We bring to you the second part of our masterpiece “2019 BATTLE FOR PARTY TICKETS: CONTENDERS AND PRETENDERS.”
Today we are presenting to you the PRETENDERS.
BY OSCAR NWOGU
TANIMU TURAKI (SAN): Former Minister of Special Duties and Inter-government Affairs, Alhaji Tanimu Turaki, SAN is one of the presidential aspirants that hinged his Campaign on Nigeria’s Unity. This has also earned him the support of former military president, General Buhari and other top military brass. His aspiration for the top job is also endorsed by former president, Goodluck Jonathan. This is understandable as he worked closely with Jonathan as Minister of Special Duties while he was in office. Turaki says that he has all that is needed to improve the country. But one wonders if he has what it takes to muscle the presidential ticket from his more illustrious opponents.
RABIU KWANKWANSO: Former Minister of Defence and Senator from Kano State is another Presidential aspirant not rated as a major contender. He believes that PDP should chose its presidential candidate from the North West zone if the party is nursing the chance of sacking President Buhari from the Aso rock Villa in 2019. Kwankwanso who defected from the APC to the PDP recently says that the fact that he comes from Kano which has huge voting strength coupled with his vast network puts him ahead of other aspirants for the PDP presidential ticket.
Kano, he says is the most popular state going by the result of the Last census in the country, while North West is the most populous zone. Infact, he says that North West is almost North Central and North East put together. The two term governor of Kano State and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1992 says that there is hardly any place you go to in Nigeria today without seeing his personal. He believes that most of the House of Reps members of 1992 who are still living are automatic delegates and as such will vote for him at the convention.
Kwankwanso believes that hard work determination and commitment are the hallmarks that will clinch the party ticket for him.
ATTAHIRU BAFARAWA: Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, former governor of Sokoto State, renowned business guru and philanthropist is another presidential aspirant considered a feather weight. He was governor of Sokoto State from 1999-2007. The former governor who says that politics is his profession describes himself as a grassroots politician, spanning over 40 years. He also claims that President Buhari is his student, saying that he brought Buhari into politics. Bafarawa as National Chairman of All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP gave Buhari his first ticket to contest the presidency. Analysts say that Bafarawa is a man of integrity and grassroots mobilizer. It is yet to be seen whether his integrity status will be enough to see him clinch the PDP presidential ticket on Oct 6, 2018.
AHMED MAKARFI: The former Kaduna State governor and former PDP Caretaker Committee Chairman is a man of little words. He is decent and could be trustworthy. He mid-wifed the caretaker committee that gave rise to the Prince Uche Secondus led PDP National Executive Committee that has brought the party to life. Makarfi believes that there is an attempt to foist a sick president on Nigerians asking Nigerians not to be deceived by those who want to bring Muhammadu Buhari back to power in 2019 through the back door. He said that for APC to make so much noise over Buhari’s 800 meter walk is an indication that the president is not fit to run for another term of office. Makarfi says his own walk is limitless. “I walk everyday and do not need to make political capital out of it,” he said. It is believed that some former governors and current governors are working behind the scene to ensure that their former Caretaker Committee Chairman clinches the presidential ticket. Analysts also point to a powerful group within the party that are hell bent to deliver Makarfi as the presidential candidate.
The analysts further noted that the former Kaduna State governor bears no political liability and would win the presidency for the party in 2019. It is believed that most of the other presidential contestants have issues with the anti-corruption agencies like the EFCC. It is rife in some quarters that giving the mantle to Makarfi would ensure a smooth campaign for PDP and also compensate for his steadfastness in holding the party together at its most critical moments after it lost the presidential election to the All Progressives Congress in 2015.
JONAH JANG: The former governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang, hails from the North Central Zone and has sworn to take over the reigns of power from Muhammadu Buhari in 2019. He warned Nigerians that have been crying for credible effective and positive change to look no further as he has vowed to steer the ship of the nation to safe shores Jang is among the presidential aspirants that are over 70 years of age and analysts are wondering if the senator can face the rigours of Presidential duties if elected as age is no longer on his side. Many also believe that Jang is not the kind of presidential material Nigeria needs at this point in time. Nigeria needs vibrant, upwardly mobile, calculative, proactive and digital President now to return the country to its lost glory, Chief Martins Amaefule, a top civil servant and political analyst told Verbatim.
SULE LAMIDO: The last but not the least of the presidential Aspirants is Sule Lamido, a former governor of Jigawa State and minister of Foreign Affairs. He is among the early people that indicated their interest to run for the presidency under PDP. His posters for the presidential election stated flooding, Abuja, Lagos, Dutse and other states almost a year before the other contestants indicated their interest to run. The posters which was captioned: Hope of the Masses 2019 was the handiwork of the supporters of Alhaji Sule Lamido.
The former governor was said to be a man of the people and he has the pedigree and reputation to emerge as PDP flag bearer Alhaji Mohammed Kudi, said. Sule Lamido was governor of Jigawa State for eight years and he distinguished himself in the service of the state. He also remained loyal to the party over the years.
A group, Network Nigeria is among the groups routing for Lamido for President. He has friendship cutting across the country and he enjoys the ears of former President Olusegun Obasanjo under who he served as Foreign Affairs Minister. But whether Lamido has the capacity to upstage the other contestant for the People Democratic Party Presidential ticket, only time will tell.