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Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Saraki, Atiku, Kwankwaso Disagree Over Presidential Ticket

Saraki, Atiku, Kwankwaso Disagree Over Presidential Ticket

Political actors of the PDP

Political actors within the Peoples Democratic Party are jostling for the presidential ticket of the party.

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.

The BoT also warned its members against campaigning for any of the aspirants in order not to polarise the party.

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The BoT Chairman, Walid Jibrin, said these decisions were taken after the meeting of the board, which was held in Abuja on Sunday night.

He also said that the tenure of the current executive had been extended for another five years.

Jibrin, who spoke with journalists on the outcome of the 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.

“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.”

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.

We must ensure credible primaries – Senate President

On whether he can step down for a consensus candidate, he 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 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, there will be no need dividing ourselves.”

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 one of our correspondents on the telephone 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 only 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.”

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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.”

But when contacted, the spokesman for a former governor of Kaduna State, who is also a PDP presidential aspirant, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, said his principal would not comment on the matter.

Makarfi, a two-term senator, is among eleven other aspirants jostling for the Peoples Democratic Party’s ticket to unseat President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.

“We will rather not comment on that. There is no comment from us. Thank you,” the spokesman said.

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