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PRESIDENCY: PDP’s aspirants ready to accept consensus candidate — Saraki

PRESIDENCY: PDP’s aspirants ready to accept consensus candidate — Saraki

By Dirisu Yakubu, Ugochukwu Alaribe, Gabriel Olawale & Ikechukwu Odu, ABUJA

• As NWC meets on zoning today

• Obi tipped to emerge as South-East consensus candidate

• Why Nigerians can’t afford to repeat 2015/2019 mistake — Peter Obi

• Failure to embrace zoning will be chaotic — Bode George

FORMER Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, has said that presidential aspirants on the platform of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, were ready to drop their personal ambition for a consensus candidate to rescue the country from its present challenges.He spoke as the National Working Committee, NWC, of the PDP will meet today to deliberate on which zone of the country should produce the party’s presidential candidate for next year’s election.

Saraki, who disclosed this while briefing journalists in Aba, Abia State, after consultation with Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, said the aspirants had been consulting in the spirit of national interest to ensure that the PDP emerges victorious in the 2023 election.

One of the issues to be discussed by the PDP NWC, ahead of the May 28 presidential primaries, is unity among governors elected on its platform

Yesterday, the 37-man committee on zoning, chaired by Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, officially submitted its report to the NWC.

Top on the agenda of today’s meeting is the zoning dilemma, which in the past few weeks, generated tension among chieftains of the party.

While some founding fathers of the party, including former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, and former Information Minister, Professor Jerry Gana, among others, made strong arguments in favour of throwing the party’s presidential ticket open, governors of the Southern states rejected same, insisting the contest should be made a Southern affair like it was in 2019 when the party zoned the ticket to the North. The committee reportedly threw the presidential ticket open in its recommendation.

The NWC, Vanguard was reliably informed, and will take a detailed look at the report preparatory to presenting same to the National Executive Committee, NEC, of the party, next week.

Another issue listed for deliberation is the tension growing among the PDP governors on whether or not to zone the presidential ticket.

Unlike their Southern counterparts, Northern governors want an open contest, with Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State and his Sokoto counterpart, Aminu Tambuwal, both aspiring for the sole ticket.

Although not in the race themselves, Adamawa State governor, Ahmadu Fintiri; Taraba State governor, Darius Ishaku; and Samuel Ortom of Benue State are pitched in different camps.

While Ortom is reportedly maintaining a neutral position, Ishaku and Fintiri are the pro-open tickets, even as Adamawa State governor has not hidden his preference for former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to fly the party’s flag in the 2023 election.

Zoning and related matters, Vanguard gathered, are causing fears in the leadership of the party, particularly given the tone in which Abia State governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, delivered the position of the PDP Southern governors last week.

Zoning Committee report

Presenting the report to the National Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, yesterday, Deputy Chairman of the zoning committee and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Ndudi Elumelu, assured the NWC that the committee did a good job on the assignment.

He said: “I am not by virtue of the terms of reference, allowed to roll out the content of the resolution because our job is to finish, submit and theirs to take a decision. So, I believe that it is the NEC that has the statutory right to release the content of what we have done. So, I will officially, on behalf of my colleagues make the presentation of submitting the report.”

Receiving the report, Ayu, on behalf of the NWC commended the committee for turning in its resolution within the assigned time frame.

Ayu said: “We are very proud of the work you have done. We did not hear any rancour. We did not hear anybody even talking about what you discussed? Given the sensitive nature of your assignment, if you had already released everything either by disagreement or rancour or anything, it will be very difficult for this party, but you showed so much maturity and leadership. And I believe all members of this great party appreciate the way you have conducted yourselves.

“I want to assure you that your recommendations will be transmitted to the national executive of your party, of which many of you are members. It will be discussed and then it is at that point that NEC will take a final decision.

“This decision will be known to party members across the country and all Nigerians who are eagerly awaiting the final decision of your committee.

“By next year, we should be talking of returning to the 1999 and 2003 era When we had more than 20 governors, controlled both houses of the National Assembly and controlled the presidency because our ultimate aim as we keep saying is to win the Presidency and that will happen very soon,” he assured.

The NWC meeting is held as former Senate President and 2023 presidential aspirant, Dr Bukola Saraki said presidential aspirants on the banner of the PDP are willing to abandon personal interests and accept the emergence of a consensus candidates to rescue Nigeria from the bad governance of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

However, former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Chief Olabode George warned that failure to embrace zoning would cause chaos in the PDP.

Also, former Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi was tipped to emerge as the consensus candidate of the South-East just as Obi, who visited Lagos State PDP after speaking on Arise TV, said Nigerians cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of electing “incompetent people” as they did in 2015 and 2019.

Why PDP aspirants will drop personal ambition for consensus

The former senate president, who came with Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto and former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of defunct FSB International Bank Plc, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen, explained that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar was aware of the plan to have a consensus candidate.

His words: “We’ve had a good discussion with Governor. Okezie Ikpeazu as a key stakeholder in our party and a leader of our party. As you are aware, four of us, who are aspirants have been going around consulting.

“We’ve been discussing the consensus arrangement for the interest of our party and the country. And the four of us have agreed to support the consensus arrangement to ensure that we unite and put PDP in a position to win the 2023 election because Nigerians are going through hardship.

“Insecurity is much, just a few days ago some people lost their lives and these and more are the reasons we’ve decided to unite because the lives of Nigerians are more important than individual ambitions. We are here to seek support to ensure that the PDP wins. “This is the first time this is happening, with aspirants coming together. It is a tough challenge and people believe it will not work. We assure Nigerians that we are very determined.”

