20180911

PDP Presidential Ticket: Saraki, Atiku, Kwankwaso Disagree

The Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party has set up a committee to liaise with all the presidential aspirants to discuss the possibility of having a consensus candidate.

But the top gladiators are talking tough with confidence.

The BoT Chairman, Walid Jibrin, who spoke with journalists on the outcome of their meeting, said, “A committee has been set up to discuss with all presidential aspirants to come up with one of them as a consensus candidate.

On whether the party was showing preferential treatment to old members among the presidential aspirants, he said, “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.

It’s North-Central turn to lead Nigeria – Saraki 
During a meeting with the Benue State Working Committee of the PDP in Makurdi, Saraki insisted that it was the turn of the North-Central zone to lead the country.

The Senate president also stated that his presidential aspiration was driven by an obsession for justice, fairness, and respect for the rule of law.

Saraki stated, “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.”

NAN reports that he said Nigeria needs leaders who are capable of representing all interest groups, and not a section of the country.

“My presidential ambition is a collective decision borne out of a desire to salvage the disunity that we are witnessing,” he said.

Meanwhile, Saraki submitted his presidential nomination and expression of interest forms to the party in Abuja on Monday.

Saraki said that his antecedents stand him out among the other aspirants.
Atiku will win PDP ticket – Aide 
Also, the spokesman for the Atiku Campaign Organisation, Mr Segun Sowunmi, said his principal was confident of emerging the PDP candidate.

Sowunmi told The Punch on the phone 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. “

I’m the aspirant that can defeat Buhari – Kwankwaso
Also, Kwankwaso, who spoke through his Principal Secretary, Binta Spikin, 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.

According to Spikin, what is important is for the PDP to present a popular candidate who can beat Buhari in the 2019 presidential election.

Reacting 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.”

But asked whether Kwankwaso would reject consensus candidacy in a text message sent to her, Spikin said, “Senator Kwankwaso believes in the law and party supremacy, hence he will be part of anything that will contribute to the overall success of the party.”