- The 14 aspirants jostling for the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in next year’s election will submit themselves for an assessment today in Abuja
- This is as two major contenders for the party's presidential ticket, Governor Nyesom Wike and Atiku Abubakar, are locked in a fierce battle
- Meanwhile, the fate of the aspirants will be determined by 811 ad hoc delegates of the party, comprising a total of 774 delegates, one per LGA, who were elected at the LG congresses of the party weeks ago
As the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), goes into its presidential primaries today, May 28, 2022, the party's ability to present a formidable opponent against the other parties will depend on the outcome of the exercise.
Contestants in the race for the party's flag bearer are many, but only four are going in strongly.
Atiku Abubakar, Nyesom Wike, Bukola Saraki, and Aminu Tambuwal have been able to take their campaigns to all parts of the country following the resources available to them.
In Nigeria, taking one's campaign to delegate depends largely on the number of resources available to an aspirant. While this fact has worked for some of the aspirants in the race for the party's ticket, it has worked against majority of them. Analysts have termed politics at the delegates’ level as "money politics."
Besides the popularity of the aspirant, his financial strength counts largely for him. One of the reasons, according to politicians and analysts is that such a candidate is expected to tour the entire country within a limited time in order to have crucial meetings with delegates in an effort to convince them.
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A politician, Sunday Ochai told Legit.ng that:
“You can’t go into any primary election when you don’t have the resources to do so. Most of the delegates vote for you either through your promises to them or what you can offer them at that particular time."
In most cases, the aspirants are expected to meet these delegates in the state capital, hence they are to take care of major logistics.
How each aspirant stands ahead of the primaries
Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has not lost his popularity among PDP delegates yet.
Besides being a former Vice President, this is his third shot at the position. While this may work for him, it will in some ways work against him because of the campaign for a Southern president.
The incumbent president, though from the All Progressives Congress, APC, is from the north. If PDP gives the ticket to Mr Abubakar, the chances that the party will win the general election will become so slim.
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Also, as the delegates go about making their choices for the party, age remains another factor in consideration knowing so well that one of the issues Nigerians will consider in the general election is the age of the aspirants. These reasons may expectedly count against the former Vice President.
But besides the above reasons, Abubakar has the financial strength and the experienced needed to sway delegates to his side.
The former Vice President had traveled across all the states of the federation, reaching out to delegates and talking with state governors and stakeholders on his ambition.
Atiku is likely to win majority of the delegates' votes from his home state, Adamawa, even though Wike had met the state governor severally to whittle down Atiku's popularity in the state.
He is expected to garner reasonable votes from Northern delegates, even though Tambuwal, Saraki and Wike may share part of the votes.
Running against fellow Northerners like Saraki who supported him in the last election and Tambuwal who is a governor from the region appears to have affected his popularity.
But Atiku has the experience and the financial strength to turn things around for himself.
One of the strongest contenders in today's primaries is Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.
Wike who supported Governor Aminu Tambuwal in the 2019 primaries which was won by Atiku Abubakar has been very clear in his support for a southern president.
Governor Wike, as the current Governor of Rivers State has the needed resources around him to win delegates to his side. Wike's relationship with PDP governors and senators appears to be working for him as he has penetrated most parts of the north to drag delegates with core-northerners to his camp.
The Rivers state governor is one of the most outspoken aspirants in the race and has showed financial capacity with his consultations across the country.
Back in the south, Wike has no serious challenger. This is because a former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi has since pulled out of the race and moved to the Labour Party.
Wike has boasted severally that he is the most qualified of all the aspirants. The determination and the zeal displayed by the governor during his consultations has given him added advantage over other aspirants.
The Rivers State Governor is expected to win delegates from even the home states of others aspirants like Atiku Abubakar, Bukola Saraki, and majority of the states in the south.
Contestants from the south including former senate president, Anyim Pius Anyim are no serious challenge to him considering their poor outings during the consultation stage.
One thing working for the former Senate President and ex-Kwara state Governor, is his financial strength and the relationship he has built with the party leadership.
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Also, Saraki's relationship with the youths is an advantage, but that won't count as far as delegates election is concerned.
While the former Senate president may likely win majority of the votes from Kwara delegates, running with other northern aspirants will count against him.
Saraki may not have the popularity of Atiku Abubakar, but has done enough during his consultations. He is one of the candidates endorsed by a northern group.
He is expected to pull a great show at the primaries and may likely team up with other aspirants who may step down for him. In all, Saraki may not be able to meet the 'firepower of Atiku and Wike today.
Aminu Tambuwal, the governor of Sokoto state was able to do serious consultations across the state of the federation. Tambuwal and his team had toured both the north and the south and are to win reasonable party delegates.
One thing that is working for him is his position as a governor of a state in the north (Sokoto). He is expected to share majorly in the votes from the north, but may perform poorly in the south.
Working against him in this very primaries is that Wike who supported his aspiration in 2019 is in the race. This obviously will deny him reasonable delegates from the south.
Another thing working against his aspiration is the Atiku and Saraki factor. This could put him at a near disadvantage position as he looks likely to be the weakest of the 3 northern heavyweights.
Last minute shock
Conclusively, the PDP's presidential race looks likely to be a tight race between Atiku Abubakar and Nyesom Wike. The victory of either of the two will depend on a last minute alliance which is most likely to happen.
Candidates such as Ayodele Fayose, a former Governor of Ekiti state, Dele Momodu, Anyim Pius Anyim and host of others may have a good bargain with top contestants. Such last minutes resolve could swing votes for top contenders.
Presidential Primaries: PDP holds emergency meeting, considers postponement of convention
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has convened an emergency meeting of its National Working Committee in a bid to examine urgent issues arising, including the likelihood of rescheduling its national convention slated for today.
The Punch reports that the NWC meeting, which is currently underway in Abuja, is anticipated to deal with issues around the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to extend the deadline for the conclusion of party primaries across the country.
INEC extends party primaries
INEC had, in a statement on Friday night, explained how it was urged by the council of political parties to extend the time for primaries following outstanding issues emanating from the exercise across the country.