The presidential ambition of Senate President Bukola Saraki appears to be gathering steam after more governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) backed his aspiration, according to a group close to the Campaign Organisation of the number three citizen.
This indication emerged on a day the Abubakar Bukola Saraki Campaign Organisation (ABSCO) announced the appointment of Mr. Ilemona Onoja as its spokesman.
Saraki had declared his intention to run for the presidency on the platform of the PDP at an event in Abuja, penultimate Thursday, putting an end to several weeks of speculation about his desire to run for the office.
Also jostling for the PDP presidential ticket are former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Governor Ibrahim Dakwambo of Gombe State, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, former Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State, a former Kaduna State governor who also acted as Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee of the party, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, among others.
Political developments in the days since Saraki declared and picked the PDP nomination form for the presidency, the group said, yesterday, suggested that the Senate President was highly favoured to clinch the PDP’s ticket.
A spokesperson for the group told Sunday Vanguard: “Apart from governors elected on the platform of the PDP who have declared their support for Saraki and are earnestly rooting for him to clinch the party’s ticket at the convention, as of the middle of the week (last week), more governors have apparently joined the train.
“If you take away the Middle Belt, which he already has in his pocket as his home base, all things being equal, Saraki stands a good chance as the favourite to clinch the party’s ticket as he presently enjoys massive support from majority of governors in the South-East and South-South geo-political zones”.
He went on: “Aside from the many PDP youth volunteer groups that have enlisted in the Campaign Organization, several notable PDP stalwarts across the country who have resigned from the party are now coming out and rallying round Saraki’s candidacy.”
Citing a meeting of PDP North-Central stakeholders and leadership group held last week, the group’s spokesperson said the consensus at the parley was that personalities who had indicated interest in the party’s presidential ticket were worthy and eminently qualified individuals, but the body language at the meeting seemed to be pointing to a support for Saraki’s candidacy.
“The feeling is that the North Central deserves the presidency of Nigeria and they are more inclined to use Saraki as their battler”.
Meanwhile, a top politician from the North who did not want his name mentioned, said, yesterday:
“If he wins the primary as the PDP candidate, the Senate President stands a good chance of massive support from the South and the Middle-Belt, but same cannot be confidently said about the core northern zones.”
He added “He will be facing a very tough hurdle in the North-West zone, which is believed to be President Muhammadu Buhari’s stronghold. The political enlightenment of the zone and strong adherence to religion are some of the issues that may work against Saraki in the North-West. It may not be a smooth ride for him in this zone, but I believe his team is working on that.”
In a related development, Mohammed Wakil, a former Minister of State for Power and Director General of Abubakar Saraki Presidential Campaign Organisation, said, yesterday, however, that the widely held view among young people and many stakeholders in the North-West is that competence and demonstrable capabilities, rather than geo-political ancestry, should determine who emerges the nation’s president in 2019.