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By Dirisu Yakubu

Ahead of the May 28 presidential primary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, there are indications the party may have fewer aspirants as consensus talks continue among the two leading camps.

Former Senate President Bukola Saraki, Governor Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), Governor Bala Mohammed (Bauchi) and investment banker, Muhammed Hayatu-Deen, are working towards producing a consensus choice for the North.

Sunday Vanguard reports that though former Vice President Atiku Abubakar was approached and actually participated in one of the meetings, he has no faith in a project he believes is skewed against him.

Saraki is the favourite to emerge the consensus choice of the group barring any change of fortune in the weeks ahead.

In the South-East, ex- Anambra state governor,   Peter Obi; businessman, Sam Ohuabunwa; erstwhile Senate President Pius Anyim; and medical doctor-turned politician, Nwachukwu Anakwenze, are in deep talks to present a common front at the primary.

Obi, this medium gathered, is the favourite to emerge from the camp given the tremendous goodwill he enjoys across the six geo-political zones.

A member of the party’s National Working Committee,   NWC, confided in Sunday Vanguard that PDP will do everything possible to avoid the mistake of the 2018 primary which had as many as 13 aspirants contesting for the ticket.

According to him, building an early consensus would make the party gather the required momentum for the 2023 elections on time.

He said: “Consensus is the main thing. The Chairman, the highly respected Dr. Ayu, is a product of consensus. With consensus, there is less trouble, less feud and what have you! What we are looking at is the possible elimination of about 10 persons at the primary.

“That will not only help us to elect our flag bearer with ease; it will also save the time of party officials, staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and, of course, journalists who will be on the ground to monitor the process.

“The NWC is encouraging consensus but will not force or cajole anyone to quit the race. The decision to contest or step down lies with the aspirants”.

Speaking on why consensus is likely to do the party a world of good, our source added: “In 2018 preparatory to the 2019 election, over a dozen or so aspirants were in Port Harcourt. When a winner emerged, even though the process was transparent, many of the aspirants did not warm up to the outcome of that event.

“This is why this convention is likely to take a new shape in the form of fewer aspirants and winning strategy for the 2023 election”.

Meanwhile,   the PDP has called on Nigerians, particularly Christians,   to use the occasion of Easter, “which marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” to rekindle their hope for a brighter future and a national rebirth under a new democratic order.

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This is as the party blamed the Buhari- government for a legion of atrocities in the land, particularly disregard for the rule of law and violation of human rights.

In a statement by spokesman, Debo Ologunagba, the PDP said: “Easter, the celebration of the victory of life over death, offers us the opportunity to further strengthen our resolve to rescue our dear nation from the forces of death, suffering and misrule that have held her hostage in the last seven years.

“Such forces have in the last seven years divided and suppressed Nigerians, arrogantly instituted lies, propaganda, deceit, disregard for the rule of law, intimidation and violation of human rights as official policies of the state; brought untold economic hardship and acute poverty as a weapon of suppression and mass destruction, pillaged our national treasury with impunity, opened our nation to terrorists and look the other way as outlaws take over territories and daily massacre our citizens. 

In a related development, the PDP has again adjusted the timetable for its activities and fixed new dates for the purchase of nomination forms.

According to Ologunagba, the extension of the date is to “enable the party to make up for the two days public holidays as announced by the federal government (Friday and Monday)”.

Under the new timetable, the last day for the purchase of forms has been extended to Tuesday, April 19, 2022, while the last day for the submission of completed forms has also been extended to Wednesday, April 20, 2022.

Consequently, aspirants for state and National   Assembly seats now have up to Friday, April 22 and Monday, April 25 respectively to purchase their nomination forms while governorship and presidential aspirants can still obtain their forms on Tuesday, April 26 and Wednesday, April 27 respectively.

Similarly, April 25, 27, 29 and 30 have been slated respectively for state House of Assembly, National Assembly, governorship and presidential screening.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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