PDP presidential primary: Between new and old aspirants

So far, about 13 aspirants have indicated interest to contest for president on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
ABDULRAHMAN ZAKARIYAU in this analysis takes a look at the old and new breeds aspiring to secure the party’s ticket.

Interestingly, these aspirants are divided into two.
The first are the group consists of returnees that defected from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), back to the main opposition PDP.
Others though are aspirants who have described themselves as loyal party members.
Old: Lamido leads The two term former governor of Jigawa state, who is also a presidential aspirant, Alhaji Sule Lamido has since 1999 remained in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) even during the trying moment in 2014 when most of leading lights ganged up against former President, Goodluck Ebele Johnathan.
Notably, on many occasions the former Minister of Foreign Affairs said “all of us vying for presidency in PDP are equal and are capable of ruling Nigeria as president”, but he described himself as the ‘aspirant’ and not ‘an aspirant’.
He is of the opinion that the party should use the ticket to reward those loyal members of the party who perhaps have remained with the party during its trying moment.
Recently after submitting his Presidential form, Lamido said “ I’ m not bragging.
This party has gone through hell.
In 2015 hell was unbleached on us.
So here in this house we have been brothers and sisters, consistent, steadfast and we are ready to do everything to save Nigeria.
And so in picking the Presidential candidate of the PDP, the choice is beyond PDP, it is also a choice of Nigerians.
Nigerians in the last 3 has realized what APC and what we have gone through in the last three years.
“I said it because of all the aspirants, I am the aspirant, I am not bragging and I mean it, if looking for a resilient politician, consistent, loyal and someone who is going to say the truth no matter what, then think about me”.
From several of his statements, many analysts have observed that Lamido leads the camp of those aspirants who believed they should give the party to a ‘loyal’ and ‘consistent’ party member.
Aside, loyalty and consistency, Sule Lamido, according to many pundits, may not have much variables to negotiate for the party’s ticket.
He hails from the North East, (Jigawa) which is not as populous as North West where the incumbent and Presidential aspirant of the All Progressive Congress (APC) hails from.
Another factor that may affect his chances is that the PDP, according to an insider, is looking for an aspirant with immunity to avoid some antics of the APC.
It could be recalled that, the 70 years old man and his son were in the build up to his declaration in 2015 put on trial for embezzling state fund by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) but was later cleared.
Ahmed Makarfi Notably, two term governor of Kaduna state, a former senator and immediate past Chairman Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Consensus is the best under normal circumstances but some aspirants may prefer to go for the primaries and get one vote.
If our leaders come together and say this is a consensus candidate, I will abide by it.
Ahmed Makarfi also believes he has all it takes to clinch the party’s ticket come October 2018.
He said “I am not an opportunist.
In 2007, I was basically the presumed candidate to take over from President Olusegun Obasanjo.
But for some reasons, the person who was behind me in the ballot was selected.
Makarfi has on many occasion subtly promoted the party loyal member agenda, insisted that the party should give the ticket to consistent loyal party members.
In recent time, the former governor said, “There is no one of us that have indicated interest that is not qualified.
Though all fingers are useful, but they are equally not equal.
There is no finger that is not useful, but there is no finger that is equal to each other.
“Therefore, I want to believe that when the needful is done, I have the belief that party men and women will decide wisely.
And whatever the delegates decide, as a loyal party man I will accept the result.
I will work for the interest of the party, to make sure that we return to power”.
This, according to political observer, is an indication that, Makarfi sees some of them who have remained with the party as more equal than others who just defected back.
However, the former PDP national chairman could leverage on the fact that he led the party through a hard fought legal battle to wrest the reins of leadership from the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff faction in 2017.
Also, he is from North West (Kaduna state) where the largest chunks of President Buhari’s supporters are domicile.
Aside all these, some pundits have noted that the 62 years old politician arguably lacks the political structure needed to get the party’s ticket.
Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, SAN The former Minister of Special Duties, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki has also picked and even returned his form to vie for the party’s Presidential election.
On many occasions, Tanimu had insisted that there are a hundred and one of them in the PDP that are and will perform better than President Muhammadu Buhari.
The factors that work for the former Minister include age: he is in his early 60s, a leader of the PDP Former Ministers’ Forum.
He is also an aspirant without any corrupt charges against him yet.
But like many others, has no immunity and lacks enough political support-base to unseat President Muhammad Buhari even if he gets the ticket.
Ibrahim Dankwambo The former Accountant General of the Federation and Governor of Gombe state, Dr.
Ibrahim Dankwambo, is also believed to be one of those aspirants who thinks the party’s presidential ticket is the birth right of the loyal or ‘old’ party members who have remained with the party under rain and in the sun.
Dankwambo, 56, reportedly enjoys the support of many serving and former PDP governors, ministers and other big-wigs who see in him the combination of competence, capacity and youthfulness that is easily salable to Nigerians.
Some claim the PDP see him as the “best face” it needs to defeat President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
Many pundits have also noted that PDP needs a man like Dankwambo because of his immunity as a seating Governor, his youthful age and his consistent party loyalty.
But the question is, does Dankwambo have the political clout to win the party’s ticket and defeat President Muhammadu Buhari who is most likely going to fly on the APC ticket?

