AFTER the hullabaloo over defections, the die is cast in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which has to pick its presidential candidate in a matter of weeks. By the timetable of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the 2019 poll, all parties have to elect their presidential, governorship, National Assembly and State Assembly candidates between August 18 and October 7, 2018. The primaries for the FCT Area Council Elections will commence on September 4 and end on October 27, 2018.
The presidential primary election of the PDP will be highly instructive for the following reasons:
It will indicate if PDP really has learnt its lesson or could walk the talk after 16 years of abysmal failure in power; it will produce a main challenger to President Buhari. It is likely to determine whether or not the party can make any impact in 2019 poll.
- Nigerian voters will be able to tell if they have an alternative to Buhari.
- The PDP primaries will be a beacon for measuring how keen and colourful the next presidential poll will be.
With its persistent vicious attacks on the administration of Buhari and recourse to merger or alliance talks with about 45 mushroom parties, the pressure is more on PDP than its arch-rival, the APC. For a party noted for money-politics than issues, the conduct of the primaries will make or mar its electoral fortunes.
So far, about 12 aspirants have emerged in the party for the presidential primaries. It is a motley crowd. The aspirants are ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar; Sen. Rabiu Kwankwaso; ex-Minister of Special Duties, Tanimu Kabiru Turaki; Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal; Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo; ex-Governor Ibrahim Shekarau; ex-Governor Sule Lamido; a former Interim National Chairman of PDP, Sen. Ahmed Makarfi; Governor Ayodele Fayose; ex-Governor Attahiru Bafarawa; Datti Baba Ahmed; and the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki whose body language has shown a serious desire for the office . Analysts believe that Saraki is pretentiously busy testing the waters. The visit of 45 political parties to him on Thursday in Abuja was much more than the solidarity visit.
THE TENDENCIES IN PDP WHICH WILL SHAPE THE PARTY’S PRIMARIES
About seven tendencies have been in the PDP in the last 20 years of its existence . There is the military cabal which formed/ joined the party . This cabal is represented by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, ex-Military President Ibrahim Babangida, ex-Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Theophillus Danjuma and ex-NSA Gen. Aliyu Gusau. There are also the surviving elements of G-34 used as a springboard to form the party but shoved aside later; the new generation of power brokers in the party revolving around the shadows of Governor Nyesom Wike who is now in control of the party’s structure; the present crop of PDP governors who control delegates to the primaries; the old brigade of governors under the leadership of Makarfi and ably supported by Lamido, ex-Governor Liyel Imoke and ex-Governor Gabriel Suswam among others; the anonymous captains of industry, bank executives, oil sector cabal who share the ideals of the PDP secretly and benefited tremendously through humongous patronage during its 16 years inglorious rule ; and now the defectors under the leadership of Saraki who has been branded as the national leader of PDP at a recent emergency National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party to the consternation of many dyed- in – the – wool faithful.
The incessant shuttles to ex-President Obasanjo in Abeokuta (whose ghost is still haunting PDP), the Hill Top mansion of Babangida in Minna, the T.Y. Danjuma haven in Lagos and the modest Asokoro residence of Gusau pointed to how much reverence the party leaders and members still accord the military cabal which joined the party and produced Obasanjo as the nation’s President in 1999. Virtually all presidential aspirants have turned the homes of these military heavyweights to consulting clinics. Also, barely a few hours after addressing a world press conference on Wednesday on the siege to the National Assembly, Saraki jetted out to Minna to meet with Babangida, which was a confirmation of the influence still being wielded by the ex-military leaders. These past leaders have been fingered in the looming coalition of forces against APC.
With the way the PDP governors installed the National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, it is glaring that they will play a major role in the choice of the party’s presidential candidate. Apart from keeping faith with the mutual power agreement which brought Secondus to power, the governors control the party structure at state level and they also determine the voting pattern of delegates from their states. A member of the National Working Committee said: “The governors have been dictating the pace in the PDP since 2003. They are natural kingmakers and I don’t think 2019 will be different because most of the statutory delegates are either their appointees or loyalists.”
Notwithstanding these tendencies in the PDP, all the 12 aspirants have been traversing every corner of the country in order to seek the support of governors and delegates. But the big question is how will these tendencies play out in the choice of the party’s flag bearer ?
