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Former PDP Presidential Aspirants Scramble For Guber, Senatorial Tickets

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About 12 aspirants purchased the form and contested for the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) presidential ticket for the 2019 general election.

Among them were former Vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Sokoto State governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, former Kano State governor, Sen Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, former Jigawa State governor, Sule Lamido and former Kaduna State governor, Sen Ahmed Makarfi.

Others included Gombe State governor, Hassan Dankwambo, former Plateau State governor, Sen Jonah Jang, former minister of special duties, Tanimu Turaki, former Sokoto State governor, Attahiru Bafarawa, Sen. Datti Baba-Ahmed and former senate president, David Mark.

Prior to the primary election, there were alignments and realignments from the party while other aspirants who were not certain about picking the presidential ticket of the PDP had ‘plan B.’

Some of the aspirants also purchased senatorial forms while others picked gubernatorial forms, by proxy, in the event they could not pick the presidential ticket.

The party primaries conducted in Port Harcourt weekend which saw Atiku Abubakar emerging as the PDP candidate, has thrown other aspirants scrambling for Senatorial and gubernatorial tickets.

Atiku polled1,532 in the primary election with Tambuwal coming second with 693 votes while Saraki polled 317 votes.

Kwakwaso, a former governor of Kano State and also a serving Senator who recently left the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to contest for the presidential ticket of the PDP polled 158 votes in the primary election.

Former Jigawa State governor, Lamido, polled 96 votes while former governor of Kaduna State, Ahmed Makarfi, polled 74 votes.

The outgoing governor of Gombe State, Hassan Dankwambo, got 111 votes while Jonah Jang got 19 votes. Tanimu Turaki got 65 votes, Bafarawa got 48, Baba-Ahmed got 5 votes while former Senate president, David Mark who was the last to purchase the presidential form polled 35 votes.

A lot of political analysts predicted there would be implosion in the PDP because of the heavyweights that went into the contest.

But the presidential primary election which many pundits described as free and fair, humbled aspirants that might have reservations on why they did not emerge.

While speaking after the exercise, Saraki promised that all the defeated aspirants would work with the winner. 

Saraki, who spoke on behalf of other aspirants, said they would work with their candidate to ensure he wins the election.

“Some were thinking we will not unite after the congress,” Saraki said, referring to the earlier prediction of a possible implosion.

“But we are here, all of us behind the candidate Atiku Abubakar,” he said, adding that Atiku who has been in the presidential race for a long time, worked extra hard to defeat them. 

“You are the best,” Saraki said of Atiku, adding, “We will support you”.

Also, a group of young Nigerians who were championing the cause of former Kaduna State governor,  Makarfi, also commended the leadership of the party and all its presidential aspirants for their commitment towards a successful convention.

The group’s Publicity Secretary, Isah Rabiu, used the opportunity to call on PDP supporters to unit and work together for their success in the 2019 polls.

Also, PDP Youth League who celebrated Atiku’s emergence, believed that delegates of the party spoke their minds in an exercise they described as free and fair.

The youths, through their National Publicity Secretary, Zainab Al-Amin, said they are aware of the huge responsibility ahead of all members and  leaders of the PDP but believe that Atiku is the best person to contest against President Muhammadu Buhari.

For Tambuwal’s campaign organisation, the group said it was devastated initially over the lost in the primary election but added that they won’t forget it is God who gives and takes power.

Apparently realizing they still have a ticket to fall back to, Hon Yemi Arokodare of the Tambuwal’s campaign thanked their members in the 774 local governments of Nigeria for supporting their aspirants adding that Tambuwal fought a good clean political fight.

“We now have friends and compatriots all across the lenght and breath of Nigeria.To me i think we conquered. To me I think he did very well within the short time of eight weeks that he defected from APC to the PDP. It is our belief that his time will come,” the group added.

There has been concerns over how the presidential aspirants will manage their losses. LEADERSHIP gathered that some of the aspirants had plan B which is now working for them.

For Tambuwal, Saraki, Kwakwaso, Jonah Jang and David Mark, it might be a win-win situation as some of them have already been given the party ticket to contest various political office in the 2019 general election.

For Makarfi and Datti Baba-Ahmed who are from Kaduna North Senatorial District, it is not certain about who get the reward.

Sen. Suleiman Hunkuyi who is also from Kaduna North Senatorial District, contested the gubernatorial primary election but lost to his younger brother, Isa Ashiru Kudan.

It was gathered that Hunkuyi purchased two forms. The gubernatorial form and the Senate form. His allies told LEADERSHIP that immediately he lost the gubernatorial ticket, he was advised to stick on returning to the National Assembly.

Speaking to LEADERSHIP on how the party will manage the aspiration of Hunkuyi, Makarfi and possibly Datti Baba-Ahmed after the presidential primary election, PDP spokesman in Kaduna State, Albehu Katoh said there is an agreement on ground.

According to him, there was no cause for concern, adding that as politicians, everyone knows where he will fall back to.

“The national leadership had an agreement with some of them and they are good politicians that are working for the success of the PDP. So, there is no cause for concern,” Katoh said.

Saraki was said to have been given the Kwara central senatorial district ticket while Kwakwaso was given that of Kano central senatorial district.

The major beneficiary, it was gathered, is the governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who was given the gubernatorial ticket barely 10 hours after he lost the presidential ticket.

LEADERSHIP gathered that all the delegates from across the 23 local governments of the state gathered in their large numbers at the Sokoto state PDP Secretariat and ratified Tambuwal’s choice as their consensus gubernatorial candidate.

The initial consensus candidate, Manir Dan-Iya, also voluntarily stepped aside, marking a wild jubilation at the PDP secretariat by the delegates that expressed optimism their party would retained power in the state beyond 2019, with Tambuwal on the saddle.





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