Following the election of former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the 2023 presidential candidate of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, some governors elected on the platform of the party are being tipped as his running mate.
Two PDP governors, who fought for the PDP ticket with Atiku are among those being considered for the vice presidency slot, Vanguard gathered, yesterday.They are Governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers), and Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom). Another PDP governor in contention is Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State.
In a testy battle for the PDP presidential flag, on Saturday, Atiku, who got the backing of another presidential aspirant and governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, polled 371 votes to beat Wike, who garnered 237 votes.
Udom Emmanuel scored 38 votes to come fourth behind former Senate President and two-time governor of Kwara State, Dr Bukola Saraki, who got 70 votes.
Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State scored 20 votes and former Senate President and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, polled 14 votes.Inside sources in the PDP told Vanguard that one of Wike, Okowa, Udom Emmanuel and Anyim could be considered as running mate to Atiku.
“If Mr Peter Obi did not leave PDP for Labour Party, he would be in contention to be picked as running mate to Atiku again as was done in 2019. In his absence, Wike, Okowa, and Udom are likely to be considered. The PDP hierarchy will meet to decide on this in consultation with critical stakeholders of the party.
The party will also look at who the All Progressives Congress, APC will pick as its candidate.“Now that the presidential primary is over, you saw how peaceful and transparent it was. Our leaders want to get all hands on deck to rescue Nigerians from the bad leadership of the APC in the last seven years,” the party leader said.Asked what would happen to other presidential aspirants, the source said: “PDP is a big family with a big umbrella.
There will be room for everyone. If he is willing, Tambuwal can be given a senatorial ticket and if he wins, he could become the next senate president if Atiku wins. Dr Saraki can become the Chief of Staff to the President or SGF. All these things will be thought through to ensure harmony.”
Okowa, Obaseki, Anyim, Obi, Tinubu, others hail Atiku’s emergenceMeanwhile, notable Nigerians including Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, presidential aspirants, Senator Pius Anyim and Chief Dele Momodu; former Anambra State governors, Messrs Peter Obi and Jim Nwobodo, former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu, yesterday, hailed the emergence of Alhaji Abubakar as presidential candidate of the PDP.This came as Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, yesterday, boasted that if he clinches the Presidential ticket of All Progressives Congress, APC, he will defeat Alhaji Atiku Abubakar before 12 noon of the 2023 presidential day.
I‘ve confidence in Atiku—Okowa
Governor Okowa in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifejika, felicitated with the former Vice-President on his victory, saying: “If PDP is to win and rescue Nigerians from the maladministration of the APC-led Federal Government, all hands must be on deck to achieve this mission.
“I congratulate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar on his emergence as the presidential candidate of our great party at the PDP Presidential Primaries. “Now, all former aspirants, leaders and all other stakeholders in our party must come together to liberate our citizens from the shackles of bad governance of APC and give them a better life and country.”
Atiku’s emergence has enthroned a transparent process —ObasekiAlso, Governor Obaseki, who congratulated Atiku on his victory, hailed other aspirants who submitted themselves to a transparent democratic exercise that has set the PDP as a worthy example to all other political parties in the country.“I heartily congratulate Atiku Abubakar on his victory at the PDP Presidential primary election.
The keenly-contested process of picking a flag-bearer for our great party has again shown the PDP as a party that has enthroned a transparent internal democratic process which is what our nation now desperately needs for its much-desired rebirth.“I also hail all the other aspirants who have submitted themselves to this transparent democratic exercise that has set the PDP as a worthy example to all other political parties in the country.”
He shouldn’t choose local champion as running mate — Momodu
While congratulating Atiku, [residential aspirant, Chief Dele Momodu said: “Despite the fact that 15 people aspired, two people dropped. Don’t forget that it’s a delegates primary and delegates’ elections are always monetised. So, it’s a reflection of the people with deep pockets and those who have money to spend.“Also, the North, in the primary worked together while we in the South were in disarray.
I called a governor from the South that Southerners should work together but he ignored me. “The Northerners know it’s a game of numbers and they will support when they see numbers. Also, it’s a regional interest and our own didn’t respect us. So, I was not surprised that Governor Aminu Tambuwal later withdrew from the primary.
“I vow not to induce delegates with money. I trade for nothing, so they sold me nothing.”On Atiku’s running mate, he said: “There is nothing impossible but for Atiku to win the race, he needs a unifier. He needs someone that is cool-headed, someone with a global appeal, someone who will be more youthful to win the election. You have to look at the numbers as you can no longer ignore the South-West or the South-South in the equation.
Those are the voting blocs in the South. The biggest is North-West, followed by the South-West. So, he needs someone who can reach out to every part of the South. It’s a game of numbers, not a game of sentiments. So, Atiku should not subscribe to a local champion as a running mate.”