A former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar is the only veteran presidential aspirant among those seeking the mandate of PDP for 2019 poll. He has been in the race since 1992 and he has lost the battle at pre-primaries, primaries scheming, primaries and outright presidential election to the late Chief M.K.O Abiola (1992); ex-President Obasanjo (2003); ex-President Umaru Yar’Adua (2007) even while on clutches; ex-President Goodluck Jonathan (2011) despite being the candidate of the Northern Political Leaders Forum; and President Muhammadu Buhari (2015) where he came third in the APC presidential primaries in Lagos.
His political career has been topsy-turvy with most of the time emerging as a loser. For instance in 1989, Atiku had his baptism under his late mentor, Gen. Shehu Musa Yar’Adua when he emerged as the National Vice-Chairman of the Peoples Front of Nigeria(PFN) during the transition programme of the military regime of ex-President Ibrahim Babangida. Despite the fact that he secured a seat into the Constituent Assembly in 1989, the PFN was not registered by the military junta. He had no choice than to pitch tents with the Social Democratic Party (SDP), which was one of the two parties registered by the military government.
In November 1991, he won the gubernatorial primaries of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) but he was disqualified by the then military government from participating in the elections. In 1992, he stepped down for Abiola to emerge as SDP candidate with a bargain to become the party’s Vice Presidential candidate but Amb. Babagana Kingibe was picked as Abiola’s running mate to the consternation of all party members. In December 1998, he won the governorship poll in Adamawa State but before he could be sworn in, Obasanjo nominated him as the nation’s Vice President, the highest post he has attained in his political career. Yet the romance between him and Obasanjo lasted only the first term in office as Atiku spent the second term in turbulence.
And for aspiring to be the nation’s President in 2019, Obasanjo has de-marketed Atiku again. About a week ago, the ex-President, who is one of those working in concert with PDP against President Buhari, said: “How can I be on the same side with Atiku? To do what? If I support Atiku for anything, God will not forgive me. If I do not know, yes. But once I know, Atiku can never enjoy my support…”
In terms of political leverage, vast network, sourcing for good hands and having a consistent solid structure, Atiku towers above other 11 aspirants in the PDP but his chances are still very slim unless the party will not factor Obasanjo into its permutations. And for Atiku, who will be 72 in November, this appears his last chance.
Notwithstanding, Atiku is very strong in Adamawa; Taraba; Bauchi; the Southeast states( Anambra, Enugu, Abia, Ebonyi, Imo) because of his long term relationship with the Igbo; and two or three South-south states like Akwa Ibom and Delta( because of lbori, his long time associate who is the godfather of Governor lfeanyi Okowa). When he contested in 2007 on the platform of the Action Congress (AC), he secured 2,637,848 compared to President Muhammadu Buhari’s 6,605,299 votes and late Yar’Adua’s 24,638,063 votes. But he secured more votes in Imo, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, and Osun than Buhari. Then, APC chieftain Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his associates worked for him as they were all in the ACN. Today, Tinubu and his men are solidly behind Buhari. In the PDP, some notable figures like Bode George, Aduke Maina may back him. But his biggest obstacle is the PDP governors club
RATING. One of the tendencies in the party is to his advantage . This is the big businessmen , the business moguls and oil cabal who related with him while he was Vice President. They may not be too relevant for now, this being a party affair, except they are able to prevail on the governors to let Atiku be. Nonetheless, the former VP is a resilient aspirant, a renowned strategist, a tough fighter with a deep pocket, and a bad loser. He might not work for the success of the PDP if he loses the primaries. Will he jump ship if he is not picked, particularly if the primary is seen to be manipulated ? Time will tell.
AMINU WAZIRI TAMBUWAL
The Governor of Sokoto State, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, is taking a second shot at the presidential ticket having tried in vain in 2015 to get the APC ticket. Buoyed by a successful tenure as the Speaker of the House of Representatives between 2011 and 2015, Tambuwal felt the next stage of his political career is presidency. Born on January 10, 1966, Tambuwal is notorious for defecting from one party to another since 1999. He had cut his teeth in legislative engineering when he became a Personal Assistant on Legislative Affairs to a former Senate Leader, Sen. Abdullahi Wali between 1999 and 2000 . Wali was of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP). By 2003, he got elected into the House of Representatives on the ticket of the All Nigeria Peoples Party(ANPP) to represent Kebbe/Tambuwal Federal Constituency. But in 2007, he defected to the Democratic Peoples Party(DPP) but when the terrain was tough, he made a U-Turn to ANPP to regain his ticket for re-election. He later left ANPP in 2007 for PDP with his new found godfather, ex-Governor Aliyu Wammako. While as Speaker of the House of Representatives, he had one leg in the PDP and the other leg in the ACN. He worked assiduously against the PDP and then President Goodluck Jonathan just to please the ACN and retain his seat as the ACN was instrumental to his election as Speaker.
