Some governors, under the aegis of PDP Governors’ Forum, are divided between the choice of Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, and ex- Vice President, Atiku Abubakar.
Yet, Board of Trustees (BoT) members of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP are inching for a consensus presidential candidate of the party’s presidential primaries is slated for October 5 and 6.
A source in the PDP Governors’ Forum, who confided in our correspondent Thursday, said eight out of the 14 PDP governors were rooting for Saraki, while the remaining governors are divided between Atiku and Tambuwal.
The party has governors in Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Ekiti, Enugu, Ebonyi, Abia, Benue, Kwara, Gombe, Taraba and Sokoto states.
Of the 14 governors, Gombe and Sokoto governors are in the presidential race.
The 13 presidential aspirants vying for the PDP presidential ticket are former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar; Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal; Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Dankwabo; President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki; former Governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido; former Governor of Kaduna State, Ahmed Makarfi; and a former Special Duties Minister, Tanimu Turaki.
Others are a former President of the Senate, David Mark; former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso; former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa; former Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang; former senator, Dr. Baba Datti Ahmed, and Stanley Osifo.
The source said “the governors are divided on the best choice of the 13 aspirants. While eight backed the choice of Saraki, two are supporting Atiku, while the other two support Tambuwal. Dankwambo and Tambuwal are also in the race.”
Recall that on Tuesday, the governors, while meeting with the aspirants and members of PDP National Working Committee, NWC, had disagreed with the idea of consensus candidate and resolved that all the aspirants should go for primaries.
The source, added: “The governors disagreed with the issue of consensus. They said all the aspirants should go for the primaries to avoid unforeseen development. They want a contest among the aspirants, so the best can emerge.”
Despite the insistence of some presidential aspirants on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for a primary election to select the party’s flag bearer, the Board of Trustees, BoT, of the party has said it would prevail on all contenders to see reasons with the merit of adopting a consensus candidate for the 2019 polls.
This is even as the highly respected organ of the party is set to meet with the aspirants to interface with them on the contentious issue.
Chairman of the board, Senator Walid Jibrin, told Vanguard exclusively Thursday that in insisting on a consensus candidate, the party would be left with no option but to go for a primary election, if the aspirants fail to agree to come together.
As conscience of the party, Senator Jibrin said it behoved on the BoT to play its fatherly role and avert a possible crisis within the party, with just few months to the 2019 elections.
He said: “Let me make it clear that we believe in a consensus candidate but we are not forcing it on them (aspirants). We want them to talk to themselves so that we can at least trim the numbers because 12 is just too much.
“We hope to meet with them soon in order for us to make our stand known to them. We are thinking about this country and how we can regain power to address the many challenges facing the nation today.
“For that to happen, we must put our house in order and go into the 2019 contest as one indivisible family. This is the only way we will be able to speak as a united group of people desirous of working toward the realisation of a common goal.
“So, by and large, the stand of the BoT is borne out of the need for peace, without which the unity we are talking about will not be possible.”
However, the BoT in the words of the chairman would join hands with the National Working Committee, NWC, of the party to conduct transparent primaries, if the consensus option failed.
“If they cannot agree, then the party must stand for credible and highly transparent primaries to select a candidate. The process must be made open to the public so that no one will entertain thought of any shady deals.
“But like I said earlier, we will play our advisory role by reaching out to our aspirants before the scheduled date of primaries,” he added.
The insistence of BoT notwithstanding, some of the aspirants, including former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, ex-Jigawa State governor, Sule Lamido, his Kano and Plateau states’ counterparts, Rabiu Kwankwaso, and Jonah Jang as well as Senate President, Bukola Saraki, have all spoken against the consensus option; a position likely to be shared by virtually all the presidential contenders.