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Saturday, 09 April 2022 18:31

2023: PDP eyes Atiku as consensus presidential candidate

…As mass defection of  aggrieved aspirants’ supporters looms

Indications have emerged that the  Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP)  leaders have allegedly decided to consider the choice  of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar,  as a consensus presidential candidate of the party. This decision,  which leaked to supporters of other aspirants less than 25days to the party’s presidential primary election,  has resulted in threat of mass defection by supporters of aggrieved aspirants such as Peter Obi and others.

Recall that last month, Abubakar formally declared to run for the office of the Nigerian president in 2023 under the platform of the opposition PDP.

Making his intention known at an event held at the International Conference Centre (ICC) in Abuja, the ex-VP vowed to hand over to the younger generation at the end of his tenure.

To facilitate the move for a consensus candidate, a former President of the Senate and presidential aspirant, Bukola Saraki, earlier in the week, led other aspirants — Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, Bala Mohammed of Bauchi and a former Managing Director of FSB International Bank Plc, Mohammad Hayatu-Deen — on a consultative visit to Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa.

The ex-Senate President, during the visit, explained why northern PDP presidential hopefuls are exploring consensus candidacy ahead of the 2023 general elections.

Saraki, who urged stakeholders of the party to support a consensus arrangement, averred that the gesture will foster unity in Nigeria as well as rescue the country from the jaws of maladministration.

Addressing Governor Okowa, he said, “The four of us have been meeting and we came up with this idea that in the interest of the party, that we should come together and look at a consensus arrangement.

“This is important because we believe that the country needs unity. We are all eminently qualified to lead this country but we believe that only one person will lead and that person needs everybody to make Nigeria better and to fix this country,” he said.

He added that the interest of the aspirants was second to that of the country, adding that “as somebody who has always shown that as well, we have come here today as our first visit to the southern part of the country.

“This also goes to show that this consensus arrangement is not just about the issue of the North but about Nigeria and to carry you along on what we intend to do.

“This consensus is needed so that at the end of the day, PDP will be united to provide leadership for this country because the way the country is today, we need to fix it, we need to tackle the issue of insecurity and unemployment.”

In his response, Governor Okowa agreed that consensus candidacy is in the best interest of the party and country’s unity.

On the importance of consensus, he said, “I believe that it will reduce acrimony and help to position us as a party in order to help to compete favourably and win the 2023 elections.”

He prayed that God will help the aspirants achieve the proposed consensus, saying “because, in that consensus, we will be united as a party, which will give a lot of hope to Nigerians, that truly, PDP is working the talk.”

Meanwhile, investigation by Nigerian NewsDirect revealed that  the consultation by the former president of the Senate and others  is being carried out to secure the support of governor’s for the Choice of Atiku.

A source who is one of the high rank leaders of the party, confided in Nigerian News Direct that, for Atiku not to  participate in these consensus consultations was a pointer that those who were clamoring for this mode of election had been his foot soldiers since onset.

On the other hand, reports making the rounds  revealed that about 13 PDP presidential aspirants have reportedly purchased nomination forms, which Atiku must refund for the consensus arrangement to work.

The sources that  aspirants who believed that the consensus arrangement by governors and presidential aspirants from the North  is a plot to scheme out other aspirants outside the North. According to him, these aggrieved aspirants, through their supporters, are in search of credible political parties with nationwide strength as a platform to contest.

“ We are not against unity but will appreciate transparency so as to ensure that party members will be recognised by the party’s flagbearer after the 2023 poll.

He added that the party leaders need a President for all not to be cornered by few leaders.


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