Sorting, counting of votes cause disquiet at #PDPPresidentialPrimaries
PDP Presidential Primaries : It was not surprising that the presidential nomination convention of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, started late yesterday. After months of heightened expectations, none of the 13 gladiators in the contest was willing to succumb to entreaties to step down.
Early yesterday, a former National Security Adviser, NSA, apparently acting as proxy for some of the country’s most eminent personalities, launched into a meeting with the presidential aspirants with the main issue being that the convention should not end on a rancorous note.
The interest of the former NSA and his backers, including three former heads of state, who have been courted by all the 13 gladiators, was for the PDP to produce a candidate that could match President Muhammdu Buhari in the February 2019 presidential election. To many of the aspirants, that was also the issue. However, coming to a commonality on the objective has seemed Herculean given the interests of the different contenders.
The 13 aspirants include former Vice President Abubakar Atiku, Senate President Bukola Saraki, his predecessor, Senator David Mark, former Chairman, PDP National Caretaker Committee, Ahmed Makarfi, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State and former Minister of Special Duties, Taminu Turaki, SAN. Also contesting are the immediate past governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, former Governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, former Governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa, former Governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang, the founder of Baze University, Senator Datti Baba-Ahmed, and Stanley Osifo from Edo State. Indeed, the 2018 presidential convention has turned out to be arguably the most competitive convention of the PDP since the formation of the party in 1998.
Since 1998, when the bet was on General Olusegun Obasanjo or on Dr. Alex Ekwueme, the PDP, until now, has had almost predictable presidential nomination conventions with the incumbent either being pushed as favourite, or his proxy as in 2007, when Obasanjo pushed forward Alhaji Umaru Yar‘Adua. However, now with the party in opposition, the incumbency factor is absent. That has now projected the next in line in the power hierarchy, that is, the governors as the leading decision makers. Indeed, ahead of yesterday, the governors were expected to come up with a position, but Sunday Vanguard gathered that such a position has not been possible. The reason has not been too much separated with the differences among the governors themselves.
The most prominent one among the governors coming into the convention is the host governor, Mr. Nyesom Wike, whose support for Governor Tambuwal has not been hidden. Indeed, when the decision was taken to move the convention away from Abuja because of the fear of sabotage by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, or other agencies of the Federal Government, some of the aspirants were quick to raise objections as they themselves also feared that Wike could also “manage” the convention to ensure that Tambuwal emerged. One of the first aspirants to raise that fear was Atiku, who had emerged in the front of the pack along with Tambuwal and Saraki. Immediately the idea of Port Harcourt had been mooted as the venue, Atiku, an adept politician, quickly locked down 2,000 hotel rooms in the Garden City.
The former VP’s move was quick to come to Wike’s attention being the governor and chief security officer of the state. Wike was not happy either because he perceived Atiku was trying to outfox him or for whatever reason and tried to stop him. Though Atiku was not identified as the one, the idea of some presidential aspirants being opposed to Port Harcourt as venue flowed from the sublime clash between the two men. Meanwhile, by yesterday, Sunday Vanguard gathered that Wike’s script to push Tambuwal had not gotten universal approval among the governors as many of them and nay, the aspirants themselves were stiffly resisting him. It could not be confirmed if the issue was raised in the early morning meeting between the aspirants and the retired NSA.
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