PDP presidential aspirants warn governors against interference in primaries

Posted by Temidayo Akinsuyi, Samuel Ogidan | 31 August 2018 | 1,654 times

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Presidential aspirants seeking to contest the 2019 election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have warned state governors in the party to refrain from interfering in the primaries.

They stated this Wednesday night during the meeting called by the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) to facilitate consensus building among the aspirants.

According to a credible source, the meeting centred on how to prune down the rising number of presidential aspirants of the party, get their consent to accept the outcome of the primaries and join hands with the eventual winner in seeking victory for the party.

As at the last count, 12 presidential aspirants have indicated interest to vie for the presidency on the platform of the party.

The aspirants currently in the contest are Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President; Bukola Saraki, Senate President; Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State and Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, a former governor of Kano State.

Others are a former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa; a former governor of Kaduna State, Ahmed Makarfi; Gov. Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State; a former Minister of Special Duties, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki; a former governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau; a former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido; Jonah Jang, former governor of Plateau State and founder of Baze University, Datti Baba-Ahmed.

However, aspirants that attended the meeting which took place at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, were Atiku Abubakar, Bukola Saraki, Jonah Jang, Aminu Tambuwal, Attahiru Bafarawa, Ahmed Makarfi, Rabiu Kwankwaso, and Kabir Tanimu Turaki.

Aside the governors, the aspirants who spoke in unison also said no public officials should interfere in the primaries while also calling for a level playing field for all the aspirants.

The aspirants also warned against inducements of any sorts and asked the party leadership to ensure free, fair and transparent primaries.

Our source said the party leadership accepted to abide by the conditions given by the aspirants.

While holding Uche Secondus, the party’s National Chairman, to account on these promises, they said these conditions if met is the only reason why they will accept the outcome of the primaries and work with the eventual winner.

“This is their first meeting and generally, the appeal by the party was on if they can accept to cut their numbers down and the second one was that the party promised free, fair and credible primaries.

“But the truth of the matter is that all the aspirants spoke in the same vein of not allowing the governors to interfere in the primaries and ensure a level playing ground for everybody. That one is settled. This is the summary of what happened at the meeting”, our source said.

According to another source, who pleaded anonymity, the party prevailed on the presidential aspirants to eschew negative utterances capable of hurting the electoral fortune of the PDP in the 2019 elections.

“By and large, we reminded them (aspirants) that whatever happens to the party, happens to all of us. We charged them to be civil in their utterances and reminded them that the world is watching how the party will come up with its presidential candidate.

“Perhaps, the biggest take-away from the meeting was the agreement entered into by all the aspirants to support whoever emerges winner of the sole ticket after the primaries. They assured us that they would stay put in the party regardless of the outcome of the primary election,” he said.

Addressing newsmen at the end of the meeting, Saraki noted that all aspirants decided to meet with the party leadership primarily to promote oneness of purpose and to ensure Nigerians of the primacy of national interest at all times.

He said, “We came here to promote unity, cooperation and to stay focused on our message to Nigerians. We are here to show that our party, the PDP, is united because for us, what matters are the Nigerian people and not our individual interests.”

Also speaking, Kwankwaso again condemned the events that culminated in his formal presidential declaration in Abuja on Wednesday. Bemoaning what he called a growing culture of impunity in the nation’s polity, the lawmaker said the level of political intolerance in the country today is worse compared to 2015.

•Excerpted from a Daily Independent report.

Source: News Express

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