Power blocs within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have begun the covert search for an acceptable candidate that will fly the party’s flag in the 2019 presidential election.
The party has also renewed its pressure on the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, former Kano State Governor, Senator Musa Rabiu Kwankwaso and other prominent chieftains that dumped the PDP for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2014.
Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of the PDP, Senator Walid Jibrin, who dropped the hint in Abuja on Tuesday, also confirmed that the party was already weighing options regarding the suitability of the array of aspirants lining up for the job.
Jibrin spoke at Legacy House, the party’s campaign headquarters while addressing a PDP youth group, Ward-To-Ward that paid him a courtesy visit. He, however, clarified that the search is restricted to aspirants from the North.
“We are all doing what we can in the North with all the leaders to identify who is the best candidate to rule this country. The best person that will take away power from the ruling party because 2019 is our own. 2019 is for PDP.
“We as a party, have agreed that the President of Nigeria in 2019 should come from the North. I enjoin you to support the North to bring and give you a very capable President; never-a-no-do-well President, a good qualitative President.
Describing the return of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to the PDP as a good omen, Jibrin said the party was expecting more of the chieftains that dump the PDP for the APC before the 2015 general elections.
He listed Saraki and Kwankwaso as key among those expected to rejoin the PDP, adding that others being expected to return to the party include serving National Assembly members and former governors.
Jibrin said: “We are also expecting a big return of some of our former governors, our National Assembly members and very renowned party followers. And when this is done, which will be done very quickly, then the party will now come to its stable stand.
“We should encourage everybody who has left us to come back and reunite with us. We will not hate anyone or deprive anybody. It is a good omen for this party that we should receive people.
“We are therefore calling on the Senate President Bukola Saraki, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and all our former legislators who have left this party to come back quickly”.
The BoT chair also disclosed that the party has constituted a special reconciliation committee headed by a former President of the Senate, David Mark.
According to him, the Mark committee has been mandated to mediate in grievances among BoT members that disagreed over the choice of chairmanship candidate at the December 9 national convention of the party.
Some of the BoT members had openly taken sides with their preferred candidates, a development that Jibrin said was divisive and tended to erode the neutrality of the BoT as the conscience of the party.
Jibrin regretted that members of the BoT had remained neutral before that chairmanship campaign, but that along the line, some members decided to give open support to some aspirants. This he said, had left the BoT members divided.
The BoT chair commended the role played by the party’s governors in the convention in which Prince Uche Secondus emerged as National Chairman.
He credited the governors with the success of the convention, adding that all the party’s 11 governors gave the necessary support to ensure Secondus’ emergence.