John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Walid Jibrin, has stated that former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar will not be given an automatic ticket to contest the 2019 presidential election on the platform of the party.
According to him, the former vice-president was free to defect from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and return to the PDP but he should be prepared to struggle for the partyâ€™s presidential ticket with other aspirants.
THISDAY had exclusively reported that Atiku was in talks with PDP chieftains to return to the party, but had premised his return on the guaranty that he would secure the presidential ticket of the party to contest the 2019 election.
Ever since, the partyâ€™s stalwarts have been divided over his speculated return.
Speaking on the development, Jibrin said that the PDP was ready for Atikuâ€™s return and would welcome him and his supporters back to the partyâ€™s fold.
Jibrin, who spoke during an interview in Kaduna, said given the manner Atiku was being treated by the APC, he had no option than to return to the PDP ahead of 2019.
â€œWe are ready to accept him to our party but he should be ready to work for a waiver,â€ he said.
â€œThe North met in Abuja to say that any candidate from the North can contest. Let us get them. I think they are getting set now.
â€œFor now, we have a former governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau, former Jigawa State governor, Sule Lamido, a former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa, and so on, preparing to vie for the PDP presidential ticket.
â€œIf the PDP grants Atiku a waiver, he should join the cream of presidential aspirants in the party to fight for the ticket in 2019.
â€œIf the PDP considers Atiku for the automatic presidential ticket, what about those in the party who are showing interest? Should we throw them away? If he is coming, he should come as an equal partner.
â€œWe are ready to accept him. But he must follow the rules of the game. First, he must go through the primary like any other person and he must fight for the presidential ticket,â€ he added.