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Fear Atiku may pick PDP ticket forced APC to throw race open – Investigation

The All Progressives Congress has refused to announce its decision on zoning two weeks to its presidential primary amid fears that the Peoples Democratic Party may pick a northerner as its presidential candidate on May 29, Sunday PUNCH can confirm.

Impeccable party sources told Sunday PUNCH that with the rise in ethnic and religious politics in the country, it had become obvious that most Nigerians would vote along ethnic and religious lines.

This was what informed the decision of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; and Governor Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State to join the presidential race at the last minute.

A source in the APC said, “It is not in our constitution that people should be denied their fundamental human rights . Also, the Nigerian constitution says everybody will be able to contest. In 2014, Rochas Okorocha contested against four northern aspirants. In 1999, Alex Ekwueme and Abubakar Rimi contested against Olusegun Obasanjo for the PDP ticket. You cannot breach a law that doesn’t exist. So, we cannot be held account for a law that doesn’t exist.

“Our thinking is that if Atiku Abubakar gets the party’s ticket, then we are in trouble. So, the party will throw its ticket open. I don’t see this decision being reversed.”

When asked what would happen if former governor Bola Tinubu of Lagos State emerges the APC presidential candidate,  the source said the APC might end up going with a Muslim/Muslim ticket.

“If a northern candidate doesn’t emerge from the APC, then the vice-presidential candidate must be a very strong Muslim politician from the North. This is the challenge Tinubu will have but if it comes to it, then a Muslim/Muslim ticket is what we will go for. We will win the core North and the South-West,” he said.

It was gathered that the leadership of the ruling party, headed by a former governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Adamu, was already calculating how to counter the PDP, whose presidential primary comes up on May 28 in Abuja.

The APC had initially given an indication that its presidential candidate would come from the southern part of the country, but the ruling party later changed its tune recently when Adamu, said no such decision had been taken by the party.

The aspirants on the PDP platform are Teriela Oliver Diana, the only woman in the race; former vice president, Atiku Abubakar; former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi; Governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Bala Mohammed (Bauchi) and Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto); former president of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Pius Anyim.

Others in the race on the PDP platform are former governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose; former FSB Managing Director, Muhammed HayatuDeen; United States-based medical doctor, Nwachukwu Anakwenze; media mogul, Dele Momodu; a pharmacist, Sam Ohuabunwa; former Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly, Cosmos Ndukwe, Charles Ugwu and Chikwendu Kalu.

The aspirants have since intensified their efforts to secure the support of party stakeholders, particularly voting delegates in the impending national convention.

The PDP has constituted a special national convention planning committee ahead of its presidential primary election on May 28 and 29.


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