Atiku, Wike, Saraki, others battle for 3,700 delegates

No fewer than 3,700 delegates will determine the fate of the 15 presidential aspirants in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The delegates will be more should President Muhammadu Buhari assents to the amended Section 84(8) of the Electoral Act before the primary scheduled for May 29-30.

In a document obtained at the weekend, there are 15 states with delegates above 100.

They include Oyo, Akwa Ibom, Kano, Delta, Enugu, Rivers, Adamawa, Imo, Kaduna, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Katsina, Sokoto and Osun where court disputes may reduce the number of delegates.

Based on Section 33 of the PDP Constitution, the delegates comprise the National Chairman and other members of the National Executive Committee (NEC); serving and former governors; serving and former members of the Board of Trustees; former members of the National Working Committee; members of the National Assembly and former principal officers.

Others are serving members of the Zonal Executive Committee and State Working Committee; serving members of the House of Assembly and former presiding officers; elected Local Government Area (LGA)Council chairmen; all LGA party chairmen; governorship candidates and deputies; National Assembly candidates; National delegates to the National Convention (one per LGA); and one physically challenged person per state.

The breakdown is as follows: Abia – 116, FCT – 36, Adamawa – 119, Akwa Ibom – 174, Anambra – 91, Bauchi – 106, Bayelsa – 79, Benue – 139, Borno – 100, Cross River – 79 and Delta – 155.

Others are Ebonyi – 79, Edo – 90, Ekiti – 72, Enugu – 143, Gombe – 60, Imo – 105, Jigawa – 87, Kaduna – 105, Kano – 150, Katsina – 114, Kebbi – 78 and Kogi – 92.

The list includes Kwara – 76, Lagos – 88, Nasarawa – 58, Niger – 96, Ogun – 84, Ondo – 69, Osun – 104, Oyo – 181, Plateau – 84, Rivers – 138, Sokoto – 129, Taraba – 98, Yobe – 71 and Zamfara – 34.

A source, who spoke in confidence said: “The battle line is drawn, especially in 15 states with 100 delegates and above. This is why you see aspirants jostling for votes from delegates.

“With the latest amendment to the Electoral Act 2022, which enables elected councillors to be statutory delegates, the number could increase. But PDP has substantially complied with Section 84(8) of the Electoral Act in its constitution.

“But I think in the next few days, if the President assents to the amendment, PDP will decide on the way forward.

“Section 84 (8) as amended says: ‘A political party that adopts the system of indirect primaries for the choice of its candidates shall clearly outline in its constitution and rules the procedure for the democratic election of delegates to vote at the convention, congress or meeting, in addition to Statutory delegates already prescribed in the constitution of the party.’

“Those affected by this section are listed in the Explanatory Note to the amendment and they include elected councillors.”

As of press time, it was gathered that the 13 PDP governors are divided over Atiku, Saraki, Wike and Tambuwal.

It was gathered that to win more votes, some presidential aspirants had been engaged in covert negotiations.

Another source added: “Atiku’s camp may likely have some collaboration with Governors Bala Mohammed and Aminu Tambuwal. This camp is already dangling the offer of the office of the President of the Senate President to Tambuwal if Atiku Abubakar is elected as President. Although Adamawa Governor Umaru Fintiri is from the same state as Atiku, Wike has been lobbying him for support. Bala Mohammed is considered a future presidential candidate from the North.

“Wike is enjoying the backing of Governors Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) and Samuel Ortom (Benue), who has been his ally but cannot be at the forefront because of the interest of the Northcentral.

“To curtail the influence of Wike, some governors have queued behind Saraki, namely Duoye Diri (Bayelsa), Darius Ishaku (Taraba) and Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta).

“Bala Mohammed, Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom) and Aminu Tambuwal, who are also in the race, have become beautiful brides and they may likely benefit from the last-minute power deal between the North and the South.

“If Wike gets the ticket, he will not waste time in picking his soul mate (Tambuwal) as his running mate. Other aspirants are keen on Udom and Okowa as vice presidential candidates.”

Fifteen aspirants have been cleared for the contest.

A nine-man screening committee, led by ex-Senate President, David Mark, axed two of the 17 aspirants that submitted forms.

Those disqualified are Cosmas Ndukwe, a lawmaker and a US-based medical doctor, Nwachukwu Anakwenze.

Those cleared are ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar, former Senate President Bukola Saraki, former Anambra State Governor Peter Obi, former Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose and the only female aspirant, Teriela Oliver.

Others are Tambuwal, Wike, Mohammed, Emmanuel and banker and economist, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen.

Others are former Senate President Pius Anyim; ex-President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) Sam Ohuabunwa; the Publisher Ovation Magazine, Dele Momodu; Charles Ugwu and Chikwendu Kalu.

An investigation by our correspondent revealed that most of the aspirants have received the list of delegates.

It was learnt that the aspirants and their strategists have premised their permutations on the list at their disposal.

The party was still keeping the list of delegates under wraps pending the conclusion of the election of delegates in some states like Zamfara and assent to the amended Section 84(8) of the Electoral Act by President Buhari.



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