PDP national convention, Tukur had lost ground to main rival Dr. Musa Babayo, who was chosen as Northeast candidate for the post. But Babayo and other candidates withdrew on voting day following reported pressure from President Jonathan's men who preferred Tukur.
Also, all the positions for the national working committee were filled by the so-called consensus after other contestants announced withdrawal from the races.
Babangida said in true democracy, all interested people were allowed to contest for elective positions without hindrance, such that losers would know they lose fairly.
"If we could remember it was in this country we have seen there was an election in Kano, for example, during NPN regime, there was an election between Abiola and Akinloye," he said.
"There was convention and everyone was given chance to go round for campaign and stated all their missions and visions for the development of the people and votes were cast and in the end Akinloye won.
"Even in the United Nations, if there are people, let's say 10, contesting for a particular position, all those 10 people will be allowed to contest. The highest three for example will go for second round up to the time when one person will emerges as winner. That way, everyone has been given a chance.
"But in something like what happens now, people will be suspicious and there would accusations that some people were given money. So if 20 people show interest, (the party should) provide 20 ballot boxes, and in this process the winner will emerge even after the second or third round," he added.
Babangida sought to be PDP presidential candidate for last year's elections, but dropped out of the race before the primaries after an arrangement in which former vice president Atiku Abubakar was named consensus candidate for the North. Abubakar went on to lose the primaries to President Jonathan in January last year.
Despite his criticism of the ruling party's leadership selection process, Babangida said in the VOA interview that he was still a member of the PDP.
The former president also spoke about how political parties are run today compared to what obtained in the First Republic when he said parties were run by members.
He said, "I grew up in this country, and I experienced that at the time of NPC, NEPU and so on, you will see people are sponsoring the party. Someone like Malam Aminu Kano, he will donate penny and pound to the party and they collect and write his name and the date he paid the donation to the party and with this money they run the affairs of the party. But now things have changed."
Bamanga's aide replies IBB
One of the aides to Bamanga Tukur, Malam Ahmed Shuaibu Gara, said yesterday that Babangida's comments on the PDP consensus arrangement were belated and unfortunate.
In an interview with Daily Trust, Gara said the emergence of Tukur through consensus was better than a military coup, apparently referring to the manner through which IBB became president in 1985.
He said the 10 other candidates for PDP chairmanship "voluntarily" withdrew for Tukur on the convention day.
Gara said, "If that statement that is coming from the former Head of State is on print and not on electronic, I would have said he was misquoted. But the airwaves don't lie. After listening to what he said, I was shocked.
"If IBB is complaining about the process that brought Bamanga Tukur to office now, then it's belated. He could have reacted earlier than now. Also, what does he gain to achieve by this statement: that PDP should go back and do another convention or to go back and review the process because the Almighty emperor has spoken?
"I believe the worst consensus in any democratic arrangement is far better and more honourable than a military coup. He is an architect of a military coup; a beneficiary of a military coup.
"I will like to say that the last PDP convention that produced Bamanga Tukur is one of the most organised, most keenly contested and most interesting PDP convention in history. The convention that produced about 13 chairmanship aspirants and all of them voluntarily withdrew for Tukur.... This time around, the candidates were given free hand."
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