Atiku, Kwankwaso, Saraki Disagree Over PDP Presidential Ticket
While the Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has initiated a committee to liaise with all the presidential aspirants to discuss the possibility of having a consensus candidate, some of the aspirants have expressed confidence and revealed why they should emerge the sole candidate for the opposition party in the 2019 presidential election.
This is just as the BoT Chairman, Walid Jibrin, also warned its members against campaigning for any of the aspirants in order not to polarise the party after the meeting of the board, which was held in Abuja on Sunday night.
His words: “A committee has been set up to discuss with all presidential aspirants to come up with one of them as a consensus candidate.
“The meeting advised all members to always maintain their honour and integrity as the conscience of the party to remain neutral and never sponsor or lead aspirants to visits and rallies as was done during the last convention.”
“We have warned the party to manage the situation of new defectors to the party well and also consider the role played by old members.”
However, some presidential aspirants of the PDP, including ex-Vice-President Atiku Abubakar; the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, and a former governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, on Monday disagreed on the presidential ticket of the party in the 2019 elections. At separate fora on Monday, the three of them expressed readiness to go for the primary.
The senate president, during a meeting with the Benue State Working Committee of the PDP in Makurdi, maintained that it was the turn of the North-Central zone to lead the country.
“As a geopolitical zone, we have paid our dues. It is the turn of our zone to lead Nigeria to stability. We have gone through bad times. The nation has become crises-ridden; the killings are uncalled for and the Benue valley is the worst hit. There should be justice to every citizen, regardless of geographical location.”
“Democracy entails freedom or rights of the people. Our rights should not be imprisoned.”
“My presidential ambition is a collective decision borne out of a desire to salvage the disunity that we are witnessing.
The spokesman for the Atiku Campaign Organisation, Mr Segun Sowunmi, said his principal was confident of emerging the PDP candidate and that since the PDP had not micro-zoned the Presidency to the North-Central, Atiku would not step down for anyone.
He said, “The business of zoning is a party matter, and the PDP, to the best of my knowledge, has not micro-zoned its Presidency. It was only zoned to the North.”
“Having said that, the former Vice-President has evolved beyond the candidacy of a tendency or even a zone.”
“He is a pan-Nigeria candidate but we recognise that this country has become extremely divided and it takes a pan-Nigerian, who has a relationship with every part of this country to be able to bring the nation together. This is one of the many reasons he is needed. “
Speaking via his Principal Secretary, Binta Spikin, the former governor stated that only he could defeat President Muhammadu Buhari and as such would prefer to go for the primary rather than backing down for anybody.
In her reaction to the claim that it was the turn of the North-Central to lead the country, she stated:
“No, we don’t agree and I don’t think we should agree. Why? It is because what we are looking at is that person who can deliver votes. And going by the happenings in Nigeria, Senator Kwankwaso is the only person who can beat President Muhammadu Buhari. That is if you are talking about mass followership.
“From whatever direction one is looking at it, the most interesting and obvious fact is, who can beat President Muhammadu Buhari in the next election, and that person is Senator Musa Rabi’u Kwankwaso.”