As the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) recently flagged off activities ahead of the 2019 general elections in the country, the interest of about 12 presidential aspirants have forced the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT) to set up a committee that will pick a consensus candidate, writes Adedayo Akinwale
The National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has since started sale of Expression of Interest and Nomination forms for its members seeking to contest various offices in the 2019 general elections, thus increasing the pace of political activities at the Wadata Plaza, the National headquarters of the PDP in Abuja as political office seekers come in on daily basis to purchase forms.
The opposition party pegged the expression of interest forms for presidential aspirants at N2 million, while nomination form is pegged at N10 million. Also, expression of interest form for the Governorship election is pegged at N1 million, while nomination form is N5 million. Similarly, expression of interest from for the Senate is pegged at N500, 000, while nomination form is pegged at N3 million. Expression of interest form for the House of Representatives is pegged at N500,000, while nomination form is N1.5 million. The party’s nomination forms for national delegates is pegged at N20,000, while that of three ad-hoc delegates is pegged at N5,000.
The party has directed all aspirants for Presidential, Governorship, Senate, and House of Representatives to purchase their forms at the national headquarters of the party in Abuja, while all aspirants for State House of Assembly elections are to purchase their forms at the national or state party secretariats. The party however exempted all female aspirants from payment for purchase of nomination forms for all offices except national ad-hoc delegate categories.
When compared with 2015 general elections, the main opposition party revised downward its fees. In 2015, the then ruling party pegged its presidential nomination and expression of interest form at N22 million in 2015, while that of governorship was N11 million . I
n 2015, the Senate was N4.5 million, while House of Representatives was pegged at N2.5 million. The House of Assembly was pegged at N1.2 million.
Political heavyweight jostle for PDP ticket
Despite the party selling forms for various political positions, the presidential ticket has attracted so many political heavyweight within the party. As at last count, the opposition party already has 13 aspirants jostling for its presidential ticket.
Those in the race for the presidential ticket of the PDP 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 former Minister Special Duties Duties and Inter-governmental Affaires, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki.
Others are: former President of the Senate, David Mark; former Governor of Kano State, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso; a former Governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa; a former Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang; Mr. Stanley Osifo and a former Senator, Dr. Baba Datti Ahmed.
Presidential aspirants disagree on consensus candidate
However presidential aspirants on the platform of PDP seem not to agree on a consensus candidate. While some think it is the best if an agreement could be reached, others think it will be undemocratic.
A former Speaker of the House of Representatives and Governor of Sokoto state, Aminu Tambuwal said that having a consensus candidate in the 2019 general elections was part of democratic process.
Tambuwal, said, “I can’t say there is no need for consensus; it is part of democratic process. If there is a possibility of it, why not? If it is not possible, then, we all go for the primaries. But I believe that PDP of today is capable of organising free, fair, credible and transparent primaries.”
Also, Presidential hopeful and former Minister of Special Duties, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki said that no agreement has been reached about presenting consensus candidate.
He said; “the position of the party is that the party is not forcing the aspirants to a consensus, the party just wants the aspirants to discuss among themselves. I cannot tell you on good authority now the position, because each aspirant has been coming here to pick the form. So that presupposes for now that there is no discussion amongst them for a consensus, otherwise only one person would have probably picked the form at this stage.”
On his part, the former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa, vehemently opposed presenting consensus candidate, saying it is undemocratic.
He noted; “I think you people are not interested in democracy. If we are talking of consensus at least we are players. I expected you to be a good watchers of the playing ground so that you can see how the game is going to play. If we say that we are going for consensus, what are we going to do with it? We agree we are all brothers. We see it as a game.
“Therefore, if anybody is interested in withdrawing himself from the race, it’s a welcome idea. But talking of consensus you are going to fall like APC where we are going to have a one-man show.
“We don’t want to go for one-man show. We want to practise democracy so that people will choose their own better candidate. For example, if APC is playing democracy, they will allow an least three to four aspirants to aspire for the position. But because the party is a limited liability company while PDP is a public limited company, it is welcome by everybody,” he noted.
Meanwhile, former governor of Kano state, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso said presenting a consensus candidate is the best. “if the window exist, which I know it does, presenting a consensus candidate is the best,” he sake.