The protracted intrigues, horse-trading and politicking that have trailed the National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) continued yesterday with the power brokers and major stakeholders divided over the choice of a candidate that would fly the party’s presidential flag in 2019.
But despite the array of aspirants that obtained forms for the party’s ticket, the keenly contested race at the time of filing this report was narrowed down to three main aspirants.
The candidates are former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar; Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal and the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
Sunday Sun learnt that the governors who are the major power brokers in the party and other major stakeholders were engaged in marathon sessions from Friday night through Saturday without arriving at a consensus on whom to support.
A top member of the PDP told Sunday Sun on condition of anonymity that the stakeholders, particularly the governors, were divided on the candidate to support in the race for the exalted office.
He disclosed that on Friday night, the other aspirants were ready to give up their ambitions to support one of Atiku, Tambuwal or Saraki.
The source, however, told Sunday Sun that the Sokoto governor had an upper hand in his support base, but was overtaken in a matter of hours by Atiku who, he said, was able to penetrate the PDP stakeholders and delegates on Saturday morning.
Sunday Sun learnt that the governors were sharply divided on their choices for several reasons.
He disclosed that those who supported Atiku believed that he is the only politician among the motley of aspirants who has the experience, exposure and ruggedness to challenge President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019. He also explained that there were other governors who preferred Tambuwal because he is young, fairly experienced and more likely to listen to advice than Atiku.
There is also another group who supported Saraki for his experience in politics and leadership even though some see him as not being a core Northerner. Also speaking, the former governor of Niger State, Alhaji Babangida Aliyu gave an insight on who is likely to emerge the party’s flag bearer.
He said the candidate that would emerge would be someone who is healthy enough to run and unify the country. He said that the PDP is ready again to assume power, saying that they have learnt their lessons, as well as apologizes to Nigerians for their mistakes in the past.