Ahead of the 2019 elections, the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party has said that it is not involved in the idea of having a sole presidential aspirant for the party.
The party said it would rather be pre-occupied with the provision of an enabling environment for all the aspirants to canvass votes at its national convention than to be thinking of asking some of the aspirants to step down.
There has been concerns over the growing number of presidential aspirants on the platform of the party.
Among those who have indicated interest to pick the sole presidential ticket of the party are a former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar; a former governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso; Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal and Governor of Gombe State, Ibrahim Dankwambo.
Also, a former governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau; a former governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa; a former minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Relations, Alhaji Kabiru Tanimu (SAN) and a former governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido, have signified their readiness to pick the ticket.
The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has also hinted that he might join the race, but said he was still making consultations.
Our correspondent also gathered that notable members of the party had been asking the National Working Committee of the party led by Uche Secondus to find a way of reducing the number of the aspirants to “a manageable size.”
But the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, said in Abuja on Saturday, that the party was not thinking of pruning down the number of the aspirants.
He also said that the NWC was not talking with the aspirants on the need to have a consensus presidential candidate, but added that the aspirants on their own were free to discuss among themselves on the issue.
He said, “Members of the National Working Committee are not thinking or asking for a consensus presidential candidate. We are not even discussing it.
“Nevertheless we will not stop anyone or any group that is discussing that with the aspirants or even if the aspirants are discussing that among themselves.
“We are interested in having a rancour-free national convention where we will openly elect an acceptable presidential candidate that will overwhelmingly defeat President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress in 2019.
“The whole world saw how we conducted our national convention where all delegates were given free hands to elect officers of their choice. We will also conduct an acceptable presidential primary where all the contestants will be allowed to take part.
“We are confident that at the end of the exercise, all the aspirants would commend the exercise and would express willingness to work with the winner of the party’s presidential ticket.”
But a source close to the national leadership of the party said that the NWC would have a meeting with all the aspirants before it holds the national convention, slated for early October.
The meeting, according to the source, will focus on the need to accept the outcome of the covention by the aspirants and also work with the elected candidate.
The proposed meeting, our was learnt, will however be held when the aspirants have purchased their nomination and expression of interest forms.
“The meeting will be with those who have purchased forms and not with those who have signified intentions to run,” the source added.
It was also learnt that the Board of Trustees of the party was planning to have a series of meetings with the aspirants.
Chairman of the PDP BoT, Senator Walid Jibrin, who confirmed the planned meeting, said that the board would play its “fatherly roles in making sure that we have an acceptable candidate.”