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PDP leaders seek shortlist of presidential aspirants

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Nigeria’s Senate leader, Bukola Saraki, announces that he would stand to become the main opposition candidate in 2019’s presidential elections in Abuja, Nigeria, August 30, 2018. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

In a bid to avert post-nomination rancour likely to trail the choice of its presidential candidate in the scheduled October 6 primary election, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has begun the process of reducing the number of aspirants for the nation’s top job on its platform.
 
The party has zoned the ticket to the northern states comprising the three geo-political zones but with the on-going consultations that are gathering momentum, as the selection process gets nearer, there are indications that just three aspirants would emerge, one from each zone to slug it out among themselves.
   
It was gathered that the Northwest geo-political zone has begun the process of narrowing down the number of aspirants in its fold to only one but that the matter is being bogged down mainly by issues involving the candidacy of Sokoto governor, Aminu Tambuwal and former Kano governor, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso.

The duo recently dumped the All Progressive Congress (APC) for the PDP to realize their ambitions.
     
Only yesterday, a meeting comprising major stakeholders in the PDP from the North Central zone that comprises the six states of Nasarawa, Kwara, Niger, Benue, Plateau, Kogi and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), rose from a meeting where it was agreed that only one aspirant would be presented from the zone.
     
At the meeting, which was held at Ibro Hotel in Abuja’s Wuse District, the party leaders from the zone also agreed to push for a president of North Central extraction and to seek the support of other zones to realize that dream.
   
Present at the meeting, which was originally convened to listen to one of the aspirants from the zone, Dr. Bukola Saraki, the Senate President to convince them of his ambition, the meeting later moved to adopt to have a consensus candidate between the three aspirants who had declared intentions to run from the zone.
   
Apart from Saraki, others are former Senate President David Mark and former Plateau State governor, Jonah Jang. The three of them are serving Senators of the Federal Republic.
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According to sources at the meeting, the gathering which had in attendance party bigwigs such as former National Chairman, Dr. Ahmadu Alliu, Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BOT), Walid Jibrin, former Niger governor, Dr. Muazu Aliyu Babangida, former Kogi governor, Capt. Idris Wada, serving Senators Jeremiah Useni, Ahmed Ogembe, Attah Idoko, Dino Melaye and former Deputy Governor of Nasarawa, Solomon Ewuga, resolved to use the prevailing opportunity to seek the presidency.
   
Addressing the gathering which also included members of the House of Representatives and numerous state legislators as well as party leaders from the zone, the zonal vice-chairman of the party, Theophilus Dakaf Shan, said the Middle Belt region could not afford to let the opportunity to produce the president in 2019 elude it, citing historical instances of the region’s commitment to Nigeria’s unity, which made it a stabilising factor of the country’s oneness.
   
The zonal leader therefore charged leaders to ensure the emergence of a consensus candidate and charged them to reach out to other zones of the federation for support.
     
Another resolution adopted at the gathering was also to ensure that all the delegates from the zones vote for their consensus option in the expected three-way race that the presidential primary of the PDP will most likely, with the ongoing process be.


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