The Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, yesterday, picked the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) expression of interest and nomination forms, declaring that if he emerges president he will take on and resolve the herdsmen/farmers crisis. Similarly, Senator Datti Baba-Ahmed also secured his presidential forms under the platform of the party. The two presidential aspirants picked their forms at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja. They secured their forms barely 24 hours after the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP met with its presidential aspirants in Abuja. A party source said the meeting which was called at the instance of the national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, was to fashion out how to ensure that the party doesn’t become weakened after their primaries.Tambuwal who arrived the PDP premises at 6:30pm went upstairs to secure the forms and left the premises at 7:10pm. Responding to a question on the farmers and herders crisis, he said, “It is a major security concern to every Nigeria and we must look at the issue very comprehensively and proffer solution to it. I believe it is an issue every responsible government must address and I assure you we can take it head on and resolve it.”
On the prospects of the consensus arrangement amongst the aspirants he said, “I can’t say there is no need for consensus; it is part of democratic process. If there is a possibility of it, why not? If it is not possible, then, we all go for the primaries. But I believe that PDP of today is capable of organising free, fair, credible and transparent primaries.”
He however said he is not disturbed by the posture of the federal government towards the opposition, saying, “I believe you need to check back my political antecedents. I have always been confronted with this kind of hostile environment. You remember how I emerged as Speaker of House of Representatives and how I remained there as Speaker of House of Representatives. So I am not discouraged by whatever that may come up as a challenge from the administration.”
Meanwhile, a party source at the meeting between NWC and the presidential aspirants stated that the aspirants were admonished to abide by the rules of engagement since most of them are bent on going into the primaries.
It was learnt that the aspirants were cautioned against running campaigns during primaries level that would negatively affect the party ahead of the general elections.
The source said, “Since some of them have insisted on contesting the primaries, we can’t force anyone to step down. But we are also mindful of not having a rancorous primaries. The aim of the meeting was to spell out the rules of engagement for the aspirants and make them understand that they need to put Nigeria first. It was also to make them play by the rules and not run campaigns that would be injurious to the party when they face the presidential candidate of the APC. “We are in the opposition; we can’t afford to have a divided house going into the presidential election. That was the essence of the gathering.” The meeting was held at the Transcorp hotel in Abuja. Some of the aspirants present at the meeting are, Senate President Bukola Saraki, former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, former Plateau State governor, Senator Jonah Jang, Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, Atahiru Bafarawa, former chairman of PDP Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarafi, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and former minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Kabir Tanimu Turaki, SAN.
Absent from the meeting are, Ahmed Datti and Gombe State governor, Ibrahim Dankwanbo and former Jigawa State governor, Sule Lamido.
Speaking after the meeting however, Saraki said the meeting was to promote unity and cooperation and stay focused on the message to the Nigerian people.
“It is to show that the party is focused on what matters which is the Nigerian people, irrespective of whatever interest of any individual. So it was a good initiative of the chairman.”
Kwankwaso, who said he was happy to be at the meeting, said no one can stop him from campaigning in Kano State, adding that he does not need anybody’s permission to go to Kano.
He said, “I don’t need anybody’s permission to go to Kano and campaign. Don’t worry about that. When the time comes you will see me or hear me in Kano. Nobody can stop me or any other citizen from going to any part of this country.”
On the warning against his campaigning in Kano, Kwankwaso said, “That is rubbish. When the time comes I will go to Kano. He does not own Kano. We all own Kano. Governors come and go. I was governor for eight years in Kano.”
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