Published On: Sun, Aug 12th, 2018

PDP Coalition: anxiety mounts over flag bearer


With the recent defection of Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki and Sokoto State governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the list of anticipated presidential hopefuls under the main opposition party’s platform is complete. But it now faces an imminent danger of being torn apart by the collision of these individual interests. Already, cracks are emerging, and from all indications, it could get much worse.

President of the Senate Bukola Sarak

“The ambitions are certainly going to clash. Yes, as a matter of fact, it is already clashing,” noted Mr. Taofic Gani, Lagos Publicity Secretary of the party. “We are not going to celebrate yet because we still have long months to the elections and things can still change. There may still be further alignments.”

For a reasonably long time, former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who was the first to rejoin the PDP, remained the foremost presidential aspirant on the party’s platform.

Although there were still existing strong contenders in the party, like Gombe State governor, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo; former Jigawa State governor, Sule Lamido and former Kaduna governor, Ahmed Makarfi who recently served as chairman of the party’s caretaker committee and a few others, Atiku towered above them and had looked very much poised to emerge its presidential candidate.

However, with former Kano governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, as well as Saraki and Tambuwal in the picture, the dynamics have changed and the prospect of choosing one out of the many formidable aspirants is a task very much on course to cause squabbles, which if poorly managed, could consume the party.

The first sign of things to come was when Kwankwaso, perhaps in a bid to foreclose the prospect of Atiku emerging candidate, insisted that the PDP must field somebody from either of the three K-states of the North West, comprising Kano, Kastina and Kaduna if the party wanted to win in 2019.

This, indeed, is another way of saying that he should be the candidate if the party wants to win being, easily, the most popular and perhaps most resourced of all the other candidates from the three states, including Makarfi.

If the party is to go with his position, it would mean  that not only will Atiku who is from Adamawa State in the North East, but also the Sokoto governor, Tambuwal who happens now to be the only PDP governor in the North West, will be automatically disqualified. This will be an unlikely scenario.

While Kwankwaso is obviously, the most prominent of all the aspirants from the North West, Tambuwal’s entrant may have altered his projection, thus complicating even the North West bid.

Sources within the party say the Sokoto governor had actually consulted widely and received some degree of assurance of getting the presidential ticket from PDP stalwarts before joining the party fortnight ago. The governor’s consideration, sources say, stems from the fact that he has age on his side and fits into the prevailing argument in favour of a youthful president, in addition to being a person with broader worldview.

But in terms of who has the popularity to swing votes in the zone, many agree it’s Kwankwaso who remains popular in the region and was indeed the favoured candidate of the North for the APC presidential ticket in 2014. He won votes of most delegates from Northern states in the party’s primary, but ended up coming second to President Muhammadu Buhari who relied on the support he got from the South West to edge him out.

Aminu Waziri Tambuwal

To this extent, his supporters assert that he is the only person who can give Buhari a run in the North West and indeed the entire North. But the argument is not of the North West alone. The North East which has not produced a president since the first Prime Minister, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, is also laying bold claim with Atiku and Dankwambo at the forefront.

Indeed, with the duo of Atiku and Dankwambo who have both declared their presidential ambitions, the North East presents a challenge similar to that of the North West with Kwankwaso and Tambuwal. Although on the surface, Atiku appears to have more reach and popularity, some Adamawa residents who spoke to BusinessHallmark say the Gombe governor is mostly preferred by many in the region.

“People don’t really support Atiku here,” said Eze Robinson, a timber dealer based in Adamawa. “Most people want Dankwambo. He is way more popular than Atiku.”

The most complex of PDP’s dilemma as it concerns the former vice president, however, would be the fact that his candidacy may be strongly opposed by the country’s class of 1966 military establishment, especially his former boss, President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Only recently, Obasanjo restated his opposition the prospect of an Atiku president, saying that God would not forgive him if he backs the Adamawa born politician for president. Obasanjo’s position will most likely influence the party’s decision on Atiku. But the determined former vice president will fight to the end and the consequence may not be palatable.

Yet, the prospect of Saraki joining the race throws the field further wide open. With his influence, power and mystic, the Senate president is sure to alter the equation. Already, he has been named National Leader of the party by its chairman, Uche Secondus. Because according to him, Saraki is the highest office holder in the party.

The Senate president who resumed work at the party’s National Headquarters on Thursday, described his first day at work as “a great day for our country,” expressed joy to be back to the party.

