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Convention : Atiku, Saraki, Tambuwal, others, face PDP Presidential screening panel

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By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA – The frenzy that has become a second name to Wadata Plaza, national secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP temporarily relocated to the Legacy House Monday, venue of the Presidential screening of aspirants ahead of October 6 national convention of the party.

The exercise which began few minutes before 9 0’Clock in the morning, had in attendance former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Sokoto state governor, Aminu Tambuwal, ex-Plateau state governor,Jonah Jang, erstwhile chairman of the National Caretaker Committee, Ahmed Makarfi, and former lawmaker, Datti Baba-Ahmed. Others were immediate past Senate President, David Mark and former Sokoto state governor, Attahiru Bafarawa.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Sokoto state governor, Aminu Tambuwal and Ahmed Makarfi

Drummers and singers gathered at the entrance gate of the party’s Presidential Campaign headquarters (Legacy House) to add colour to the exercise.

Saraki who was the first to be screened by the Namadi Sambo-led committee described the exercise as commendable, saying it is a pointer to a credible primaries in a few weeks time.

Speaking through his media aide, Yusuf Olaniyan, Saraki said he was happy that the atmosphere at the screening portrayed fairness and friendliness both from the aspirants and the screening committee.

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Addressing journalists shortly after his screening, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar described the exercise as fine, even as he counselled the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to declare PDP winner of Saturday’s governorship election in Osun state.

“We won Osun. All this grammar that INEC is speaking; they are wasting their time. I will be there tomorrow,” he noted.

Tambuwal who emerged from the screening panel wearing a broad smile said the process “Went on smoothly; no issues.”

On the impasse that greeted Saturday’s election in Osun state, the Presidential hopeful called on the umpire to do the honourable thing.

He said: “INEC should do the honourable thing and the honourable thing is to declare the winner. It has happened before and INEC declared the winner of those elections. It is only incumbent on INEC to come out clearly and give the mandate to the candidate of our party, Senator Ademola Adeleke.”

I will support any aspirant that wins PDP presidential ticket — Sen. Mark

On his part, Jang told newsmen that the process was transparent and credible, adding that he was sure of beating other aspirants to the ticket.

“The process was beautiful. Absolutely I stand a chance to win the ticket. I am optimistic because I believe in God and I believe that God is going to give it to me.

“I am also impressed that there is no bitterness in the ongoing campaign by the presidential aspirants.

Also speaking, erstwhile Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki said he is aware that only one winner will emerge winner of the ticket, even as he called on the party to rescue Nigeria in 2019.

“We must work together. There must be a synergy to ensure that PDP saves Nigeria from imminent collapse. Only one person can be President at a given time and whosoever gets it, by the special grace of God, we have agreed to support that person.

“It is not about us, it is not about selfish interest, it is about our party and about this country. It is only PDP that can save this country. We are not going to be distracted. The focus before us is that we should ensure that PDP gets back into office on May 29, 2019.

For Bafarawa, INEC was wrong to have declared Osun state governorship election on Saturday even as he declined to comment on the possibility or otherwise of a consensus candidate ahead of the October 6 primary election.

At the time of filing this report, vehicles bearing the portraits of former Jigawa state governor, Sule Lamido were seen at Legacy House; an indication that the Presidential aspirant was also on line to be screened.

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