As the countdown to the 2019 general elections begin, all eyes are now on which of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the Presidential Aspirants will end President Muhammadu Buhari’s political career, come 2019.
The PDP will likely choose among a myriad of Aspirants, who have shown interest in the highest political position in the country, with many top Politicians saying that it will not be an easy task.
The followings are some of the eight powerful contenders from the PDP at the moment.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has thrown himself into the ring, jostling to secure the ticket of the leading opposition party. He has consistently bashed the current Government for not living up to its mandate in the areas of security and economy, among others.
Atiku had vied for the Presidency in 1993 during then-President Ibrahim Babangida’s aborted transition, when he won third place during the primary election of the defunct Social Democratic Party, SDP, which favoured late MKO Abiola.
He also contested the 2007 Presidential election on the platform of the defunct Action Congress, AC, after realizing that he could not get the PDP ticket because of his frosty relationship with former President, Olusegun Obasanjo.
Atiku also contested the Presidential ticket with former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011.
He later dumped the PDP for the APC and contested the 2015 Presidential ticket with Buhari and three others, but lost.
Some party leaders have said that Atiku is not in the good books of some critical stakeholders, including the Governors elected on the platform of the PDP who to a large extent determine who picks the ticket.
However, the Director, Media and Publicity of the Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation, Segun Showunmi disclosed that Atiku derives his strength from the Governors, Board of Trustees, BoT, members, former Ministers, PDP members and even non-party members across the country.
“He is comfortable in all the geopolitical zones, he is pan-Nigerian, and understands the contemporary issues. With Atiku flying the PDP’s flag, we can easily say Buhari should go and have a rest,” he said.
Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo
Dankwambo is a second-term Governor of Gombe State who is said to have performed very well there. The Governor has age by his side and enjoys the support of many, including his colleagues in the PDP Governors’ Forum.
Dankwambo’s entry into the race has given hope to some members of the party and non-members in the North-East who feel the region should also take a shot at the Presidency and not the North-West.
He was Accountant-General of the Federation and is said to have the financial strength to run.
An anonymous source disclosed that if the Government of the day continues its alleged clampdown on opposition leaders, the party would have no option than to field the Governor who would have immunity till May 29, 2019.
“Dankwambo, to me will be a good candidate because he is a young man full of energy. He is well-educated and has done very well as Governor. He also has immunity unlike some of these other aspirants that could be picked at any time; I think the party needs to think in that line,” he said.
Duke is a former Governor of Cross River State and one of the notable politicians in the former President, Olusegun Obasanjo’s Coalition for Nigeria Movement, CNM, who has declared to run for the Presidency.
Though he was elected on the platform of the PDP as Governor, Duke had recently pitched tent with the CNM, but later in April, defended himself that he is still a member of the PDP. Many believe that he too is only angling for the VP slot.
Makarfi served for eight years as Governor of Kaduna State and did another eight years at the Senate thereafter. He later became Chairman of the PDP National Caretaker Committee, NWC, during the intense leadership crisis that ravaged the party for 14 months.
Makarfi had after his exit from office in the second week of December, 2017, maintained sealed lips concerning his ambition until a few weeks ago when he declared to run for the party’s ticket.
Insiders believe that the ex-Governor has good chances of emerging as the party’s candidate, considering his track record as Governor and at the Senate, including his towering credentials in the management of the PDP crisis which subsequently saw Senator Ali Modu Sheriff thrown out by the Supreme Court.
Makarfi was said to have tackled the religious and ethnic violence that sprang up during his reign as Governor of Kaduna State. That feat, perhaps, brought him to the limelight at the national level and since then, his profile has continued to rise.
Malam Ibrahim Shekarau
Shekarau is a former Governor of Kano State, who also worked relentlessly during the 14-month legal battle within the party under the aegis of PDP Ex-Ministers’ Forum. Shekarau has officially written to the PDP on his intention to vie for the Presidency. He is seen as one of those serious about PDP reclaiming power in 2019.
Shekarau is also seen by many as a force. “As far as I am concerned, the issue of the contest on the platform of the PDP is a level playing ground for everybody.
Each and every member is free to test his popularity and political weight when the time comes,” he had said.
However, analysts have said that Shekarau does not have the clout to defeat an incumbent President if given the ticket. Findings revealed that the former Governor does not have much support from power brokers in the party.
Lamido, a former Governor of Jigawa State and one of the founding fathers of the PDP, has also indicated interest in the party’s ticket for 2019.
Analysts revealed that the onetime Minister of Foreign Affairs has the clout to win the party’s ticket considering his track records of sacrifices made to the party since its formation in 1998. Despite his travails, he has not left the PDP.
It is instructive to note that while the party was experiencing setbacks in other climes after its defeat in 2015, it was thriving in Lamido’s home State of Jigawa to the extent that some members of the ruling APC reportedly defected to the PDP.
Lamido was a member of the House of Representatives in the Second Republic and a leading member of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, in the Third Republic. Despite his track records, insiders said that he cannot fly the party’s flag because of corruption allegations hanging on his neck.
Fayose is the Governor of Ekiti State and Chairman of PDP Governors’ Forum. He declared to run for the party’s ticket in September last year but maintained a low profile a few weeks after. His declaration was against the zoning formula in the PDP considering that the ticket had been zoned to the north, while he is from the south.
Insiders, however, disclosed that the Governor who would be leaving office in the last quarter of this year is eyeing the Vice Presidential ticket and not the apex one. His challenge, however, is that there are many contenders.
It was gathered that the Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, former Minister of Finance Okonjo-Iweala, and former Secretary of the PDP National Caretaker Committee Sen. Ben Obi, are likely to contest the VP slot.
Mark is a four-time serving Senator and ex-Senate President. He is former Military Governor of Niger State and experienced Benue-born politician. During his reign as Senate President, Mark brought stability to the Senate by bringing diplomacy to bear on issues before the floor.
The Lawmaker has maintained sealed lips over his ambition, but it was gathered that many groups, especially from the North-Central, have submitted letters prodding him to run for the office of the President.
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