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Nigeria’s Ruling Party to Begin Discussions Ahead of April’s Vote

  • Peter Clottey

A ruling PDP supporter

A ruling PDP supporter

The spokesman for Nigeria’s ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) told VOA top officials of the governing party will soon hold strategic discussions on its next line of action after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced next year’s presidential vote will be held on 9th April.

Rufai Ahmed Alkali said his party is determined to work with all stakeholders to ensure the presidential election is credible. The head of Nigeria's electoral commission, Attahiru Jega, also said parliamentary elections will be held on 2nd April.

“We will wait until we get the full brief and the details about the timetable, then the party will sit down and study the timetable and take a decision on what to do next,” he said.

The presidential election was previously scheduled for January. Alkali said his party is confident in winning the 9th April presidential vote.

Nigerian lawmakers recently approved a constitutional amendment that allowed the poll to be postponed until April. The electoral commission had asked for more time to correct voter lists.

On Monday, a group of influential northern politicians endorsed presidential challenger former vice president Atiku Abubakar.

Political observers say the move could potentially create a split within the ruling party. But, Alkali said the party is neutral about the party’s upcoming primary.

“We issued a short statement after we heard the report and the position is that we are aware that, as (the) election approaches, political actors in the country are likely to be strategizing on a number of ways to achieve their objectives. We, as a party, did not want to be dragged into controversies. We felt that we want to remain neutral,” he said.

Alkali further said his party will resolve all outstanding issues within the PDP ahead of next year’s elections.

PDP members are debating whether to nominate a Christian like Mr. Jonathan or a Muslim like Abubakar. The party has a custom of rotating the presidency between a northern Muslim and a southern Christian every two terms.

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