Seventeen presidential aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are up for screening today in Abuja ahead of the party’s primaries slated for May 28 and 29.
The party’s leadership had constituted a nine-man committee under the chairmanship of a former Senate President, David Mark.
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Other members of the screening committee are Chief Celestine Omehia; Chief Mike Ahamba (SAN); Dr Olusegun Mimiko; Edward Ashiekaa (SAN), and Mrs Hilda Makanto.
The screening exercise will be held at Legacy House, Abuja, the party’s presidential campaign headquarters.
The aspirants are Atiku Abubakar (Adamawa), Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (Sokoto), Bukola Saraki (Kwara), Anyim Pius Anyim (Ebonyi), Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Nyesom Wike (Rivers) and Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom).
Others are Peter Obi (Anambra), Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti), Nwachukwu Anakwenze (Anambra), Dele Momodu (Edo), Mohammed Hayatu-Deen (Borno), Sam Ohuabunwa (Imo), Cosmos Ndukwe (Abia), Charles Ugwu (Enugu), Chikwendu Kalu (Abia) and Oliver Tareila Diana.
Recall that the quest by four of the aspirants to come up with a consensus candidate collapsed last weekend.
11m votes in reserve for me — Atiku
Meanwhile, Atiku has said that he has 11 million votes reserved for him, hence that he should be given “right of first refusal” by the PDP ahead of its primaries.
Atiku, a leading presidential aspirant of the PDP, stated this when he addressed members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party in Abuja yesterday.
He said, “I am the best candidate. Under normal circumstances, Mr Chairman, this is a guy who already has 11 million votes in his kitty. And I think, as a party, you should give me the right of first refusal, but we are in a democracy. All I can urge you is to make sure that the way you have started, you also conclude by being very fair, very credible, giving every contestant the opportunity to face the electorate.”
He further said Nigerians should expect an excellent leadership from the PDP based on the way the NWC was handling the affairs of the party, adding that, “We all know that the APC has failed, but we should not take Nigerians for granted. We should go all out to let them know APC has failed and PDP has not failed on our comparative analysis. If you compare the achievements of PDP and the failure of APC, you know that you have no other choice than PDP.”
On his plans for the country, Atiku promised to devolve more powers and resources to the states “because I believe that is the best way to get Nigeria developed to its fullest capacity; by giving autonomy and resources to the various components.”
In his response, the PDP Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, urged Nigerians to be patient with the party as it had its own internal mechanisms of selecting a candidate; whether by consensus or by election “we do it transparently.”
Dr Ayu said, “Those who love our party more than us should please tarry a little; they should not select candidates for the party. They don’t have our mandate and we will not concede that mandate to anybody; young or an elder who chooses by himself to choose a candidate for us. Our internal processes will go ahead and we are going ahead with them. At the end of the day we will come up with a candidate chosen by the members of the party themselves. It is that candidate that we will present to the rest of Nigeria for the forthcoming elections.”
Malami joins Kebbi gov’ship race
After months of speculations, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), has declared intention to contest the Kebbi State governorship election in 2023.
TheCable quoted Malami as disclosing this on Thursday at an event attended by members of the Kebbi chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Atiku Bagudu, Governor of Kebbi State, was present at the event.
Mr Malami said, “The chairman of the party has announced the commencement of sales of forms for aspirants. My fellow people, let me let you know in this gathering that a lot of people have been calling on me to declare that I will contest.
“But this is not how I am. It is not part of my tradition or religion to declare that I will contest without consulting you; the people.
“If you have accepted, then from my own end, I have accepted to contest.”
Malami had earlier this month denied reports that he had declared to run for a political position.
A statement by his spokesperson, Umar Gwandu, indicated that the clarification became necessary following “a false and fabricated publication in some sections of the media.”