Barring last minutes change of plans, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, will today make formal declaration of his intent to vie for the office of the president on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) come 2019, LEADERSHIP exclusively learnt last night.
The declaration will take place at an elaborate event billed for Abuja. As a part of the last-minute preparation for the declaration, which will be attended by governors, members of the National Assembly and supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Saraki yesterday visited former President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja, where the duo met behind closed-doors.
Multiple sources told LEADERSHIP that Saraki had gone to intimate Jonathan of his aspiration before its formal declaration today after paying similar visits to former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Ibrahim Babangida, former head of state Abdulsalami Abubakar, elder statesman Chief Edwin Clark and some PDP governors, among other party stakeholders.
Saraki, a two-term governor of Kwara State, had aspired to become President in 2014 on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) before shelving his ambition for a return to the senatorial seat of Kwara Central in the Senate in 2015.
Details of the event are shrouded in secrecy in order to avoid the type of treatment meted out to another PDP presidential aspirant, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, who declared his bid yesterday in Abuja at a different venue other than the popular Eagle Square, which his campaign team earlier paid for, after last-minute official refusal of use of the public facility by its managers over curious excuses.
LEADERSHIP reports that the APC-led federal government and Saraki have been involved in cat and mouse game since after the defection of Saraki from APC to PDP on July 31, 2018, a development that led to the dramatic siege laid to the National Assembly by the operatives of the DSS on August 7, 2018. While the leadership of the APC is insisting on Saraki’s resignation or impeachment from the office of the Senate President having defected to an opposition party, the latter amid his supporters maintained that the position is not a party affair but that of the 2/3 majority of Senators.
Barring last-minute change of plan, Saraki’s declaration of intent to vie for the office of the President will add him to the long list of presidential aspirants from the opposition PDP, which has former vice President Atiku Abubakar, former governors Ahmed Makarfi and Sule Lamido, former minister of Special Duties, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki (SAN), incumbent governors of Gombe and Sokoto states, Ibrahim Dankwambo and Aminu Waziri Tambuwal respectively.