With the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) already scheduled its presidential primary election for early October, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, are perfecting plan to formally declare their intentions to seek the party’s ticket.
Other aspirants for the PDP ticket, who have formally declared are former vice president, Atiku Abubakar; ex-Jigawa State governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido; former Kano State governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso; ex-Minister of Special Duties, Tanimu Turaki; Gombe State governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo; former Kano State governor and Minister of Education, Ibrahim Shekarau; ex-Interim Chairman of the PDP, Ahmed Makarfi; ex-Sokoto governor, Attahiru Bafarawa and Datti Baba Ahmed.
Daily Sun gathered that the two political gladiators, who recently defected from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to their former party, the PDP, are concluding their consultations, having been going round the country to meet stakeholders and party leaders on their aspiration.
Saraki has met with former military president, Ibrahim Babangida; former president, Olusegun Obasanjo; governors and other PDP stakeholders.
Also, Tambuwal had met Babangida, governors across the country and PDP stakeholders.
It was gathered that Tambuwal delayed his formal declaration because of the last Eid el-Kabir celebration, wherein he travelled for Hajj.
He had put it on hold as his advisers said it would not be good to make such declaration during Muslim celebration.
Having returned to the country on Saturday, Tambuwal had headed for Port Harcourt yesterday, to commiserate with Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike on the death of the state’s former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Emmanuel Aguma (SAN), as well as consult on his aspiration.
Sources said after the Rivers State visit, Tambuwal would be ready to conclude preparations for the formal declaration.
“I cannot really confirm to you the exact date, but I know it will happen this week. He has traveled to see Governor Wike today (on Sunday) and I am sure after Oga’s return from Rivers, we will know the exact date,” one of the sources close Tambuwal’s camp disclosed.
Tambuwal, it was gathered has “powerful” power brokers in the North backing his aspiration.
“Remember, he obtained an Expression of Interest form in 2014, in a bid to contest the APC presidential primary. But at the dying minute, he was brought under serious pressure to withdraw for Buhari. Most of those powerful Nigerians who were behind the aspiration then are still with him and they are the ones urging him to run,” one of the sources said.
For Saraki, Daily Sun gathered that all is also set for his formal entry into the race.
The Senate president had hinted a few weeks ago, that he was considering joining the race to challenge President Muhammadu Buhari for the presidency in 2019. He also revealed that he was consulting on this.
Sources revealed that Saraki is banking on consensus arrangement among PDP stakeholders, especially the governors and former Nigeria leaders, in the quest for the PDP ticket.
It was gathered that the senate president’s camp has been canvassing an arrangement whereby a consensus would settle for him to pick the PDP presidential ticket.
It is not certain whether his consultation with former presidents and PDP top stakeholders has yielded the result in this regard.
Saraki bid for the presidency in 2011, when he, alongside three others: Generals Ibrahim Babangida, Aliyu Gusau and Atiku Abubakar, subjected themselves to a committee of the northern elders for a consensus northern candidate. He succumbed to the outcome of the consensus arrangement, which favoured Atiku, who eventually lost to then President Goodluck Jonathan during the PDP primary election. This time, he hopes to be the lucky person.
Saraki had also indicated interest to run for the APC presidential primary in 2014 but he was persuaded to withdraw for incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari and run for Senate on the promise that he would be the Senate president. APC chieftains were to renege on the promise when, in June 2015, Saraki bid for the Senate presidency. He, however, emerged the Senate president, with the support of PDP senators, against the APC’s wish. APC had anointed Senator Ahmed Lawan for the position of Senate president.
A source said: “Saraki is interested in running. Like I told you earlier, he will be declaring formally any moment from now. He is making a wider consultation this time because he does not want a rancour presidential primary in the PDP. He wants a situation where stakeholders will nominate him as consensus candidate of the PDP.”