Preparations for the presidential primary of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of the 2019 general elections are now on top gear. Preparatory to the scheduled October national convention, the various state chapters of the party, yesterday held delegate elections to determine who would vote to choose its standard bearer in the upcoming polls.
Prior to that, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party had released a 40-page document entitled: ‘Electoral Guideline for the
PDP, where the outline of the modality that would be adopted for the much-awaited primary was clearly spelt out.
While it said the presidential candidate would emerge through “modified open secret system,” it also clarified that the “aspirant with the highest number of votes at the end of voting shall be declared the winner of the primary. According to the document, “the decision of the National Executive Committee of the party shall be final and binding.”
The document further added that each aspirant must be nominated by not less than “60 persons from at least two-thirds of all the states of the Fed- eration who shall be registered voters in their respective local government areas and also registered members of the party.” In addition, all aspirants are to swear to an oath to abide by the decisions of the party on the conduct of its primary elections.
Like never before, the race is star-studded and enthusiasm is high among its teeming supporters. The large pool of aspirants jostling for the ticket also leaves no one in doubt that elasticity of the umbrella of the party is strong enough to accommodate all manners of persons.
In the last couple of weeks, over a dozen of heavyweights have declared their intentions to vie for the number one position on the platform of the PDP. These include: former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Senate President Bukola Saraki, Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, his colleague in Gombe, Ibrahim Dankwambo, erst-while governor of Kano State, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, and Jigawa State’s
Others are David Mark, Attairu Bafarawa, Jonah Jang, Ahmed Makarfi, Kabiru Taminu Turaki (SAN), a former Minister of Special Duties, Funmilayo Adesanya-Davies, a Professor of Communication Arts at the River State University of Education, Governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose. More are still expected to join the race in the days ahead.
In view of the growing number of contenders, some concerned stakeholders are already expressing worries over the possibility of achieving a rancor-free primary.
A former member of the BoT of the party, Ebenezer Babatope, expressing concern over the rising figure of the heavyweights who are struggling to vie for the position of presidency in an interview with Sunday Sun, said:
“I must confess to you, it is a worrisome thing to me. All I want to say is to appeal to our National Chairman and the national EXCO of the party to ensure that a level playing field is given to all those who want to contest. Once we are able to do that, all the heavyweights who are contesting will work together for the victory of the party.