Anyim hails ex-VP’s emergence
On his part, another contestant, Senator Pius Anyim, who congratulated the former Vice President, regretted that primordial sentiments rather than burning national issues determined the outcome of the contest.His words: “It appears doubtful if our search for nationhood is yielding any results. I’m proud to have gone through the race to the end. However, I am shocked that consideration for voting the PDP presidential candidate was not based on burning national issues and how to resolve them, but still on the old primordial sentiments.
It appears doubtful if our search for nationhood is yielding any results.“I deeply appreciate and thank all those who stood by me throughout this race, especially those that voted for me at the primary election. I want to assure all of you that we shall continue to stand tall until we birth the Nigeria of our collective dreams. Let me also congratulate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, for emerging the PDP flag bearer for the 2023 presidential election.”
Atiku’s my leader, elder brother— Peter Obi
Also commending Atiku, former governor of Anambra, Peter Obi, said: “On behalf of my family, I sincerely congratulate my leader and dear elder brother, Atiku, on his emergence as the 2023 presidential flag bearer of the PDP,” he tweeted.“I pray that the Almighty God who sees your goodness will continue to bless you now and always.”
I anticipate keen contest in 2023—Tinubu
Similarly, a presidential aspirant on the platform of the APC, Bola Tinubu, congratulated Atiku on his victory at the PDP presidential primary.
Tinubu, in a statement, said: “I welcome the victory of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the candidate of the PDP in the just-concluded primary. I look forward to squaring up with him as a worthy opponent in the coming election.
“As we move further into the election season, I charge the PDP presidential candidate and all political actors across party lines that we should make this election season one that is devoid of bitterness, rancour, and strife.“We should make our campaigns peaceful and issue-based.
Election season should be a festival of ideas that will uplift our country and improve the living condition of all our people. Unfortunately for the PDP, its candidate will be burdened to explain why Nigerians should give it another opportunity, after squandering 16 years at the central government, without much to show.”
Atiku has ability —Jim Nwobodo
In his remarks, former governor of old Anambra State, Senator Nwobodo, said Atiku has the ability and tenacity to restore the unity, security and economy of Nigeria if elected President.Encouraging the candidate to follow through with his acceptance speech, Nwobodo said: “Atiku’s victory is victory for PDP and victory for Nigeria in general.
Atiku has the ability, the temperament and the tenacity to restore the unity, security and economy of Nigeria without which a country does not exist.“I encourage him to follow through with his acceptance speech, to reach out to all the aggrieved members of our party who left the party and bring them back to the PDP family.”
Imansuagbon drums support for Atiku
A former PDP governorship aspirant in Edo State, Mr Kenneth Imansuagbon, described Atiku’s emergence as a reaffirmation of his nationwide acceptability, adding that he has the capacity to rescue NigeriaHis words: “As a party we have demonstrated that the PDP is the only truly democratic party that is desirous to correct all the malady currently faced by Nigerians.
“The PDP has once again shown by the conduct of its presidential primary in Abuja on Saturday that it is the answer to the setback that Nigerians have encountered with the coming into power of the APC since 2015.”
I’ll defeat Atiku if… — Umahi
But Governor Umahi of Ebonyi State has boasted that if he clinches the presidential ticket of the APC, he will defeat Atiku before 12 noon of the election day.The governor stated this when the National leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists and National Association of Women Journalists, NAWOJ, paid him a courtesy visit at new Presidential Lodge, Government House, Abakaliki.Umahi who was not comfortable with the show of financial imprudence exhibited by the presidential aspirants of the PDP, during their Party’s primary election in Abuja, said: “Assuming I was the president, I would have impounded those vehicles in Abuja. I weep for this country.”
It’s dangerous for Presidency to remain in North — Group
However, the Nigeria Equity group has described the emergence of former Vice President as the PDP presidential candidate as “potentially dangerous for presidency to remain in the North.”The group, in a statement by its conveners, Dr Emeka Nwosu and Alhaji Mohammed Mubarak, urged the APC to search for a Southern Christian through consensus, for peaceful coexistence.
The statement reads: “We wish to draw attention to the fact that the Nigeria Equity Group, NEG, has campaigned vigorously for equity, fairness and inclusion in our body polity.
“In our several interventions over the years, we have appealed to the major political parties to be mindful of the complex heterogeneous Nigerian society and to work out a political solution that will be fair, inclusive and equitable to all.
“In this case, we believe what is just and fair is for presidential powers to be zoned to the South, specifically to a southern Christian, after the eight-year rule of President Muhammadu Buhari, a northern Muslim. We consider it to be very inequitable, unfair and potentially dangerous for the Presidency to remain in the North after President Buhari’s tenure.
“We will therefore mobilize Nigerians of goodwill everywhere against this act of arbitrariness by the PDP. We note that one man’s ambition cannot be greater than the security and stability of our country.”