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Presidential ticket: Osinbajo, Atiku make case for right of first refusal

By Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Terhemba Daka (Abuja) and Saxone Akhaine (Kaduna)
29 April 2022   |   4:06 am
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar have both made cases on why their parties should give them the ‘right of first refusal’ in the race to pick up their parties’ nominations as presidential candidates.

• Osinbajo: In terms of preparation, no one else comes close to me
• Atiku: I have 11m votes ready for PDP
• NEF’s Abdullahi wants parties to jettison zoning

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar have both made cases on why their parties should give them the ‘right of first refusal’ in the race to pick up their parties’ nominations as presidential candidates.

Osinbajo, during the breaking of Ramadan fast (Iftar) in his Aguda residence on Wednesday night where he hosted State House correspondents, said he always believed in and worked for a better Nigeria all his life and his decision to run for the office of the president in 2023 was to enable him make a difference.

He said very few people have the kind of training and experience that he has and in terms of preparedness for the job, he stands out among all other aspirants vying for the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential ticket.

“I have been given opportunities that many may not have had. I think those opportunities are meant to be for a particular purpose. And I think that time has come. This is the time when all of my experiences have now come to the fore. And I will use all of what I have to serve this country.

“This is really one of the reasons why I chose to run. There are those who may say ‘well, he’s just a politician speaking. But I can tell you from the bottom of my heart that I believe that we have a real opportunity here to do something different for our country.

“I know everyone else who is running for office. Frankly, to tell you the honest truth, just in terms of preparation for the job, I don’t think I need to make a case. In terms of preparation for the job, no one else comes close to me.”

FOR Atiku, in his vote-canvassing meeting yesterday with the Iyorchia Ayu-led National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he claimed that he is the best among the 17 presidential aspirants, adding that he already has 11 million votes in his kitty.

The PDP presidential candidate in the 2019 election, however, stated that because of the dictates of democracy, the NWC should ensure transparency in the primary election.

He said: “ I dare say Mr. Chairman, I am the best candidate (aspirant). Under normal circumstances Mr. Chairman, this is a guy who has already 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 what I can urge you is to make sure that the way you have started, you also conclude by being fair, credible and give every contestant the opportunity to face the electorate.”

MEANWHILE, Arewa chieftain and chairman of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Prof. Ango Abdullahi, has called on political parties to forget zoning of presidency to a particular region, stressing that power shift arrangement is already dead and buried.

He said those seeking to contest should be allowed to do so on the merit of their competence and not where they come from, insisting that such positions should be left open for standard norms of democratic processes.

Abdullahi spoke at his Zaria residence while reacting to the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) leadership who paid him a courtesy visit.

The elder statesman explained that over 11 presidential aspirants, which cut across various political parties have visited him in Zaria for his candid advice, prayers and support, adding that the election of who becomes president of Nigeria should be left open and a winner allowed to emerge regardless of where he or she comes from.