PDP Presidential Ticket: Consenssus Option Fading As Aspirants Head For Primaries

Choose me, victory is assured — Gov Emmanuel

We’ll be fair to all — Ayu

Presidential nomination forms generate N646m from 17 aspirants

 

As the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, inches closer to its Presidential convention, there are indications that ongoing consensus talks would yield little dividends given the insistence of some aspirants to head to the primaries to face party delegates.

This is even as the consensus arrangement initiated by former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to settle for a common choice among Northern aspirants is gradually losing steam.

The party at the end of the sale/submission of its nomination forms, yesterday, garnered the sum of N646 million from Presidential nomination forms alone after seeing 16 male and a female aspirants obtain the forms.

While all 16 male aspirants purchased the forms at a cost of N40m each, the only female aspirant, Diana Oliver Teriela, paid N5m for the expression of interest form as fee for nomination forms are waved for women in PDP as part of moves to get them involved in partisan politics.

Why Atiku is against consensus

Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, who was drafted into the consensus arrangement as an after thought has made it clear his position on the issue. According to a source in the Technical Committee (TEECOM) of Atiku 2022, “this consensus thing is suspicious. The Wazirin Adamawa is not a novice in politics. He is three steps ahead of these plans. He can’t be party to what is aimed at scheming him out.”

Why consensus won’t fly in the South

Down South, the story is the same. Although, aspirants of South-East extraction appear serious in settling for one of their own, the overall picture as it concern the entire zone remains unclear. Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, working closely with his Abia State counterpart, Okezie Ikpeazu, has made it clear that the only consensus of interest to him is one based on fairness, equity and justice; a remark many interpret as an admission of willingness to work with any flag bearer provided he or she is from the South.

However, an ally of the governor and a member of the National Working Committee, NWC, of the party told Vanguard in confidence that Governor Wike is “irrevocably committed to testing his popularity among the delegates on May 28 and 29 this year. You know him (Wike) very well. He does not hide his feelings. His argument is that the ticket should be zoned to the South just as the North enjoyed that privilege in 2019. Deviation from this path is a recipe for disaster but as a democrat, he is willing to play by the rules provided everyone toes this path as well.”

Asked if Wike would step down for a southern consensus candidate, he said: “First, ask who that person is that can pull a crowd like Wike. Did you listen to Ikpeazu, yesterday, when he said as an Igbo man he would like to see one of his kinsmen elected President in 2023 but quickly added that Wike as President of Nigeria will work wonders?

“The argument for a southern president must be made with certain questions in mind. Who is the man that can go for us? What has he done with the powers and authority given to him? What will he do again if given a bigger responsibility?”

Saraki, Tambuwal, Mohammed, Hayatu-Deen intensify campaigns

Meanwhile, despite moves to have one of them emerge as consensus candidate at the primaries, the quartet of Bukola Saraki, Aminu Tambuwal, Bala Mohammed and Muhammed Hayatu-Deen continue to go about their individual aspiration, reaching out to various organs of the party and delegates ahead of May 28.

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Tambuwal is scheduled to meet the forum of former PDP Ministers next week, having had an earlier meeting slated for last week cancelled due to a boat mishap which led to the death of no fewer than 28 persons in Sokoto.

But as these meetings are going on, the Saraki camp insists their principal is exactly who the party needs to fly its ticket in 2023.

Director, Advocacy Committee, Bukola Saraki 2023 Presidential Movement, Prof. Iyorwese Hagher said the former Senate President is the natural consensus “if we are objective. As the bridge between the old and young, he can satisfy the aspirations of the Septuagenarian Atiku Abuku and the least politically experienced and young Turks.”

Perhaps, some of these aspirants might see reasons to shift grounds in the few weeks leading to the primaries.

Choose me, victory is assured — Emmanuel

Meanwhile, Akwa Ibom State Governor and Presidential aspirant, Udom Emmanuel, has urged the leadership of the party to pick him ahead of others, saying the PDP “is about going to war. And if you want to go to war, you cannot leave your generals and start dealing with recruits.”

Coming short of calling himself the best among the 16 other aspirants, Governor Emmanuel while addressing the NWC at the party’s secretariat, yesterday, urged the leadership of the party to be guided by objective reasoning while picking the party’s flag bearer.

“You have the generals in your team and we are ready to march on to victory. I am trying to let you know that if you will look around the country today, there are issues in Nigeria and people want to see those that will bring solution, not create more problems.

We’ll be fair to all – Ayu

Responding on behalf of the NWC , PDP National chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, promised a level play field to all aspirants, cautioning them to be wary of foul language as they go about their campaigns among the delegates.

He commended them, saying all 17 aspirants have the capacity to outdo President Muhammadu Buhari, if given the opportunity.

“Repeatedly, I have made it very clear to all aspirants of the PDP: stay on message, don’t attack your fellow aspirants. I am happy that message is sinking. Nearly all aspirants who have come here have stayed on message.

“It is true many of us have watched Governor Udom Emmanuel for a long time. For many of you who travelled here today, it is true as he has said, you flew Ibom Air. It is the only airline that leaves on time. So, if the delegates of the PDP hand over the ticket to the best aspirant that we have here today, I am sure Nigerians will leave on time.

“But that is left to the delegates. Our job as National Working Committee is to prepare a level play ground for you to come and play your game. I want to assure that we are committed to the most transparent and fair primaries in the history of the PDP,” Ayu said.

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