It emerged yesterday that leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are running from pillar to post over the party’s presidential aspirants who seem to be set for a showdown in the battle for the party’s ticket.
So far, there are 12 presidential aspirants in the race and whoever becomes PDP’s presidential candidate is expected to be the main challenger of President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 presidential election.
But the prospect of a consensus candidate emerging from the ranks of the PDP presidential aspirants appears slim, as they are all poised to slug it out for the party’s ticket at the party’s primaries scheduled to hold on October 6 this year.
NAIJAROKO learnt that most of the aspirants have resolved to test their popularity at the party’s convention, with the hope that it is going to be a free and fair primaries by the party leadership.
Submitting his presidential nomination forms yesterday, Senate President Bukola Saraki played down the possibility of a consensus candidate emerging, stressing that what is important for the party is having a free and credible primaries.
The senate president who was accompanied by some of his loyalists to the PDP national secretariat, said, “I don’t think the consensus thing is the issue before us because we are trying to ensure that there is internal democracy in the system and a very credible primaries. What is important is that at the end of the day we have something that is rancour-free.
“What I can tell you is that we are working together because we are still part of one family. I believe at the end of the day, we will have a process that whoever emerges will be supported by all of us so that there will be no need dividing ourselves.
“We are happy as a party that we have competent people managing the process. It is your responsibility to ensure that the best man emerges and to ensure that there is credibility in the process so that it will be acceptable to all.”
The Senate president added that what is important for them is the lives of millions of Nigerians who are going through such a tough time and who now believe that it is only through the PDP that that can happen.
He continued: “We will play our own part in ensuring that we unite every body. It has always been my antecedent to provide unity, to provide leadership in this kind of scenario. I can assure you I will play my role in uniting all of us because we are part of one family and we are actually part of one family.
“Our problem is not in PDP but in the other party. So, we will stay united to carry out this exercise as a family affair and we will ensure that the party will also show that we will do something that is respected across the world so that that will give us the platform to go and deliver.”
On his part, another presidential aspirant of the party, Senator Jonah Jang said he will never step down for any other aspirant and that not even his party can ask him to do so.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja yesterday, the former governor of Plateau State said, “If I am to step down, why would I be aspiring in the first place? I am here to run for the presidency and become the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Who do you want me to step down for? My party cannot ask me to step down because they sold the form to me”.
Also, former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who is also one of the PDP presidential aspirants has pleaded with former Jigawa State governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido, to step down for him as a matter of national interest and political brotherhood.
Atiku made the appeal when he visited Jigawa State to solicit the support of PDP delegates for his aspiration to become the party presidential flag bearer in the 2019 general election.
Speaking at PDP state headquarters in Dutse, Atiku told the delegates that he and Sule Lamido belong to the same political family and share the same spirit on the need to rescue the nation from the hands of incompetent leaders.
He noted that the federal government under the APC has failed to address the critical issues that militate against the country’s unity, peace and progress.
Atiku maintained that he and Lamido who he described as his junior brother are capable of taking the country to the Promised Land from its current political and economic quagmire.
Urging Lamido to leave the job for him, his ‘elder brother’, Atiku recalled a scenario that played out with the Yar Adua brothers.
He said, “with the intervention of elders in the state, the junior brother, Umar Musa, stepped down for another aspirant so that the politics will not be a family affair, leaving Shehu Musa to contest for president, while someone from another family vied for governor.
“Sule Lamido is my junior brother and will learn from what transpired between Shehu Musa and Umaru Musa.”
The former vice president noted that his mother hails from Jigawar Sarki, a village in Dutse local government area of Jigawa State before her family migrated to Adamawa State.
In his remark, the state PDP chairman, Salisu Mahmuda, called on the aspirants to be united to prevent what he called an automatic second coming of the APC administration in the country.
Also speaking during the visit, the representative of director general of Atiku presidential campaign team, Senator Abdul Ningi, vowed not to accept anything short of wining in the forthcoming general election.
On his part, another PDP presidential aspirant and former minister of special duties, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, said he is not aware of plans to produce a consensus candidate for PDP.
Speaking through the director of media and publicity of his campaign organisation, Sola Atere, the former minister said, “We are not aware of any move for a consensus candidacy for now. However, our aspirant is open as loyal party to any credible step taken by the party to produce a candidate that has integrity, credibility, education, knowledge, dynamism, and ability to build bridges of unity, courage and capacity beyond what the APC candidate has to address Nigeria’s challenges.
“The person must be acceptable to Nigerians in view of the reliance they now have in the ability of the PDP to rescue the nation from the problems heaped on them by the current clueless government.”