Saraki added that they are driven by the determination to turn Nigeria around as accepting consensus is the sacrifice they have to pay.

“We’re motivated to hear leaders like Gov Ikpeazu urging us to go ahead. From this place, we’re going to meet the Governor of Enugu State and after that, we would have concluded our tour round the 14 Governors of the PDP, who all along have shown their commitment to this arrangement,” he said.

In his remarks, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu expressed gladness that his hope for the emergence of a new Nigeria has been rekindled.

“You have my commitment and co-operation as you move on. And I’ll do my little bit to ensure that all of us come together. I want to encourage all the aspirants wherever they are coming from to come together and realise that someone needs to be alive to be selfish.

“Before you become a selfish person, you must be alive otherwise a dead man can’t be selfish. The survival of our country and the interest of the poor masses should come before whatever personal agenda anyone has. Only one person will be president.

Let the president, who is ready to serve Nigeria emerge, not the one that will serve himself,’’ he said.

Nigeria needs natural, defensive security to be safe — Obi

Meanwhile, Mr Peter Obi, yesterday, said that Nigeria needs both natural and defensive security to scale through the insecurity challenges in the country.

Obi explained that Nigerians must be pulled out of poverty through genuine empowerment while necessary security equipment must be procured and given to experts to prevent the country from collapsing under insecurity.

Speaking at Arise TV’s breakfast programme, he added that all-level methods of policing, which would be coordinated at the centre should be employed to address the insecurity challenges in the country.

“There are two forms of security, there is natural security and defensive security. Natural security entails that people must have food on their table. If you don’t know where your next meal will come from, you will become a willing tool for everything that is wrong. So, I will start pulling people out of poverty if I emerge as the President of Nigeria in 2023.

“These banditry, kidnapping, agitations etc are cumulative effects of failure of leadership to invest on the citizenry. Because people don’t have means of livelihood, they are trying to take revenge on the society, which may lead to the country’s eventual collapse, if something is not done to address the situation,” he said.

Repeating 2015/2019 mistake‘ll come with greater consequences

Obi also urged Nigerians not to repeat the mistake they made during the 2015 and 2019 general elections by voting for a competent leader in 2023.

Speaking during a consultation visit to PDP Stakeholders in Lagos, Obi said that the country is going through very difficult times that must not continue otherwise the whole country will pay for it.

He said: “We all have a responsibility to ensure that we don’t make a mistake in 2023 by voting for incompetence.

“This country is going through very difficult times and we must not allow it to continue otherwise all of us will pay for the consequences. We must ensure that the candidate with capacity, competence and commitment to change the trajectory of Nigeria is elected in the party primary.”

Obi said that his past record in Anambra State speaks for him on how he will manage the affairs of the country properly.

He said: “People can compare my past with other candidates. Interrogate people’s past and ask questions about where some aspirants were in the past and how they arrived at their present. Some people have told different stories in the past that they didn’t fulfil. Now is the time to invest in a credible candidate like me.”

Failure to embrace zoning will be chaotic — Bode George

In his response, former Deputy National Chairman of PDP, Olabode George said that PDP as a party has the obligation of ensuring that the presidential ticket is zoned to the South, warning that “anything short of that will be chaotic.”

He said: “From 1999, it is the tradition and culture of our great party to announce where the presidency will be zoned to. To keep quiet now will send a wrong signal to the electorate. Remember when APC came, they said they don’t believe in zoning but they have done their zoning now. If we fail to do so, it will become a national campaign issue.

“Zoning is a gift from the founding fathers of this country to our party and this nation, now is going around, for us to be quiet means there is something that is not right. We are noted for that culture and we must sustain it.”

He said that Peter Obi has proven on several occasions to be a trusted, responsible and respectable person with full of capacity to run the affairs of this country effectively.”

Obi tipped to emerge as South-East consensus candidate

Meanwhile, a former South-East governor and a member, of PDP NEC has tipped Obi to emerge as the consensus candidate of the South-East for the PDP ticket.

Obi, the 2019 running mate to former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar obtained his expression of interest and nomination forms a fortnight ago, joining ex-Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim; businessman, Sam Ohuabunwa; and medical practitioner turned politician, Nwachukwu Anakwenze from the South-East to indicate interest in the Office of the President on the platform of the PDP. Last week, the four aspirants met in Abuja to begin preliminary talks over consensus, a development, Vanguard learned, was well-received by party leaders in the zone including Governors Okezie Ikpeazu and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Abia and Enugu states respectively.

Ahead of the primary election, state chapters of the party in Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Abia and Ebonyi are expected to meet and make presentations to a larger stakeholders meeting.

However, the former governor said “Peter Obi’s stewardship in Anambra has got everyone talking and that is certainly an edge. His business acumen and zero tolerance for waste are issues party leaders have spoken to us about and they are the issues party chieftains from the zone are also talking about.

“At the appropriate time, our leaders will call on them to go about this in a friendly and brotherly manner. We are happy and proud of the fact that passion to make a difference in the life of our nation pushed them to join the race.”

‘’What is important is presenting someone, whose ideas and personality would be easier to market to all Nigerians, not just South-Easterners alone. Like the title of a novel ‘This is our Chance,’ it is incumbent upon us to make the most of it. Obi ticks the boxes now and he will represent everyone well,” he added.

-Vanguardwp_posts

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Posted by on Apr 14 2022. Filed under General Politics, Latest Politics, National Politics, Party Politics, Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP), Top Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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