The opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) will today elect its presidential candidate at its national convention in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
There are 13 presidential aspirants, including serving and ex governors, senators and an ex minister locked in a titanic battle for the chance to unseat incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 general elections.
The aspirants include former vice president, Atiku Abubakar; Sokoto State governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal; Gombe State governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo; Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki; former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido; former governor of Kaduna State, Ahmed Makarfi and former Minister of Special Duties, Alhaji Kabiru Tanimu Turaki.
Others are; former senate president, David Mark; former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso; former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa; former governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang; Founder of Baze University, Sen. Datti Baba-Ahmed and Mr. Stanley Osifo.
In the lead up to the primary in Port Harcourt, efforts by the PDP BoT led by Senator Walid Jibrin to produce a consensus candidate fell flat.
Also, the choice of Port Harcourt as venue of the crucial convention had caused ripples in the PDP, with some of the aspirants and their supporters, as well as a section of the BoT and the NWC, alleging plans by some PDP governors to use the venue and work for the success of a certain candidate.
To allay their fears, however, the PDP said last week that it would give all its presidential aspirants the privilege to send two nominees of their choice into the party’s electoral committee.
The former ruling party also resolved to publish the list of all delegates who would vote at the convention in a bid to ensure a transparent and credible convention where the party will choose a presidential candidate.
The convention was also partly overshadowed by allegations by its former New Media Director, Deji Adeyanju, that Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike was a mole within the party working for the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Adeyanju argued that Wike’s frequent threats to the party – privately and publicly – and his support for Tambuwal, a presumed weak candidate, was in a bid to ensure Buhari’s reelection in 2019.
Amid the claims and counterclaims, intrigues and expectations, the party heads to the garden city as the nation holds its breath for the biggest alternative to Buhari in 2019.