3,700 Delegates to Decide Fate of 15 PDP Presidential Aspirants
•Intrigues as Bala Mohammed listed as Bauchi guber primary aspirant
•Tambuwal allegedly purchased senatorial election form
•Party will present leadership that will take Nigeria out of pains, Benue governor promises
The race for who will emerge the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has entered a new dimension as former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi; former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim and Publisher of Ovation Magazine, Chief Dele Momodu have intensified their respective campaigns.
THISDAY findings showed that their campaigns are channeled towards wooing 3,700 delegates comprising 40 per cent of statutory delegates and 60 per cent of elected delegates from the 740 local government areas and six area councils of the Federal Capital Territory.
The presidential convention of the party is expected to hold in Abuja on May 28th and 29th, with the leading aspirants intensifying their campaigns by meeting the party’s delegates across the country.
Some are also meeting delegates of the party who are former National Working Committee members.
Speaking on his campaigns, the former vice president said: “My consultative trips to Abia and Imo and engagements with PDP leaders and delegates affirm that a deliberate policy of inclusiveness, security and infrastructure will promote entrepreneurship and unleash the full potentials of the people of the states to their benefit and the benefit of the rest of Nigeria.
“I was honoured to have been part of the Atiku Town Hall Meeting earlier today in Abuja. The consensus is that if we can enthrone a regime of security and unity, it will pave the way for the economic policies that will usher in prosperity and economic development to take firm root. Together, we can get it done.”
Commenting after visiting Edo, Delta and Kogi delegates, Saraki said: “My social contract with Nigerians is my plan to begin fixing Nigeria from my very first day in office.
It’s not just talk, it highlights the actionable policies that my administration will embark on.”
However, THISDAY gathered that two of the presidential aspirants, one from the north-east and the other from the north-west are playing high powered politics having secretly obtained alternate forms to contest gubernatorial election and the senatorial election.
Findings showed that one out of the two presidential aspirants might appear before the screening committee for the governorship election in one of the states in the north-east and the other before that for senatorial election expected this week. The National Organising Secretary of the PDP, Hon Umar Bature is aware this development, THISDAY learnt. The governorship primary of the PDP is expected commence this week.
Reliable sources told THISDAY that it was because of one of the presidential aspirants’ double ambition that made Senator Ibrahim Abdullahi Danbaba who represents Sokoto South in the Senate to defect to the APC.
The senator representing Sokoto South had to defect to the APC to enable him recontest for the senatorial seat a second time.
Senator Danbaba had to defect because he learnt the PDP had allegedly reserved the senatorial ticket for the governor, Aminu Tambuwal, who is also a presidential aspirant.
The source said the National Organising Secretary of the PDP is part of the plan for a presidential aspirant to buy two forms, one as an alternative, if fails to secure the party’s presidential ticket.
A source in the PDP while commenting on the matter said: “Let me stress that the principle of double nomination has long been recognised by political parties as a safeguard against losing safe seats and states in crucial elections and under unique circumstances.
“It’s legal, legitimate and a wise strategic disposition by political parties and their key impact players.”
A similar thing is happening in Bauchi State, where the Governor, Bala Mohammed’s name is prominently featuring among those to contest the governorship primary election starting from May 21, even though he is also one of the presidential aspirants of the PDP.
Confirming that the Bauchi State governor was also contesting for a second term in office as well as contesting for the presidency, Dr. Udenta Udenta who serves as the Director General of Bala Mohammad presidential campaign said: “Senator Rochas Okorocha did it with the full backing of the APC in 2014, when he contested for the Presidency as a first time Governor and subsequently won re-election as a second term governor in 2015- thus keeping the seat safe for his party.
“Aminu Tambuwal did likewise in 2018, when, as a first term governor, he contested for the presidency and subsequently got re-elected as a second term governor in 2015- again keeping the seat safe for the PDP,” he said.
He explained that it was part of PDP’s strategy to maintain critical offices.
Meanwhile, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has said the PDP would present Nigeria with the leadership that would take the country out of the socio-economic pains it is currently passing through in the hands of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led federal government.
The governor stated this yesterday, when he received Saraki, who was in the state to canvass support from delegates ahead of the party’s presidential primaries.
The governor expressed confidence in the ability of the former Kwara governor to fix multiple challenges facing the country if given the opportunity.
He described Saraki as a politician who had distinguished himself and was known for defending the cause of justice and fairness.
Ortom commended Saraki for the peaceful manner he had been going about his campaign and urged him to maintain a harmonious working relationship with other presidential aspirants.
The governor acknowledged how the former President of the Senate always identified with the state in its trying moments, saying he has distinguished himself as a true friend of the state.
Earlier, Saraki recalled that the history of his presidential ambition would be traced to Benue State, saying his declaration journey began in Makurdi the state capital.
He said Nigeria needs a courageous leader that has the capacity to deal with issues, stressing that he will be firm in tackling insecurity and will address the injustices meted out to citizens by the current APC administration.
Saraki maintained that Nigeria was at a defining moment in its history and needed a president that could unite the country, stressing that “Without unity, there cannot be progress.”