Can the ‘new’ breed edge the ‘old’? Senator David Bonaventure Mark The former Military Governor of Niger state, former Minister of Communication who sometimes ago allegedly believed telephone was not meant for the poor, and former President of the Senate 2007 to 2015.
Senator David Mark is also part of the old group of aspirants who are in the race and subtly negotiating for the party’s ticket on the account of their loyalty and consistency to the party.
The retired Nigerian Army Brigadier General, who is in his 70’s has been in the Senate and the PDP since 1999 till date.
Asked about his chances, Mark said: “I have a very good background and I have been in politics since 1998 when I won my election into the Senate.
I think I have the credentials and background to be able to do what I promise my team will do.
It is a team that is going to work together to salvage this country to bring Nigeria to where it has been respected.
According to an insider, aside the all these and his party loyalty, Senator David Mark is obviously a Christian from the North Central (Benue) and it will be difficult for the PDP to defeat the APC if he eventually gets the party’s ticket.
Atiku leads the New Interestingly, th former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar leads the new aspirants, that is those who have rejoined the party from the All Progressives Congress (APC) and are hell bent on clinching the PDP presidential ticket.
Atiku is businessman and a politician of note who hails from North East, Adamawa state.
Before now, he has for about three times aspired to be Nigeria’s President.
Asked on the chances of Atiku, Spokesperson of Atiku Campaign Organization, Segun Showunmi said “Atiku is obviously better than other aspirants including the opposition aspirants.
He has a bigger vision for Nigeria.
None of the Presidential aspirants could challenge Buhari in the 2019 election and succeed.
He added that: “Atiku is the only person that could do that.
It will be unwise for the PDP to bring an unpopular candidate to challenge the incumbent President.
That would be disastrous.
“He is open to fresh ideas and he believes that all the tribes should bring ideas to the discussion table so we could collectively and extensively discuss and appease all worrying factions”.
This has put Atiku in bad light among other aspirants.
Rather than been seen as an aspirations to rule Nigeria, many now see him as desperate to rule.
Aside his age, 72 and corrupt allegations against him, which in all honesty no one or government has been able to established, Atiku has rich experiences and network of supporters across the country that can genuinely get the party a better result in 2019 if he eventually wins the party’s ticket, even though he his considered more acceptable in the south than in the north where he hails from.
Saraki and the Problem of identity The two term former governor of Kwara state, former leader of the Nigeria Governor’s Forum, the incumbent President of the Senate, Dr.
Abubakar Bukola Saraki is no doubt one of the aspirant for the PDP Presidential ticket.
On what stands him out, Saraki said “from our antecedents I have had the opportunity of serving as governor on the executive side.
I have also been on the legislative side”, he said stressing that it is important that the country has a president that can bring all parties on board.
“I believe all the aspirants will work hard and see our messages to the PDP and to the people so that they can give the ticket to the best.
Like I said I have great respect for all others.
“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 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”, he said.
The strengths of Dr Saraki’s candidature lies in he is being an incumbent Senate President and he’s still in his early 60s.
Aside these, political analysts have observed that the biggest battle Saraki have to face is the identity problem.
They they pointed out that Saraki is not seen as Southerner nor is he a Northerner even when is from Kwara state, that is geographically located in North Central.
The Read Cap leader On the other hand, the former governor of Kano state, former Minister of Defence and the leader of the Kwankwasiyah Movement, Dr Rabiu Kwankwaso, is also a new presidential aspirant, having defected from the APC back to the PDP in less than three months ago.
Kwankwaso recalled that he came second at the presidential primary election of the APC prior to the 2015 general elections, but remained calm, adding that “I don’t think anything will happen differently if I am not the winner at the primary.
“Consensus is the best under normal circumstances but some aspirants may prefer to go for the primaries and get one vote.
If our leaders come together and say this is a consensus candidate, I will abide by it”.
He hails from the Nigeria’s most populous city Kano in region of the North West and the state with the highest number of delegates.
His strength is that he is also in his early 60s and he has some level of political structure in Nigeria with thousands of follows.
But can all these get him the party’s ticket and win the Presidential election? Tambuwal on a make or mar mission The former Speaker of the House of Representative, governor of Sokoto, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, defected from the All Progressive Congress (APC) back to the PDP in other to vie for the number one political office in Nigeria: President.
It is a well known fact around the Waddata, the PDP National Secretariat, the former Speaker was promised support to get the party’s ticket by his counterpart, the governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike who wants to run as his running mate, but unfortunately for him a lot has changed since he defected.
Though he hails from North West state, Sokoto, a politically advantage region and he is in his early 50s, but without a national political structure.
Also, with the number of aspirants it would seem very adventurous for Tambuwal to get the party’s ticket, not to talk of defeating President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 election.
Others Aside these 9 listed aspirants, others in the race for the party presidential ticket include former Governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa; a former Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang; former senator, Dr.
Baba Datti Ahmed, and Mr Osifo Stanley.
Interestingly, all of them have picked and even submitted their forms, but many political analysts have argued that their chances seem like passing the camel through the eye of a needle.


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