High Dimension

3,700 delegates to decide the fate of 15 PDP presidential candidates

• Plots as Bala Mohammed is listed as the main aspirant of Bauchi guber

• Tambuwal allegedly bought a senatorial election form

• The party will present a leadership that will relieve Nigeria, promises the governor of Benue

Chuks Okocha

The race to see who will emerge as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate has entered a new dimension as former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; former Anambra State Governor Peter Obi; former Senate President Dr. Bukola Saraki, former Federation Government Secretary Anyim Pius Anyim and Ovation magazine publisher Chief Dele Momodu have stepped up their respective campaigns.

THISDAY’s findings showed that their campaigns aimed to woo 3,700 delegates, including 40% statutory delegates and 60% elected delegates from the 740 local government areas and six area councils in the Federal Capital Territory.

The party’s presidential convention is set to be held in Abuja on May 28-29, with the leading candidates stepping up their campaigns by meeting party delegates across the country.

Some also meet party delegates who are former members of the National Working Committee.

Speaking on his campaigns, the former Vice President said: “My advisory trips to Abia and Imo and my engagements with PDP leaders and delegates affirm that a deliberate policy of inclusiveness, security and infrastructure will foster entrepreneurship and unleash the full potential of the people of the states to their advantage and the benefit of the rest of Nigeria.

“I was honored to have participated in the Atiku Town Hall meeting earlier today in Abuja. The consensus is that if we can enthrone a regime of security and unity, that will pave the way for the “firm entrenchment of economic policies that will usher in prosperity and economic development. Together, we can make it happen.”

Commenting after visiting delegates from Edo, Delta and Kogi, Saraki said, “My social contract with Nigerians is my blueprint to start fixing Nigeria from my very first day in office.

These are not just words, they highlight the concrete policies that my administration will undertake. »

However, THISDAY has gathered that two of the presidential aspirants, one from the northeast and the other from the northwest, are in high profile politics after secretly securing alternative forms to contest the gubernatorial election. and the senatorial election.

The results showed that one of the two presidential candidates could appear before the selection committee for the gubernatorial election in one of the northeastern states and the other before that for the senatorial election. scheduled for this week. The National Organizing Secretary of the PDP, Hon. Umar Bature is aware of this development, THISDAY learned. The PDP gubernatorial primary is expected to start this week.

Reliable sources told THISDAY that it was because of the dual ambition of one of the presidential candidates that caused Senator Ibrahim Abdullahi Danbaba, who represents Sokoto South in the Senate, to defect to the APC.

The senator representing Sokoto Sud had to defect to the APC to allow it to contest the senatorial seat a second time.

Senator Danbaba had to defect because he learned that the PDP had allegedly reserved the senatorial ticket for the governor, Aminu Tambuwal, who is also a presidential candidate.

The source said the National Organizing Secretary of the PDP is part of the plan for a presidential candidate to purchase two forms, one as an alternative, if he fails to secure the party’s presidential ticket.

A PDP source, while commenting on the matter, said, “Let me emphasize that the principle of dual nomination has long been recognized by political parties as a guarantee against the loss of seats and safe states in elections. crucial elections and in unique circumstances.

“It is legal, legitimate and a wise strategic disposition of political parties and their main impact actors.”

A similar thing is happening in Bauchi state, where the governor’s name, Bala Mohammed, figures prominently among those contesting the gubernatorial primary election from May 21, even though he is also the l one of the presidential aspirants of the PDP.

Confirming that the Bauchi State Governor was also a candidate for a second term as well as the presidency, Dr Udenta Udenta, who serves as the general manager of Bala Mohammad’s presidential campaign, said: “Senator Rochas Okorocha did so with the full support of the APC in 2014, when he ran for president as governor for the first time and was later re-elected as governor for a second term in 2015. , thus keeping the seat safe for his party.

“Aminu Tambuwal did the same in 2018, when as first-term governor he ran for president and was later re-elected as second-term governor in 2015, again retaining the seat. safe for the PDP,” he said.

He explained that it was part of PDP’s strategy to maintain essential offices.

Meanwhile, Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has said that the PDP will present Nigeria with the leadership that will lift the country out of the socio-economic difficulties it is currently going through at the hands of the Federal Congress of All Progressives. (APC). government.

The governor said this yesterday when he received Saraki, who was in the state soliciting support from delegates ahead of the party’s presidential primaries.

The Governor expressed his confidence in the ability of the former Governor of Kwara to resolve the multiple challenges facing the country if given the opportunity.

He described Saraki as a politician who had distinguished himself and was known for championing the cause of justice and fairness.

Ortom praised Saraki for the peaceful manner in which he ran his campaign and urged him to maintain a smooth working relationship with the other presidential candidates.

The governor acknowledged that the former Senate speaker has always identified with the state in its difficult times, saying he has distinguished himself as a true friend of the state.

Earlier, Saraki recalled that the story of his presidential ambition would be traced in Benue State, saying his declaration journey started in Makurdi, the state capital.

He said Nigeria needs a courageous leader who has the capacity to face the problems, stressing that he will be firm in the fight against insecurity and tackle the injustices inflicted on the citizens by the current administration. of the APC.

Saraki argued that Nigeria was at a defining moment in its history and needed a president who could unite the country, stressing that “without unity there can be no progress.”