By October 28, 2014, Tambuwal was finally done with PDP when he joined a new coalition called the All Progressives Congress(APC). Again on August 1, 2018, he ditched APC by defecting to PDP. Some political pundits call him ” the doyen of defection.”Although some attribute his persistent defection to “political vision and smartness,” others rate him as being too “slippery” as a politician.
His latest move was attributed to his presidential ambition being oiled by his political soul mate, Governor Nyesom Wike who has pocketed PDP structure with the aid of other governors.
His greatest asset is legislative finesse which earned him many plum positions including being a Minority Leader, a Deputy Chief Whip and the ultimate prize of serving as the Speaker of the House of Representatives. His opponents believe that the allure of leading the House has made him overrate himself. They also contend that his tenure as governor has been less robust because the executive position is more tasking and demanding. A former member of his cabinet said: “He is brilliant but he is inexperienced when it comes to managing in an executive position. He hardly calls meeting of the State Executive Council.”
RATING : Other than relying on Wike, there is little his past experience can fetch him in winning the PDP ticket. Some PDP governors do not buy into Wike’s agenda of handing over the presidential ticket of the party to Tambuwal on a platter of gold.
The governor looks strong in Sokoto, Akwa lbom, Rivers, Zamfara, Edo( the Edo PDP chairman, Dan Orbih, will do Wike’s bidding any day ) . But if he gets the backing of all PDP governors, his aspiration will come to fruition and most of the states will vote for him.
TANIMU KABIRU TURAKI
A quiet and oratorical aspirant, Tanimu Kabiru Turaki(SAN), a former Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, appears to be the underdog and the favourite of the Third Force in the PDP, going by the composition of his directorate. His aspiration appeals to the die-hard of the loyalists of the kingmakers in the party. There are powerful forces from the camps of ex-Presidents Obasanjo, Babangida, Goodluck Jonathan and ex-VP Namadi Sambo managing his campaign. They include the Director-General of the TKT, ex-Governor Boni Haruna ; Deputy DG(North), ex-Military Governor, Col. Habibu Shuaibu ; Deputy DG ( South), ex-Minister Stephen Oru; Director, Media and Publicity, Mr Sola Atere; Director, Contact and Mobilization, Barr. Caleb Mftwang; Director, Women Affairs, Ugbechi Nwuche; Director, Youth, Stanley Nwabuisi; Deputy Director, Contact and Mobilization, Dr. Donald Emeka Nwachukwu; and Deputy Director, Media, Umar Sani.
No aspirant has toured the country like the man they call TKT. A Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Danmasanin Gwandu, Turaki has good grasp of all issues in the country and his vision is always clear at any function
Since he threw his hat into the ring, many Nigerians have been eager to know his political antecedents which his opponents have dismissed as unimpressive. Wikipedia captures his political trajectory as follows: “He was Secretary, Youth Wing, of National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in 1981. He joined United Nigeria Congress Party (UNCP) in 1996 where he stood as Kebbi State Gubernatorial aspirant for the party in 1998, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki joined All Peoples’ Party where he was member of its National Executive Committee and in 2000 he was elevated to member of its Board of Trustees (BOT).
“However, following some realignment of forces, Kabiru defected to the United Nigerian Peoples’ Party and contested for the seat of Kebbi State Governor in 2003. After the 2003 elections, he later decamped to PDP the same year and was the Party’s Kebbi State Gubernatorial Aspirant in 2007. Following series of betrayals and numerous controversies, Kabiru decided to Join the ACN in 2011.
“This, however, did not last as he later returned to PDP the same year. In 2014/15, looking at his wealth of experience, Kabiru was appointed Deputy Director General (North) of PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation.”