“I am happy to be back to the political party where I started my political career. Everybody is important and no sacrifice will be too much to make in our journey to the Promised Land,” he said.

Mr. Gani, hopes, nonetheless, that the need to remove President Buhari whose government he dismissed as a “cankerworm” will be stronger than personal aspirations of individual members and could, thus, compel them to work together.

“For us in the PDP, we are going to do all we can to manage whatever will come out of their joining us because they are also coming with their own demand,” he said. “The common enemy now is Buhari. So, I see a situation where the need for us to remove this cankerworm would compel everyone to bury personal ambitions and work together.

“I think what is essential, and is the common denominator, is that this country is failing. I don’t want to be too critical to say that the country has failed under this APC, and particularly by the leadership of President Buhari.”

But the politics of the party’s candidacy is taking a new twist. A new divide has set in as old members stake claim to right to produce candidate as reward for their loyalty. They are kicking against what they see as preferential treatment for the new entrants at their expense.

A party source told BH that there is already a disagreement between the new entrants and the original members over choice of presidential candidate, with those who never left to join the APC insisting on producing presidential candidate.

“Those who did not leave are arguing that one of them be elected candidate for presidency as reward for their loyalty,” the source said. “But the others are dismissing the argument.”

Makarfi and Lamido who belong to this category are already sticking to the point that the new comers must not be given preference over them. Addressing party members in Kogi where he went to garner support for his presidential bid last week, Makarfi took a swipe at the defectors, suggesting that they were fair-weather members.

“Some people when you pinch them, they will run to another party,” he said. “When the going was tough, I stayed on

“But you accept them into your house and give them your guest room. Next, they take the master bedroom; next, they drive you out of your house. We must not allow this, nor give undue advantage to them, so that we do not alienate our people.

“Modu Sheriff was brought from another party; they said he had three jets; he had billions, but what did he do? He was taking the party down, but I, the ‘bush boy,’ with the support of others, I was able to make members close ranks, and today, we can all see.”

In Minna the following day, he made similar point. But this time more temperately. “If I leave PDP, I would leave politics. If I was to leave PDP, I could have defected a long time ago. So that possibility is not there,” he said.

“I welcome all the defectors and as a matter of fact I predicted it. I said it that after the APC convention you would see a lot of defections and that’s what has happened.

“But the challenge is how to manage it. If we manage it well, the party would be better for it but if we don’t we may run into problems.”

Similarly, Lamido, in an interview with Punch queried, “If we had left the PDP like others, would there have been a PDP to return to?”

But their arguments could prove to be an afterthought, as part of agreement that brought some of the defectors was promises of automatic tickets. And if such is no longer the case, those who feel shortchanged could return to the waiting arms of the ruling party.

“Part of the conditions Kwankwaso gave before returning to the party is that the presidential candidate must come from his side,” the source who craved anonymity said.

“For each defector, certain negotiations were involved. If some members are now resisting the fulfillment of these terms as giving preferential treatment, then there is a problem,” he concluded.

© 2018, Hallmarknews. All rights reserved. Reference and link to this site is required if you wish to reuse any article.

Reactions from Facebook

comments and opinions

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Got news for us?

Most Shared

Recent posts

  • Afrinvest set to release 2018 Banking Sector Report on Oct. 22

    Afrinvest (West Africa) Ltd will on October 22, 2018, in Abuja present the 2018 edition of its Annual Nigeria Banking Sector Report to the public. The report titled “An Economic Agenda for a New Government” presents a viable economic roadmap for Nigeria in 2019 and will be launched at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja. […]

  • UBA posts N79bn pre-tax profit for Q3 2018

    United Bank of Africa Plc retained a remarkable growth in profitability for the unaudited nine months financial result and accounts September 30, 2018, with profit before tax closing at N79 billion. The pan-African financial institution reported N78 billion amid a challenging environment. The financial institution in its result to The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Tuesday also […]

  • Inflation rate accelerates to 11.28% in Sept

    The Consumer Price Index, (CPI) which measured inflation for September increased to 11.28 per cent (year-on-year) from 11.23 per cent recorded in August, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Tuesday. Latest inflation data from for September released by the NBS in Abuja showed that inflation rate was 0.05 per cent points higher than […]

