In this piece, BODE GBADEBO writes on the chances of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential aspirants within and and outside the party ahead of the primary election slated for this month against the backdrop that the sheer number of the aspirants may spell doom for the party.
Invariably, it’s said that when chased by a bear, you don’t need to outrun the bear; you just need to outrun your friend. Similarly, to win a competition, championship, a promotion, or a date, you need only to beat the immediate competition, whether a contestant, a team, a colleague, or a fellow suitor as the case may be.
For those who undertand the game, winning the 2019 presidential election will start from winning the primary election in the major political parties. While the All Progressives Congress (APC) may end up with an unopposed candidate in President Muhammadu Buhari, leading opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is already saturated with a motley crowd of aspirants, a development many see as a pointer to the balkanisation of the party aftermath of the primary election.
However, apparently PDP is upbeat about the prevailing scenario – the more, the merrier contest – and its chances at the presidential poll come 2019.
It is no gainsaying the fact that the quality of PDP’s eventual candidate can make or mar the party’s chances against incumbent President Buhari, whose party is currently pervaded with an atmosphere of ‘No Vacancy In Aso Rock’.
Who are these PDP presidential aspirants and what are their intra-party chances at the primary election and inter-party connections to be able to win the ultimate crown at the presidential election?
Aminu Waziri Tambuwal:
He is no doubt a fine gentleman and a detribalised Nigerian. His popularity in his native Sokoto state is under threat from his estwhile political benefactor and former governor of the state, Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko. Therefore, Governor Tambuwal as a PDP presidential candidate may not be able to deliver Sokoto state let alone winning the election.
Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo:
The outgoing governor of Gombe State is not well known beyond his native Gombe state. A thoroughbred technocrat and a former Accountant-General of the Federation won’t be an easy sell nationwide.
Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso:
A former governor of Kano state and Senator representing Kano Central in the Senate. He has a strong base in Kano with his Kwankwasiya movement stretching beyond the state. Ordinarily, Kwankwaso looks set to give President Buhari a run for his money given his cult-like followership in the North but his Achilles heel might be the possible exit of another party stalwart and former governor of the state, Ibrahim Shekarau, from PDP in case they couldnt sort out their differences coupled with the threats posed by his archrival, incumbent Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.
Former Vice President Atiku has power blocs to contend with in his native Adamawa state. Although he has a deep pocket to prosecute his campaign but forces like Governor Jibrilla Bindow and Murtala Nyako will want to take the shine off him at the presidential election in home state. In fact, Nyako, a former governor of the state, is said to be working for another presidential aspirant, Senator Bukola Saraki.
The North Central geopolitical zone where Senate President Bukola Saraki hails from has never had the same opportunity since the days of the Late J.S. Tarka. Aspiring from the zone along with Saraki are former Senate President David Mark and fomer Plateau state governor, Jonah Jang.
Among the trio, Saraki appears to be the strongest with alot of things going for him. More delegates and theirs handlers are pledging loyalty to him. With Senators, House of Representatives members and former governors as his foot soldiers, his chances are bright beyond his native Kwara state.
Also, he reportedly has the blessings of former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida. Within one week of declaring his intention to view for the highest office in the land, Saraki has consulted with governors of Rivers, Abia, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Ekiti, Delta, Enugu, and Delta, among other critical stakeholders.
Senator Makarfi, a former governor of Kaduna State, is a politician to reckoned with but his support base is not beyond Kaduna state. He was the chairman of the national caretaker committee of the PDP when the party was engulfed in leadership crisis between 2016 and 2017. The story of PDP’s survival today will be incomplete without mentioning Makarfi’s name. He has what it takes save for his support base.
Other aspirants like former governor of Jigawa state Sule Lamido, former governor of Sokoto state Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa and former minister of special duties Kabiru Tanimu Turaki (SAN) are not leaving any stone unturned to clinch the PDP ticket. It is therefore a matter of time for the winner or the candidate to emerge from among the crowd of aspirants and their ability to unite and forge a common front after the primary election will go a long way in determining the party’s chances at the presidential poll.
The PDP presidential primary election will surely be an interesting one given the array of contestants lined up for the contest. Political pundits can only keep their fingers crossed and watch as events will unfold after the exercise.
“With Senators, House of Representatives members and former governors as his foot soldiers, his chances are bright beyond his native Kwara state.”
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