FCT, Abuja - The presidential primary of Nigeria’s lead opposition party is underway in Abuja. In the hours to come, the party will elect its presidential flagbearer for the 2023 elections.
In sum, 17 persons had purchased the nomination and expression of interest forms of the PDP.
However, two were disqualified by the David Mark-led screening committee. Also, former governor of Anambra state, Peter Obi, and Mohammed Hayatu-Deen opted out of the race, leaving 13 contenders.
PDP presidential primaries: The top 3
Though there are still 13 contenders in the race, there are three major aspirants who are reported to have higher chances of clinching the ticket.
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- Former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar
- Current governor of Rivers state, Nyesom Wike
- Immediate past Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki
810 delegates to decide the fate of the 13 contenders
According to Vanguard, 810 PDP delegates will elect one of these presidential hopefuls as the flagbearer.
The number of delegates is small due to President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to sign the amended version of the Electoral Act 2022.
Under the current electoral law, statutory or super delegates made up of elected officials at all levels will not take part in the exercise.
Thus, only national delegates from the 774 local councils, six area councils in Abuja and 10 others will take part elect the presidential candidate.
North has more delegates than the south
With the exclusion of statutory delegates, the north reportedly has more delegates because it has more local government areas than the South.
While the South has 355 LGAs and no fewer than 360 delegates, the North has 419 LGAs and if the six area councils of Abuja are added the figure comes to 425. That means the North has no fewer than 430 delegates, according to Vanguard.
Atiku favoured to win
With the north having the edge, some delegates believe that Atiku, being a strong northern politician, may emerge the winner.
Some also said Saraki and Tambuwal who are also from the north may pull a surprise.
It was projected that the state caucuses of the party from the north will come to the convention in one bloc to vote for Atiku and Tambuwal.
On the other hand, a good number of delegates from the south are said to be favourably disposed to Northern aspirants, especially Atiku and Saraki.
With Obi’s exit from the PDP, it is projected that the Southeast will prefer to go with Atiku than Wike.
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In summary, a northern aspirant has a higher prospect of winning the PDP presidential primaries. Among the northern aspirants, former VP Atiku stands tall.
Presidential primaries: PDP holds emergency meeting, considers postponement of convention
Meanwhile, the PDP has convened an emergency meeting of its National Working Committee (NWC) in a bid to examine urgent issues arising, including the likelihood of rescheduling its national convention slated for today.
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 had, in a statement on Friday night, May 27, 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.