Against the backdrop of the success of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, national convention, governors elected on the platform of the party have shifted their attention to 2023, with the aim of having one of their own fly the party’s Presidential flag, Vanguard gathered yesterday.
The 13 governors recently demonstrated their grip on the party as they succeeded in reducing what was meant to be an elective convention to almost a no contest, prevailing on 18 of the 21 aspirants to the various party offices to queue behind consensus candidates.The development inflicted political injury on many top players as they watched the governors delivered their preferred candidates with little or no resistance.
Ahead of the 2023 election, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State and his Bauchi State counterpart, Senator Bala Mohammed, are believed to be nursing presidential ambitions, though they are yet to officially declare interest.
Speaking exclusively to Vanguard in confidence, a former governor of one of the North-Western states and member of the party’s National Executive Committee, NEC, said following the hitch-free conduct of the convention where the governors had their way, “they are now certain to bankroll one of their own to run for the Presidency in the next general election.”
He said: “It is too early to say a certain governor has been endorsed by his colleagues for the ticket as others apart from those in the public domain are likely to join the race. What I can however tell you is that the governors have realized how powerful they truly are and are not going to yield an inch to anybody in the race to the Presidency.
”It will interest you to know that after the convention, the governors met, away from the prying eyes of the media, just to congratulate themselves and plot their next move.
“They control the delegates in their various states and even in those states where PDP do not have governors, they have found a way of exerting their influence. But this is not about power show; it is about change of guard.
”They simply want to be in charge as they believe that since the party lost the Presidency, they ordinarily ought to be the kingmakers. And who better to fly the Presidential ticket than a governor?”
With this development, the Presidential ambition of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, immediate past Senate President, Bukola Saraki and one-time Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, may have hit the rock, given the influence of the governors in the affairs of the party today.
Atiku’s body language and Saraki’s public utterances have given them away as potential Presidential aspirants in 2023, while Anyim has confirmed his interest in the race, whether the PDP zone the ticket to a particular or not.
Speaking recently in Abuja, Anyim, a former President of the Senate, said: “Posters of my Presidential bid and agitations by groups for me to contest flooded the social media in 2020 and I disassociated myself from such calls.
”I felt it was too early for such declarations to enable the present administration concentrate on governance. Such calls resurfaced in the early part of 2021 and I choose to be quiet over the issue.
“We currently have less than 18 months to the next elections and I feel the time was ripe to indicate my interest.”
Anyim said zoning of the Presidential ticket had been deferred by the party, adding, however, that “nothing stops any one from the South-East zone from contesting the Presidency, even if it was not zoned to it.
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”The most important thing is that the party’s national convention is a sort of rebirth for a group of people who have recovered from a setback. The party members are currently focused and determined to reclaim power with one spirit.”