  • Medium, large capitalized stocks return bulls to equity market

    Gains recorded by medium and large capitalized stocks helped the Nigerian Stock market to reverse Monday’s negative sentiment, appreciating 0.95 per cent on Tuesday. The All Share Index (ASI) increased by 308.70 absolute points, representing an increase of 0.95 per cent close to 32,722.18 points. Also, the Market Capitalization was up N112.70 billion, which was […]

  • NSE Wins Best Use of Technology for Efficiency Award

    The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has received the 2018 Best Use of Technology for Efficiency Award from Nigeria Tech Innovation & Telecom Awards 2018 (NTITA). The NTITTA is the most celebrated industry awards for the Technology and Telecom industries attracting top decision makers in the sectors. The annual event is held to showcase excellence and celebrate the continued growth […]

  • Super Eagles beat Libya, top Group E

    The Super Eagles now stay at the top of their group standings as they endured a scare in Tunisia to claim a third consecutive victory An Odion Ighalo-inspired Nigeria secured a 3-2 victory over Libya to move to the top of Group E in their 2019 African Cup of Nations qualifiers in Sfax. reports […]

  • NDLEA FCT nabs 147 drug dealers, seizes $1.9m in one month

    The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), FCT Command, said on Tuesday that it arrested 147 suspected drug dealers and seized various consignment of drugs. Mrs Chinyere Obijuru, Commander, NDLEA FCT Command, told newsmen in Abuja that the command in its sting operation that commenced on September 1, also seized fake 100 dollar bills amounting […]

  • PENGASSN tasks govt on quick minimum wage resolution

    The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has urged the Federal, state governments and organised private sector to resolve the differences in the ongoing negotiation for a new minimum wage in the country. The National President of the Union, Mr Olabode Johnson made the appeal while addressing newsmen on its planned […]

  • Court nullifies Unity Bank Executive Director’s sack

    The National Industrial Court, sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos State, on Monday voided the termination of employment of Mrs Arese Alonge, declaring her a subsisting Executive Director of Unity Bank. The court ordered the bank to pay all entitlements and benefits that pertain to her office. Alonge had on Feb. 11, 2015 instituted a suit against […]

  • Traders tasks politicians on accountability

    The National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) has called for accountability from in-coming governments, insisting that they must keep their promises. President of the association, Mr Ken Ukaoha, made the call at the public presentation of “Framers Manifesto and Traders Charter Demands’’ in Abuja on Monday. “We are gradually coming back to our senses to […]

  • Kayode Fayemi and the Ekiti conundrum

    By TESLIM SHITTA-BEY Ekiti state’s newly elected governor Kayode Fayemi is a brilliant conversationalist and an engaging debater. Nevertheless, with the state he is about to take over as governor locked within a time capsule of slow growth; the usually voluble gentleman will have no time for banter. According to Emmanuel Aremu indigene of Ondo […]

  • The Buhari era:  How the president is reshaping Nigeria after his own image

     By AYOOLA OLAOLUWA On May 29, 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office, and there were great expectations from Nigerians. While campaigning, the Daura-born president centred his campaign on five focal points: building the nation’s infrastructures, job creation, revamping the economy, providing security and fighting corruption. After 16 years of dashed hopes under successive Peoples Democratic […]

  • Economy : IMF forecast signposts tougher times

    By FELIX OLOYEDE  Experts have noted that the reduction in the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) growth outlook for the Nigerian economy in 2018 presages a rise in the jobless rate as the economy head into a new year.  The IMF cut the country’s growth projections for this year from 2.1percent to 1.9 percent, arguing that […]

  • Tinubu launches early start to 2023 bid

    By OBINNA EZUGWU  Having, in his reckoning, secured the structure of the ruling All Progressive Congress with his long time ally, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as chairman, and President Muhammadu Buhari now guaranteed to run for second term in office, and quite possibly, retain power, former Lagos governor, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu have begun strategic positioning […]

  • 2019: Peter Obi’s choice ruffle feathers

    By OBINNA EZUGWU  The emergence of former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) dominated the political space last week. Many have continued to argue that the former vice president remained the only candidate with the requisite resources, reach and experience to defeat the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari […]

  • APC primaries: Party crisis may consume Oshiomhole

    By OBINNA EZUGWU National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole did apparently, make a kill with the recently concluded primary elections of the ruling party. Nomination and expression of interest forms were sold at exorbitant prices – ranging from N45million for presidency to N850,000 for state House of Assembly – and many […]