By By Dirisu Yakubu
The Presidential aspiration of former Vice Presidential, Atiku Abubakar (71), Ibrahim Dankwambo (56), Aminu Tambuwal (52), Kabiru Turaki (61), Ahmed Makarfi (62) and Sule Lamido (69) on the platform of the PDP is one that would be determined by a number of issues, against the backdrop of Wednesday peaceful protest to the party’s headquarters by youths numbering over a few hundreds.
Led by Convener of the Not-Too-Young-To-Run movement, Samson Itodo, the youths pledged their readiness to team up with the party in the 2019 Presidential election on a condition that the PDP considers fielding a young candidate to run for the highest elective office in the land.
Addressing the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party led by the National Secretary, Senator Umar Tsauri, Itodo tasked the party to look in the direction of a youthful candidate to get the backing of young Nigerian voters, who in his estimation, constitute about 60 per cent of the electorate.
“We are asking that this party should support young Presidential aspirants, reserve tickets for the youths, reduce cost of nomination forms and adopt the direct primaries option in the selection of candidates for elective positions. We shall mobilise 50 million voters to vote against any party that does not adopt the democratic process. In case any party feels that come 2019, it will buy our votes, we shall give it a shocker,” Itodo pledged on behalf of the youths.
This singular demand, a party source told this medium is not be dismissed by a wave of the hand, even though, he added that the choice of the candidate would be determined solely by party delegates, unless the PDP elect to embrace the direct primary option.
In a chat with our correspondent on Thursday, the source noted that the list of demands by the youths would be submitted to the National Chairman of the party, Uche Secondus next week, adding however that the voting strength of the youths as stated by Itodo means that the group must be taken seriously.
“From what we have gathered so far, the youths are a different lot this time. The eloquent presentation by their leader (Itodo) is in tandem with the direction of this party. Like the National Youth Leader of the party promised, the demands would be looked into by the leadership of the party but how this would affect the choice of party’s flag bearer in the 2019 Presidential election is too early to say.
“The PDP has been a pro-youth party right from the onset and if you take a look at the Presidential aspirants, some of them are in their 50s and others in their 60s. But it is the delegates that have the final say except of course, the candidates support one of their own by stepping down for one or we make do with direct primary elections,” he said.
Although the youths did not pledge their support to any of the aforementioned aspirants, there are indications that some of them have been reaching out to youth groups, pledging among others, empowerment of youths via political appointments and educational empowerment.
Of the eight aspirants that have so far declared intent to contest the ticket, the quartet of Atiku, Turaki, Dankwambo and Lamido are known to have solid youth structures spread across the six geo-political zones of the country.