Tambuwal, Atiku others contend for PDP presidential ticket
• Wike Assures Delegates Of Adequate Security
Ahead of today’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential primary election, the winning pendulum, as at yesterday, appeared to be swinging between the Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal and former Vice President Abubakar Atiku.
This is just as Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike assured all delegates for the party’s national convention holding at the Adokiye Amasiemaka Stadium in Port Harcourt between today and tomorrow of adequate security, saying he was working with the security agencies and other stakeholders to ensure they have a memorable stay in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
In a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu, the governor welcomed the delegates to the state, assuring them of a remarkable stay in the state.
There were also indications that Gombe State Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo, former Jigawa State governor, Sule Lamido, and former senate president, Senator David Mark, might step down for Tambuwal. A source in the party told The Guardian that today’s primaries will be another reminder of the “purely selfish, Darwinian” nature of Nigerian politics.He explained that Tambuwal would be getting the support of most of the PDP governors, because they seem more comfortable with him.
According to him, if Tambuwal is able to pick up 60 per cent of the governors’ vote, then he will contend favourably with Atiku. “With that, you need to put like 10 northern states’ delegates together to match the kind of delegates one particular South-South state will have, and then the states will still have one delegate each from every local government area. You see, the PDP-controlled states have more delegates and that is where the PDP governors become very strong.
“It looks like this race is a race between Atiku and Tambuwal, if the governors conspire which, and I think they will do, they will pick Tambuwal. But if the aspirants can come together and Bukola Saraki collapses his structure, David Mark and Dankwambo, then Atiku will win,” he said.
The Guardian gathered that there has been intense lobby of delegates, particularly those that are not controlled by the PDP. The various lobby groups have been moving round the hotels in Port Harcourt and suburbs in a bid to sway delegates, who started arriving Port Harcourt since Thursday.A source close to one of the aspirants hinted The Guardian that the reason why there was desperation to control the hotels was to have access to delegates, as “knowing where the delegates are, where to buy them, is the big deal.”
The source said though the governors were disposed towards Tambuwal, it was gathered that the National Chairman of the party, Uche Secondus, wants a candidate that could win the presidential election for the party.
“Secondus wants to win, he wants a candidate that can win for him. He knows Tambuwal will be a bit of problem when it comes to the general election itself. “For instance, Tambuwal is popular in Sokoto, but he is not an idol, people are not frantic about him.”Wike, while assuring of security, said: “As we gather for this all-important national convention, I assure all delegates of our great party of their security before, during and after the convention. We are working with the security agencies and other stakeholders. We will ensure that your stay in Port Harcourt is memorable.”
“The good people of Rivers State are most delighted and honoured to play host to the distinguished national delegates as we elect our presidential flag-bearer and collectively work towards rescuing our nation from the brink of collapse.“Once again, I welcome all delegates, journalists, observers and other visitors to Rivers State, the Treasure Base of the nation. While you are here, enjoy the peace, love, cuisine, heritage and hospitality of Rivers State and her people.“I pray for journey mercies as you return to your respective destinations.”
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