The crucial PDP national convention would hold in October. At stake is who becomes the party’s flag bearer in the various elective posts in the 2019 elections.
The stiffest battle though would be in the presidential primaries. At the moment, about 14 eminent persons have thrown their hats in the ring for the right to battle President Buhari in next year’s presidential election.
A certain Atiku Abubakar is among the top contenders. This isn’t the first time he had contested a party primary for the top job in the land. The last time he did, he lost to the incumbent president.
Of interest to this piece was his attempt to fly the PDP’s flag back in 2010.
It was one of the most acrimonious primaries in the history of the PDP.
Atiku, and most northern politicians, felt it was the turn of the ‘north’ to produce the next president to complete Shehu Yar’Adua’s term in office.
Goodluck Jonathan had been the beneficiary of the demise of Yar’Adua. He wanted to continue for another term after completing his boss’ first tenure.
The PDP constitutional though had zoned the eight years between 2007 and 2015 to the north. Hence, the anger of northern politicians at the audacity of Jonathan not to step aside for somebody like Atiku.
That 2010 primary represented the best chance Atiku had to become president. But he lost and his camp was mad at the injustice of it all.
It was from the emotion of events of that period that Alhaji Lawal Kaita uttered these immortal words: ‘The north is determined, if that happens, to make the country ungovernable for President Jonathan or any other Southerner who finds his way to the seat of power on the platform of the PDP against the principle of the party’s zoning policy.’
Lawal Kaita was a former governor of Kaduna State and one of the founding members of the PDP. He was also a very close associate of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
Kaita died in January this year at the age of 86. May his soul rest in peace.
Without Kaita, who would express Atiku’s anger using similar immortal words if he doesn’t win the primaries? Perhaps, he would simply take it like a man and move on like he did after losing to Buhari in the 2014 APC primaries
Ahead of the 2019 elections, the PDP intends to rake in the cash no matter what happens.
Nigeria News reported that each presidential candidate is expected to fork out N12 million if they want their name on the ballot at the PDP primaries in October.
With 14 deep-pocket-candidates expressing interest to gun for that lone ticket, that is over N150 million to the coffers of the party.
Uche Secondus, the party chairman, must be licking his chops in anticipation of all that money coming to him and his men at the party secretariat.
It won’t be surprising if it came out that Secondus is actively working for more big guns to declare their interest in the presidential race.
The more the merrier. And of course, more booty for him.
Let’s not even speculate on the amount of money each of the front-runners would throw at the party as a donation. That is a nice way of saying each candidate would try to bribe the party officials at all levels.
The problem though for Secondus would be how to manage the likely crisis after the primaries.
The front-runners are unlikely to accept any result that doesn’t favor them. To head off that problem, Secondus and his men had drafted an agreement for each candidate to sign.
It is an undertaking binding all the candidates to certain conduct before and after the primaries. However, the ‘after’ is what that document is all about in real terms.
The agreement requires all candidates to accept the result of the primaries in good faith and most importantly, they should not defect to another party.
In essence, the party want the likes of Rabiu Kwankwaso, Sule Lamido, Bukola Saraki, Ahmed Markarfi, Ibrahim Shekarau, Ibrahim Dankwambo, Jonah Jang, Aminu Tambuwal and Atiku Abubakar to abide by the rules.
Good luck to them trying to make serial lawbreakers to do something that goes against their nature.
Take Jang for instance, in 2013 he told the whole world that 16 is greater than 19; that, from his perspective, made him the duly elected head of the Nigeria Governors Forum. Rotimi Amaechi was the beneficiary of the 19 votes.
However, when it comes to bending and breaking rules, Jang is in the small leagues compared to the other contestants.
Would Atiku prod one of his aides to threaten Nigeria with anarchy if he is not declared the winner? Would Saraki obtain a complicated injunction from a compromised judge stopping the PDP from anointing a different candidate?
Anything can happen when each player in that lot is determined to have his way.
Secondus and the PDP would surely make a lot of money prior to the primaries. After, they would have their hands full putting out the myriad of fires started by disgruntled candidates.
They would earn every single naira of the money if they want to enter the 2019 elections as a stable party prepared and ready to seize power from the APC.