Indications are rife that most Peoples Democratic Party presidential contenders may settle for transparent and credible primaries.
This follows Tuesday’s rejection of the consensus candidate option by two PDP Presidential aspirants of the, Senators Bukola Saraki and Jonah Jang.
An official of the party told Vanguard in confidence Tuesday that the rejection of the option by the aspirants was in connection with the earlier pledge by the National Working Committee, NWC, of the party to provide a level playing field for all aspirants to the various elective offices in the 2019 general elections.
Although the leadership of the party has not issued a statement to the contrary, media reports recently claimed the party was mooting the idea of pruning the number to avert post-convention crisis.
Last week, the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the party set up an ad-hoc committee which function, according to the chairman, Senator Walid Jibrin, will be to work on a consensus candidate to fly the ticket of the party.
Investigation by Vanguard also revealed that the decision to set up another committee to liaise with the NWC to make it “speak with one voice,” with the BoT, is a strategy aimed at forging a common front on a consensus candidate.
He said: “There is a reason most of our Presidential aspirants want a credible primary election to pick the flag bearer. One of the things that convinced high-profile defectors to return to the PDP was the promise of a transparent process of selection.
“Whether we like it or not, these leaders have their followers and almost each and everyone of them think he can clinch the ticket on merit. So, asking them to drop their ambition and rally behind one may be very difficult. That is one.
“At every opportunity, the national leadership of our party has continuously tagged itself a rebranded plarform. What that means simply is that the days of imposition and impunity, which the chairman apologised for at a public forum not long ago, are gone forever.
“If, therefore, an idea of a consensus is to be entertained, it should not come from any organ of the party. This is why most of the contenders want to go to the poll and lose gallantry provided the process is not tainted.”
Tambuwal’s silence explained
On the relative quietness in the camp of Sokoto State governor and Presidential hopeful, Aminu Tambuwal, a source said the former speaker of the House of Representatives was probably working behind the scene to “gain an itch advantage.”
Asked if earlier speculations that the governor was the preferred choice of party bigwigs still hold water, the source declined comment, adding, however, that “everything is possible in politics.”
He said: “The governor (Tambuwal) is probably doing his thing his own way. So I don’t agree with you that earlier permutations are no longer tenable. In any case, everything is possible in politics and you may be right.”
Consensus, not a problem for me – Makarfi
Despite the opposition to the consensus model for many Presidential aspirants, including former Jigawa State governor, Sule Lamido, erstwhile Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, and a host of others; one of the aspirants, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, has said he was not bothered by the clamour, even as he pledged to subscribe to what was collectively agreed to by all the contenders.
In a chat with Vanguard yesterday, Makarfi said: ” I am open to anything collectively agreed to. Like I said before, whatever the position taken by our party, provided it enjoys the support of all, is okay by me.”
It is clear that barring any dramatic twist, the party would have to wait till October 5 and 6, 2018, to know who emerges its Presidential candidate.