As the deadline for political parties to present their candidates to fly the flags of their respective parties draws closer, there is an intense battle building up in the race for the People Democratic Party (PDP) ticket.
With a lot of aspirants within and outside the party indicating interest to slug it out with others to be the flag-bearer of the PDP, the former vice-president of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar has emerged as the leading contender to come out victorious in the primaries of the main opposition party to the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).
Atiku had lost out at some point due to the unwillingness of the governors elected under the banner of PDP to show the required support for him to secure the ticket.
Initially the governors were united with the view that a thorough PDP man should be given the opportunity to run as its flag-bearer in order to put the party in pole position to consolidate even in the event that it does not win back the presidency from the ruling APC 2019 polls, it will prepare it for a better showing in the 2023 elections.
The 12 governors of the main opposition party were giving tactic support to Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe state to join the race with their support.
Atiku Abubakar appears to have made a master stroke by appointing Gbenga Daniel, the erstwhile Governor of Ogun State as his campaign Director general, his closeness to General Ibrahim Babangida, good relationships with the various power blocks and a good understanding of the way the PDP works has helped the campaign of the former Vice President.
In his recent tour to the southern part of the Country, Atiku Abubakar held meeting with most of the leaders of the PDP from the south south.
FOMBINATIMES has gathered that the leaders from Bayelsa namely former president Goodluck Jonathan, the present Governor Seriake Dickson and senator Ben Murray Bruce amongst others are in support of the candidature of Atiku also noting that it will be easy to sell him to the southern part of the country.
The former Vice-president was also hosted by Governor Nyesom Wike in Rivers State where he also commissioned one of the projects by the rivers state government.
It was gathered that Wike who had opposed the idea of PDP giving its ticket to any defectors is now open to the idea of the party fielding Atiku Abubakar as its flag bea
Governor Wike who has been financing the party almost on his own feels Atiku Abubakar has the resources to give the ruling party a big fight in the race for the seat of power; Atiku clinching the ticket will lift the burden of deploring his resources into funding the party’s presidential campaign.
Atiku has been holding consultations with various power blocs in the PDP and the issue of a running mate is top of the agenda.
Various power blocs in the PDP are rooting for the deputy senate-president Ike Ekweremadu who has been loyal to PDP from inception.
He is also seen as a less controversial option with good antecedents of being able to unite politicians, his only issue which other factions are using to push for their own candidates is that the south east part of the country is already a PDP stronghold and will not vote for the ruling APC partly because of the whole issue of Nnamdi Kanu and the Idigienious people of Biafra.
The People of the South East are bitter about the way the government handled the whole event and feel the need to do their part in dislodging the Buhari Administration.
The various factions feel the PDP should go for other candidates that will further energize the machinery of the party in the battle to sway voters round the country in the race for who occupies the Aso Rock presidential villa.
The bayelsa block of the PDP which has in its fold the likes of former President Goodluck Jonathan are pushing for Atiku to make the Governor of Bayelsa state Seriake Dickson his running mate.
Senator Ben Murray Bruce is also in contention as some strong members of the party feel it will give the ticket a bit of transparency as he is not part of the old guard of politicians.
With few months left till the primaries, Nigeria’s are in for a very interesting time in our political climate which always comes with its own fair share of surprises.
The potential entry of the Reformed All Progressives Congress Members (R-APC) into the PDP will further change the permutations. FOMBINATIMES will keep you updated as the fight for the mighty Asorock, Nigeria’s seat of power unfolds.