The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has tasked Northern political leaders to screen and recommend to it, two ‘acceptable’ aspirants from among presidential hopefuls seeking to fly the party’s flag in the 2019 presidential elections. The party has already zoned its presidential ticket to the North, and so far, five aspirants from the zone have been jostling for the ticket. They include former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar; Gombe State governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo; former Jigawa State governor, Sule Lamido and his Kano State counterpart, Ibrahim Shekaru, as well as former Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee, Ahmed Makarfi. But PDP wants political leaders from the zone to trim down the number to two.
A source at the party’s National Secretariat disclosed that the assignment was not limited to Northern PDP leaders alone, but to all interest groups in the zone. “We want to present a presidential candidate who is the choice of the whole North, not just PDP members or few individuals,” he said.
He said though no aspirant would be stopped from vying for the ticket, “but we want to make the job easy for the delegates; we want them to be well guided so that whoever emerges will beat (President Muhammadu) Buhari or whoever the APC will be presenting as candidate.
“The campaign for ‘third force’ will die a natural death once PDP presents a presidential candidate that is acceptable to Nigerians, and that is why we are not zeroing on any particular aspirant for now. “When the time comes, Nigerians will know who will fly the PDP ticket and they will be happy for that.”
He, however, denied that the Northern Political Leaders’ Forum (NPLF), led by Alhaji Tanko Yakasi, was the group assigned the responsibility to trim down the number of aspirants, but could not disclose the platform under which they would be screened.
According to him, the reception members of the National Working Committee (NWC) received in Jigawa last week was an indication that with right candidate, PDP will beat whoever the All Progressives Congress (APC) will be presenting in 2019.
“The governor committed a political blunder when he locked the stadium. It is an eye opener to him. What Lamido did was to ‘lock down’ Jigawa, nobody entered and nobody was allowed to leave the state until the rally ended,” he explained. New Telegraph further gathered that the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, has barred NWC members from accepting financial assistance from party members.
“The party is broke because the chairman said he doesn’t want moneybags to hijack the party. The online platform is not functioning and somebody wants to bring money to activate it, but chairman warned that no NWC members should collect money from anybody. “The party is run with N30 million it receives from the governors every quarter,” he said.