Next month PDP will be having their presidential primaries to decide who will fly their ticket in the 2019 general elections. Previous week saw high profile defection of top politicians from the APC to the PDP; Three (3) Governors, senators and the senate president decamped. Although, yesterday NEC meeting by the PDP cleared the likes of Musa Kwankwanso (Kano), Bukola Saraki (Kwara) and Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto) to contest for the presidential primaries. Let’s look at the probable candidates for the positions.
PDP Presidential :
Sule Lamido: If loyalty to a party is to be a factor in picking the party ticket for the general elections, then look no further than the Godfather of Jigawa politics. He is among the G34 founding member of PDP in 1998. He is a protege of Aminu kano. He does not believe in Ahmadu bello kind of politics that we see in the north now. He is the first candidate to declare his intention to run for PDP ticket far back in 2016 during his EFCC court trials. He is popular in some states in the North such as Jigawa, Kano, Gombe, Bauchi, Sokoto. He is relatively unknown in north central and southern party t of the country.
Musa Kwankwaso: The Current senator, and former Governor is arguably the second strongest man in Northern politics just behind Buhari. His political clout and movement kwankwansiyya is a force In almost all the Northern states in Nigeria, he surprisingly came second during the APC presidential primary only behind the winner BUHARI. He is also a popular figure to the masses. But this large followership in the north does not transcend to the southern part. As many southeners see him as an ethnic bigot and religious fanatic like Buhari. This may not fetch him the required votes to defeat the incumbent.
Atiku Abubakar: The former vice president of Nigeria for 8 years (1999-2007) is a regular contestant for presidential elections since 2007 where he contested in the defunct ACN and came a distant third with about 3 million votes. He also contested for the PDP primaries with GeJ and lost in 2011, and then contested with Buhari in 2015 for the APC and came third behind Kwankwanso. He has the political structural and National Appeal to me win. His restructuring mantra resonates in the southern region. But his problem might be his inability to pull in the required 25% votes in the Northern part of the country as majority of the citizens see him as an elite and corrupt. His major support is from the Governor of Ekito state, Ayo fayose.
Aminu Makarfi: He is a former commissioner, senator and Governor of Kaduna state. He is also the founder of a popular political and civil group: the centre for peace, and conflict resolution. He was the former chairman of PDP caretaker committee during the crisis regarding the sheriff faction, and he brought peace and tranquillity to th opposition party. The question is does he have the delegates to win the primaries? Apart from states such as Kaduna, Kogi, plateau and Niger. He might find it hard to garner votes from the remaining northern states, plus he has little or no followership in the southern part of the country to help his presidential ambition.
Ibrahim Dankwambo: A professional accountant and the youngest presidential candidate running for PDP. If youth was to be a factor in getting the ticket, then look no further than Dakwambo. He has the backing of few PDP governors such as Okowa of Delta, Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa and Ayo Fayose of Ekiti state. But he is not a popular politician in the North, infact apart from his home state Gombe, It will be an herculean task getting votes in the middle belt and other core northern states. His governor friends and youths in NIGERIA can garner him necessary votes in the southern part. He is the only aspirant that doesn’t have a corruption case on his neck. This can be a factor during campaigns for election.
Saminu Turaki: in terms of political experience, this Kebbi born politician can be said to be the least qualified. He is famously known as the former minister of special duties during GEJ regime. I don’t think he stands a chance during the PDP primaries as he is relatively unknown and don’t have the political network and support for his ambition. He is thought to be the candidate of Goodluck Jonathan.
Bukola Saraki: The 3rd powerful man in the country, the unofficial governor of Kwara state and the current senate president needs no introduction to the political landscape of the country. His political network, national appeal and grassroot support especially in the middle belt region is a factor in the race for the ticket. Although, he may find it hard to gain the votes of the core northern people who doesn’t see him as one of them (yoruba name) and also his attack on the president/APC can count against him in the core north. As the senate president, and former governor. He certainly has lot of help from his former governor colleague and senators representing different constituency in Nigeria regarding the ticket. He is arguably the most popular politician in the opposition party, and was recently awarded the National leader of the party.
Aminu Tambuwal: The former speaker of the house of reps, and current Governor of Sokoto state is a political collosus in his own right. It is known that the sultan of Sokoto, Emir of Kano and the governor of Rivers state is tacitly supporting his ambition. He is the second youngest aspirant and is relatively popular in the northern region. He was famously touted as the presidential candidates of the APC before the emergence of buhari at the last minute. He is loved by the southern region as they do not regard him as an ethnic bigot.
Ayo Fayose: The outgoing governor is a force to reckon with in PDP, he is currently the chairman of PDP governor forum, he is regarded as the second in command after Nyesom Wike. His candidate got the National publicity secretary of the party during their recent National convention. Last year he offered himself to contest for the presidential ticket of the PDP. But many see that as a strategy to be picked for vice presidential slot. He was also thought to be the arrowhead of the National chairmanship position not going to JIMI Agbaje/south west due to his personal ambition. The VP ticket is zoned to the southern part, but south south region is out due to the chairmanship position coming from there. He is touted as Atiku candidate.
Ike Ekweremadu: The Current deputy senate president was the highest ranked member of the party and the National leader before the defection of Bukola Saraki. He is said to be jostling for the vice presidential slot for a while now. He is very popular among the governors, also with the ambition of his boss Bukola Saraki to be the presidential candidate. There might just be a union of Saraki/Ekweremadu candidature in the PDP. Moreover the position is zoned to the south east/west region.
Peter Obi: The former Governor of Anambra state is an astute and humble gentleman, his work during his reign as the Anambra state Governor still speaks for him till this day. He is th only vice presidential aspirant that doesn’t have a corruption case hanging on his neck, his business acumen and erudity can be of benefit to the ticket with whoever he emerges with. Also, the thought of Igbo being a vice president of the country for the first time in this civilian dispensation will gain massive support for the party, of course with the hope of Igbo ruling the country very soon.