2019: PDP to screen Saraki, Atiku, others

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Presidential aspirants seeking the ticket of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) will meet with the Board of Trustees panel set up to discuss the possibility of having a consensus presidential candidate for the party this week, National Daily has gathered.

The 12-man panel, which is headed by Senator Walid Jibrin, is expected to first meet in the morning of Thursday before inviting the aspirants for the screening.

The aspirants are a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar; Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal; Governor of Gombe State, Ibrahim Dankwambo; a former Governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso; and a former Governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa.

Others said to have been invited are President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki; a former President of the Senate, David Mark; a former Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Relations, Tanimu Turaki (SAN); a former Governor of Plateau State, Jona Jang; and a former Governor of Kaduna State, Ahmed Makarfi.

Others expected at the meeting are a former Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido; Dr Datti Baba-Ahmed and Usifo Stanley.

It was gathered that the aspirants would be persuaded to have meetings among themselves and see if they could agree on a consensus candidate.

Jubril, who will chair the meeting, confirmed to our correspondent that the board would meet with the aspirants.

“We will meet them on Thursday in Abuja, but I will not tell you the location.

“We are talking with the aspirants and I have hope that they will all work together for the progress of our party which will make us win the presidential election in 2019,” he said.

It was gathered that the aspirants had, however, made up their mind not to drop their ambition.

A member of the BoT said that the aspirants “do not want to hear anything about consensus or stepping down for anybody at all.”

But another board member said that the aspirants could still strike a deal among themselves before the October 5 and 6 dates for the presidential convention.

Investigations by our correspondent showed that the PDP is looking for a presidential candidate that will be able to deflate the support base of President Muhammadu Buhari in the northern part of the country.

A member of the National Working Committee of the party, who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said the party would prefer a candidate that would break Buhari’s popularity in the north.

He said, “We are praying to have a candidate that will be loved by the entire country; a nationalist, who will see the entire country as his base.

“We also want a candidate that is loved by the north, where we have zoned the ticket to. We need someone that can break the support base of President Buhari. That is just it.”

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