One of the most difficult tasks he handled as a Minister was when on April 24, 2013, ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, appointed him as the chairman of the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North to open talks with the leadership of Boko Haram insurgents and explore conditions or terms for amnesty for the insurgents. According to a report, the committee initiated the “process of disarmament and de-radicalization of Boko Haram members.”
RATING : He is an underdog . He may do well in his home state.
IBRAHIM HASSAN DANKWAMBO
Until he became the governor of Gombe State in 2011, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo has been a thorough professional with a PhD in accounting from Igbinedion University. Among all the aspirants in PDP, he is rated as the least in terms of political experience. Aside from his sterling records of performance in Gombe State, little is known about him politically beyond his immediate environment. At 56, Dankwambo is young. He is well educated and an experienced and tested technocrat, having successfully managed Nigeria’s treasury as Accountant General of the Federation. His opponents say he is still learning the ropes in politics but his minders contend that he has paid his dues. In 2015, against all predictions, he survived the Buhari gale that swept off many PDP Governors in the North. Though the PDP lost the state to the APC in the presidential election, the reverse was the case in the governorship. Dankwambo won despite the formidable opposition by former governor of the state and APC senator Danjuma Goje.
Dankwambo is an active and respected member of the PDP Governors Forum. He stood by the PDP in its most turbulent time, working with Wike, Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti, Udom Emmanuel of Akwa lbom, Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa to revamp the party. His opponents also say he has no baggage unlike some other aspirants. Though seen as a dark horse, political watchers are not ruling him out. In the Northeast, he only has Atiku to contend with.
RATING: He will do well in Gombe,and to a large extent in Bauchi and other states in the Northeast. He has a chummy relationship with Fayose, Wike and Udom Emmanuel. Former President Goodluck Jonathan is also believed to be well disposed to him. If he is adopted by PDP governors, he may be the candidate to beat.
If ex-Governor Ibrahim Shekarau follows through his presidential aspiration, it will be the second time he will take a shot at it. He had a spectacular outing during the presidential elections in 2011. A foremost Mathematics teacher who demystified ex-Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso by defeating the then incumbent governor on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party(ANPP), he has since defected from ANPP to PDP. With paltry votes of 917,012, he came a distant fourth in the 2011 presidential race behind ex-President Jonathan(22,495,187 votes); President Buhari of the former CPC(12,214,853 votes) and Mallam Nuhu Ribadu of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, who earned 2,079,151 votes.
With his political rival, Sen. Rabiu Kwankwaso also in the race for the presidential ticket, Shekarau might have a slim chance because he does not have enormous resources like Kwankwaso who beat Atiku to a third place at the APC presidential primaries in 2015.
RATING : He is well-respected for his integrity, selflessness, austere lifestyle and religious outlook in Kano, Bauchi , Kaduna, Borno, Zamfara, and Yobe states. His political differences with Buhari might be his Achilles Heel even if he gets the PDP ticket. A Herculean task.
DATTI BABA AHMED
A principled activist, a one-time Senator and the Pro-Chancellor of Baze University, Datti Baba Ahmed has spent more on advertisements than any aspirant. He was one of those who resisted the third term ambition of ex-President Obasanjo in 2006 as a member of the House of Representatives. As an early bird in the race, not much is known about him in PDP. His major setback was his abandonment of politics to concentrate on his university project. He is more of a future minister than a presidency material in a party where intrigues and cash play key roles. It is difficult to say he controls any state but Kaduna is the family fortress. The descendants of Baba-Ahmed are noted for openness, sincerity and service to humanity.
RATING: No impact
Senate President Bukola Saraki has not officially declared for the presidency, but, he has not denied reports linking him with the contest. His defection to the party last week was applauded by party leaders who immediately gave him the title of PDP National Leader. As the Chairman of the National Assembly, the number three citizen is the most senior PDP chieftain occupying an elective office.
Generally, if political pedigree, experience and competence are the prime criteria, Saraki, a medical doctor-turned politician, is eminently qualified to bid for the ticket. The Kwara State kingpin has inherited a formidable structure from his illustrious father, Second Republic Senate Leader Olusola Saraki, which he has continued to fortify. Up to now, he is the indisputable and indomitable leader of Kwara, held in high esteem by his fanatical followers.
