There are indications that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would bar some of its presidential aspirants, who have graft cases from participating in the primary scheduled for October 5-6.
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Daily Sun gathered yesterday that some top shots in the PDP are strongly canvassing that anyone with graft case or any criminal charge should not be allowed to fly the PDP presidential flag in 2019.
A former member of the PDP National Working Committee (NWC), who declined to be named because he was not authorised to speak on the matter, reiterated the party is desirous of fielding a candidate without blemish in 2019.
“There are some of these aspirants who have cases with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and other anti-corruption agencies.
“Some cases bordering on graft, embezzlement, money laundering and all of that. We want a presidential candidate from the PDP that will be as white as snow, so that the issue of blackmail and all of that will not arise.
“So, we should be looking at someone who has credibility, integrity and the rest of that because the APC government is out to run down anybody that has skeleton in its cupboards. We must try to avoid those pitfalls.”
Similarly, another leader of the PDP in Adamawa State, who also declined to be named, told Daily Sun that it is in the interest of the opposition party not to field any candidate with any encumbrances in 2019.
“The PDP should stop anybody who has a charge against him. Either corruption or any criminal matter. PDP should not field him for two reasons. One, because of image. The image the public has of the PDP today is that it is a corrupt party. If we field people who are standing trial for corruption, then, we are going ahead to admit or indicate to the Nigerian people that our party that we are not ready to change.
“Yes, the Constitution says until you are found guilty, you are innocent. We understand. But, the fact that you have a corruption case, and you have been charged in a court of law, and you pleaded not guilty; there is a possibility that you can be convicted.
“There is a moral burden on the party to prove that it is not what people think it is. We, therefore, said we must make sure that it does not field anybody with corruption charge. PDP must secure its participation in the election. If you field somebody standing trial in court, you finish nomination in October, finish substitution in November; you still have November, December, January and February before the presidential election.