PDP Working to Prune Presidential Aspirants to Three

Chuks Okocha

The leadership of the peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is working to prune down its presidential aspirants from 15 to not more than three to enable it present a unity candidate.

According to a competent source in the PDP National Working Committee (NWC), a team comprising some members of the NWC, influential party leaders and elders have been meeting to prune down the number of aspirants for the presidential primary election to not more than three.

The team, the source said, has been evaluating all the cleared presidential aspirants on zone-by-zone basis and penciling down those that were considered to have brighter chances to emerge the party’s flag bearer.

“Especially those who have what it takes to win the presidential election,” the source said, confirming also that in identifying aspirants to be pushed forward, the team was equally considering the competence, experience and acceptability of the aspirants across the country.

“To win the 2023 election and return the PDP to power, the team is looking for an individual that is not controversial and without political baggage.”

The source confirmed that the team at first penciled down seven aspirants namely Saraki, Atiku, Anyim, Bala Mohammed, Tambuwal, Udom, Wike and Obi.

It was gathered that in profiling the aspirants, the team was concerned about Atiku’s effectiveness at 77 years by 2023 and the fact that he appears to personify PDP’s electoral misfortune and the need to offer Nigerians something new and fresh in 2023.

On Bala Mohammed, the source said the team was worried that the Bauchi State governor did not have the political stature, maturity and recognition that could command national acceptability and followership for a general election.

Besides, the source said Mohammed should focus on his second term bid, as governor of Bauchi State, the arrangement of which he was said  to have concluded using proxies.

The team was concerned that aside Tambuwal’s performance as Sokoto State, the fact that the North West has had more years at the presidency than any other zone in the North and indeed in the entire country makes his candidacy unmarketable for reasons of equity, justice, fairness and inclusiveness.

On the flip side, the team considered Wike too controversial and almost reckless for the office of president, saying, “Wike is regarded by most Northerners as unacceptable given his brash, undiplomatic and imperialist disposition”, stressing that in the PDP, the team agreed, “PDP will kiss the presidency goodbye in 2023 if Wike emerges candidate of the party.” 

“Udom is seen by the team as energetic and enthusiastic but lacks the political exposure and experience to manage the high office of president,” the team stated.

Similar to Udom, the team found Obi too idealistic and rather fanciful in his understanding of the challenges of the country, saying, “They believe Obi does not have the contact and the reach within the political establishment of the country to be able to function effectively as president.

“Obi is seen as a loner and outsider, who does not command followership even in his Anambra State he ruled for eight years as governor.”

However, the team believed that Saraki has shown reasonable capacity in managing complex political situations, as chairman of the Governor’s forum and Senate President, who emerged without the support of his then party the All Progressive Congress (APC).

It was gathered that, “Saraki is also seen as a man, who may not be too drunk and reckless with presidential powers, if elected.”

When the team got to Anyim Pius Anyim, the consensus was that Anyim presented good credentials as a humble person, with the requisite political experience, exposure, contact and reach within the Nigerian Political establishment beyond party lines, based on his earlier role as a former senate president and secretary to the government of federation.

Anyim’s temperament was also considered a huge asset needed to bring every part of the country together to reach a consensus on how to reunite and rebuild Nigeria.

To this end, the team has reached out to elder statesmen, including religious and traditional rulers, who were worried about the lack of unity among Nigerians and the threat it posed to the cohesion and progress of Nigeria.

The team therefore recommended to the leadership of party to find a creative and wise way to redress the misstep of the party in not upholding the zoning and rotation principle clearly established in the constitution of the PDP.

The team has, on that score, recommended to the party to show leadership and a deep sense of appreciation of the composition of the Nigerian State as a multi-ethnic nation.

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