Between 2000 and 2003, Dr. Saraki was Senior Special Adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Food Security. He was governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2011. During the period, he was the Chairman of Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF). He was among the PDP big wigs who called it quits with the party in 2015. He was elected senator representing Kwara Central District in 2011 and Senate President three and half years ago. His defection last week upset the All Progressives Congress (APC). The ruling party is still mounting pressure on him to resign as Senate President.
Saraki defected from the APC to the PDP to protest what he has described as maltreatment, victimization and marginalisation. It was not certain whether he negotiated for the PDP presidential ticket during his pre-defection parley with the PDP leadership. Saraki is a household name in the country. He is a popular politician. But, he is more popular in his Kwara base where he seems to have no formidable rival. To observers, he has the financial war chest, only second to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. He also enjoys the support of many of the nation’s moneybags who allegedly financed him to emerge as Senate President and are believed to be secretly oiling his political machine. If he throws his hat into the ring, he will get the bloc votes of Kwara PDP delegates at the primary. Also, some senators who are rooting for him may convince pockets of delegates from other states and zones to endorse him.
However, the buck stops at the PDP Governors’ Forum. The PDP governors hold the ace. If Saraki is genuinely interested in the presidential ticket, he will be banking on the bloc endorsement of the governors. Yet, there is no evidence that the governors are on the same page. Not even Gombe State Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo, who is in the race, is assured of collective endorsement by his colleagues. Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose, according to a source, is only willing to mobilise delegates from the state to support an aspirant who is favourably disposed to his vice presidential candidate. While River State Governor Nyesom Wike is said to be considering titling the pendulum towards Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal, not all his colleagues are looking in the same direction.
A major hurdle for Saraki is his perception as a Yoruba, although he is from the Northcentral region. During critical contests, the Yoruba people of Kwara and Kogi states are hardly perceived as core northerners. A case in point was Obasanjo’s stiff opposition to the ambition of the late Chief Sunday Awoniyi, the Aro of Mopa, to become the PDP national chairman. While Awoniyi said he was a northerner, Obasanjo said he was a Yoruba. The former president said since a Yoruba was president, another Yoruba could not be party chairman.
RATING: He is a national figure. He may get the votes of statutory delegates like PDP senators and House members . Kwara ,his home state, is intact.
The former governor of Kano State, Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso, is a long standing politician. He is an experienced actor. In the Third Republic, he was the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives. In 1999, he became the governor of Kano State. When his re-election bid hit the rock in 2003, former President Obasanjo appointed him as Minister of Defense. In 2011, he succeeded his successor and arch-rival, Alhaji Ibrahim Shekarau. As governor, Kwankwaso was a performer. He fought the infrastructure battle in the Northwest state and handed over the reins to his deputy, Alhaji Ibrahim Ganduje. The former governor is a grassroots mobiliser. He presides over a formidable structure, Kwakwansiyya Group, which is also akin to a foundation.
Kwankwaso cannot be underrated in politics. In 2015 when he competed for the APC ticket won by President Muhammadu Buhari, he came second at the primary, beating the Turaki Adamawa, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to the third position. He was able to achieve that feat, as it were, because he was governor. Apart from the protracted rift between him and Ganduje, Senator Kwankwaso had other motives for dumping the APC. His ambition is to occupy the highest seat in the land. Following President’s declaration of second term ambition, it was clear to him that the ticket would be reserved for the Commander-In-Chief.
The former governor is not relenting. He is an aggressive campaigner with persuasive talents. He has traversed the six regions to sell his aspiration to party chieftains and potential delegates. His group, Kwakwansiyya, has increased its tempo of philanthropist activities and extended financial assistance to internally-displaced persons in some troubled spots across the country, especially in Benue State, Yobe State and Osun states. He is in regular contact with prominent party leaders, particularly the governors, party officials and elders.
When he retraced his steps to the APC, the tension between him and Shekarau became the main issue. Shekarau, a chieftain of the APC, defected to the PDP in 2015 because he loathed staying in the same camp with Kwankwaso. However, the two politicians have met, embraced and pledged to team up to rebuild Kano PDP. Kwankwaso has loyal followers, but not all of them are willing to jump ship along with him. To analysts, it is doubtful, if the former governor can repeat the 2015 feat which dazed Atiku at the primary. There are some party chieftains who believe that Kwankwaso has returned to the party he tried to destroy three years ago when he left for the APC. He may bounce back to reckoning in Kano PDP, but the delegates are divided over his ambition and that of Shekarau. Also, outside Kano, his support base is disputed. Although he has fans among Hausa/Fulani PDP members residing in the Southern zones, they represent a negligible fraction of total delegates.
