With the presidential primary of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) a few days away, signs are beginning to emerge about the chances of the 12 aspirants locked in the race for the ticket.
The front runners appear to be Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Senate President Bukola Saraki.
Also in the race are Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, Alhaji Sule Lamido, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, Gombe State Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo, Alhaji Kabiru Turaki (SAN), Senator David Mark, Senator Jonah Jang and Dr. Datti Baba Ahmed.
Atiku who has assembled a formidable campaign team, looks strong in the Northeast where he hails from, and the Southwest from where he picked the Director General of his campaign organization, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, a former governor of Ogun State.
Also supporting him from the Southwest is Chief Olabode George.
Coordinating his presidential campaign is business mogul, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu. Others in the train are ex-governors, Idris Wada (Kogi), James Ibori (Delta), a former Minister of Police Affairs, Adamu Maina Waziri; members of the PDP Board of Trustees, BoT, including Professor A.B.C Nwosu, Senator Stella Omu, Vincent Ogbulafor and Chief Tom Ikimi.
Others are former Imo State governor, Achike Udenwa, former Katsina State governor Ibrahim Shema; Colonel Bala Mande (rtd), Senator Ben Murray Bruce, Ambassador Nkoyo Toyo, Chief Raymond Dokpesi; ex-ministers between 1999 and 2007; PDP stalwarts in the North-East, South-East, South-South; ex-DG NOA, Mike Omeri, Dr. Auwalu Anwar and Dr. Baraka Umar from Kano State.
The dust raised by his campaign organization about Port Harcourt hosting the national convention may however work against him.
Dr. Saraki enjoys the support of Senate Deputy President Ike Ekweremadu who is from Enugu State.
He also has the backing of a good number of senators and members of the House of Representatives from his native Northcentral, Southeast and Southwest.
Gov Abdulfatahi Ahmed of Kwara State, ex-Gov Babangida Aliyu (Niger); some serving governors and ex-Minister of Power, Mohammed Wakil are also among his main supporters.
Saraki’s recent appointment as the National Leader of PDP has added value to his quest.
The ex-Minister of Special Duties, though from the Northwest has made in inroad into the Southsouth, Southeast and Southwest.
He counts among his main supporters, associates of ex-President Ibrahim Babangida, strategists of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, political associates of ex-VP Namadi Sambo, loyalists of ex-NSA Aliyu Gusau, former associates of ex-VP Atiku Abubakar, three former military administrators including Col. Habibu Shuaibu who was until recently the Chief of Staff to Gen. Babangida, Forum of Ex-Ministers, ex-governors Boni Haruna and Ibrahim Idris (Adamawa and Kogi); ex-Chief of Army Staff, Ishaya Bamaiyi, political associates of Chief Tony Anenih, including former Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen.
Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal may split votes coming from the Northwest with ex-Governor Bafarawa, Sen. Rabiu Kwankwaso; Sule Lamido and Kabiru Turaki. He is being backed by Governor Nyesom Wike and five other governors; two top northern Emirs; a few associates of ex-President Babangida; Gov. Samuel Ortom, Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Senators, Reps, Dr. Okey Ikechukwu, and his long standing friend, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State.
Party sources said a good number of delegates from the Southsouth and Southeast could vote for him.
Tambuwal can count on the support of Emeka Ihedioha who was deputy speaker of the House of Reps under him (Tambuwal).
He has only Atiku to contend with for votes from the Northeast.
Some votes from the Southwest may go his way by virtue of his friendship with Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State.
Some other PDP governors may also support him.
The former Senate president may be looking up to Senators, Reps and other delegates from Northcentral for votes as well as support from Middle Belt leaders like Gen. T. Y. Danjuma. It is believed that Mark is in the race to negotiate a better deal for the Middle Belt.
The former Kano State governor is strongly suspected to be favoured for the ticket by ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo under whom he served as Minister.
Some Senators, Reps, and governors could also rally in his support.
His votes are likely to come from the Northcentral, especially his native Plateau State.
The ex-Jigawa State governor is being backed by some associates of ex-President Obasanjo; ex-Minister of Justice, Musa Elayo; PDP leaders in the Northwest, some former governors and ex-ministers. His trial alongside his sons may have hindered his influence in the party.
The former Interim National Chairman of PDP is highly respected in the camps of former Nigerian leaders and wields influence among PDP governors who want the pact with him honoured.
He is also loved by party leaders and delegates for restoring the glory of the party during its most turbulent period. Some PDP leaders from the Northwest, Southsouth and Southeast may vote for him.
The main backers of the ex-governor of Sokoto State are some PDP leaders in the Northwest, and ex-NSA Sambo Dasuki.