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2019: Group inaugurates 43 wise men for presidential candidate

By Alifa Daniel, Abuja Bureau Chief
24 July 2016   |   1:35 am
Who is behind the composition of 43 wise men put together as a prelude to the 2019 presidential election? Is it President Muhammadu Buhari or a group of his loyalists who want him to run...
Mallam Garba Shehu

Mallam Garba Shehu

Who is behind the composition of 43 wise men put together as a prelude to the 2019 presidential election? Is it President Muhammadu Buhari or a group of his loyalists who want him to run, whether he wants to or not? Or, is it a group wanting to ride on his back to put machinery on ground to exploit, knowing he would endorse a chosen candidate on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC)?

This aspirant, it was gathered, will be one to carry on his dream for the country, even if he chooses not to join the fray as a result of his age or whatever reason may come up then.

Reacting to the development on phone yesterday, presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, denied knowledge of any such group, adding however that he did not think it was “outrageous” for people to meet to pursue a political agenda.

“I don’t know what you are talking about in all sincerity, but it is legitimate if a group wants to do that kind of thing; there is no rule that is broken,” he said.

Those were calculations making the rounds in Abuja when it first emerged that a group of politicians met in the Federal Capital last week.

The new dispensation is in the offing as the internal combustions in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) continue to widen, leading fears that it may lead to the emergence of another party or one “already in place.”

The Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) has been touted as one of such parties in the shadows for the coming months, just as the name of an alleged “sleeper financier” of PDM, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, has crept into public space.

Although he has not publicly declared his intention, but many believe that his recent pronouncements on restructuring Nigeria, which drew flaks from the presidency and other stakeholders in the APC are not unconnected with his ambition to rule Nigeria.

The name of Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el Rufai, has also been thrown up, but he is not known to have uttered a word of an ambition to any one, because he is known as a die-hard supporter of Buhari.

From the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), apart from the much rumored ambition of embattled factional chairman of the party, former Governor Ali Modu Sheriff of Borno State, who many believe wants to use the chairmanship of the party to emerge as the presidential candidate when the time comes, no other name has come up.

There are already suggestions that PDM or a new party may step in in the coming months as confusion set in over the leakage of information that a “very prominent Nigerian” has kick-started his race for the 2019 presidential bid with a committee of 43 wise men drawn from the length and breadth of the country.

Though the whispers were getting louder at the close of the week, it was not clear if the prominent individual has given his go-ahead, or perhaps it was being flagged off by people close to him as has been done in the past for former presidents.