Kwankwaso is conversant with the game of survival. As a former governor, he is aware of the enormous influence of the PDP governors. Therefore, like other contenders, he is banking on the support of his former colleagues, without whose support his ambition will be aborted. If Shekarau opts out of the primary, then, Kwankwaso will get bloc votes from Kano delegates at the primary.
RATING: Former President Obasanjo will not mind him having appointed him minister of defence.. Strong in Kano and perhaps Katsina.
Former Kano State Governor Sule Lamido is a founding member of the PDP. He is not an amateur politician. In the Second Republic, he was a member of the House of Representaives on the platform of the proscribed Peoples Redemption Party (PRP). In the Third Republic, he was the National Secretary of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP). In 1999, he became the Minister of Foreign Affairs. In 2007, he was elected as governor. In 2011, he was re-elected. He left behind worthy legacies which have remained a reference point in Jigawa. He was one of the outstanding PDP chieftains who rejected the overtures to defect to the APC in 2015.
Lamido has a structure, the Siyasa Akida Network. The group is campaigning for him in the 19 northern states. But, he has also expanded the scope of consultations by visiting prominent PDP leaders and groups across the federation to sell his ambition to them. When he visited former President Obasanjo in Abeokuta, capital of Ogun State last week, the former leader showered encomiums on him, saying that he is competent to rule the country.
However, the former governor faces predictable hurdles. He and his sons are on the Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC) radar. This has created perception problem.
RATING: He will get the votes of delegates from Jigawa. Weak elsewhere with many of the firm belief that he is not a presidential material
Senator Ahmed Makarfi, former governor of Kaduna State, is a loyal, dedicated and consistent party chieftain. He had an impressive public service record before joining politics; as a teacher and commissioner. He was governor for eight years between 1999 and 2007. He was elected as senator in 2007. He has been eyeing the presidency since 2007.
His staying power is personal integrity. He has not been associated with graft and public indecency. Therefore, many perceive him as a role model. When EFCC was hounding his former coleagues, he walked on the street as a freeman.
When former President Obasanjo set up a Presidential Search Team, led by Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose, to search for a competent and an acceptable candidate, majority of the governors were said to be rooting for Makarfi. The search took cognizance of zoning, which is a core principle in the PDP. However, the former president opted for the late Alhaji Umaru Yar’ Adua, who later succeeded him.
Makarfi served as the Chairman of the PDP Caretaker Committee, following the botched Port-Harcourt Convention, which polarised the party into two factions. He is unhappy that people who defected from the party and destroyed it are coming back to seek its presidential ticket. He had cried out that PDP returnees were taking over the platform from committed chieftains who waited behind to nurse it when it was ailing. The former governor asked: “If the platform had been destroyed, would they have come back?” In his view, those who deserve the ticket are those who stayed behind to rescue the sinking ship of the party when it was deserted by the defectors.
RATING : Makarfi is highly respected in the PDP. But, observers point out that he may not have enough resourcs to prosecute his agenda. He is in the good books of the party’s governors. If he is endorsed, he stands a good chance. It is expected that Kaduna delegates will vote for him at the primary.
Since he placed his hands on the political plough in the Second Republic, he has not looked back. Attahiru Bafarawa, governor of Sokoto State between 1999 and 2007, has always refused to go into oblivion. He is always hopeful.
In 1979, he was a House of Representatives candidate on the platform of the Great Nigerian Peoples Party (GNPP), led by the late Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim. He was a delegate to the 1994/5 Constitutional Conference set up by the late military Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha. As governor of Sokoto State, he was hardworking. He embarked on developmental programmmes for the benefit of his people, but, he was also controversial.
In 2007, Sokoto slipped from his total grip. As the presidential candidate of the Democratic Peoples Party (PDP), he came third during the general election. Also, he could not install his preferred candidate as governor. When he realised that he could not secure the ticket of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in 2011, he left for the PDP. According to observers, Bafarawa is a weak aspirant living on old glory. His support base is narrow. His aspiration lacks a national appeal.
RATING: No base. He is seen as apdp joker.