Laleye Dipo in Minna
All presidential aspirants on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have agreed to sign an undertaking not to defect if they lose the primary election, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar said in Minna Thursday.
Atiku said the decision was taken in Abuja on Wednesday night when all the aspirants met with the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.
While answering questions from newsmen after addressing potential delegates and other stakeholders of the party at its secretariat, the former vice-president said the undertaking would also see the aspirants pledging to support the candidate of the party for the 2019 presidential election.
He said: “This is an issue that came up last night, we had our first meeting with members of the NWC.
“It was agreed that before the conduct of the primaries, there will be more meetings. In one of the meetings, we will sign an undertaking to support whoever emerges as candidate.
“We were assured of transparent primaries by the party.”
The presidential aspirant pledged that he would abide by whatever agreement reached, expressing confidence that he would emerge the candidate of the PDP for next year’s election.
“I have participated in a number of presidential primaries, at the end of the primaries I have always committed myself to supporting whoever that emerged, I don’t think it is going to be a different case this time around,” he said.
Atiku said his ambition to become Nigeria’s president had never been a do-or-die.
“I have always been motivated by service to the nation, I am not motivated by selfishness,” he said, adding: “My ability and my health will determine if I will continue to offer my service to this nation if I do not win the primaries.”
Confirming the meeting and agreement reached Thursday night, a THISDAY source that attended the meeting held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, and had 12 of the presidential aspirants in attendance, said it was led by the National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus.
The source added that the meeting had in attendance prominent aspirants including Atiku, Senate President Bukola Saraki, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, Alhaji Tanimu Turaki and former governors of Sokoto, Kaduna, Plateau and Kano State – Attahiru Bafarawa, Ahmed Makarfi, Jonah Jang and Ibrahim Shekarau respectively, among others.
According to him, the party prevailed on the presidential hopefuls to eschew negative utterances capable of hurting the electoral fortune of the PDP in the 2019 elections.
He told THISDAY: “By and large, we reminded them (aspirants) that whatever happens to the party, happen to all of us. We charged them to be civil in their utterances and reminded them that the world is watching how the party will come up with its presidential candidate.
“Perhaps, the biggest take-away from the meeting was the agreement entered into by all the aspirants to support whoever emerges winner of the sole ticket after the primaries. They assured us that they would stay put in the party regardless of the outcome of the primary election.”