The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has set up a committee to prune down the number of its presidential aspirants, in its bid to ensure a rancour free primary election.
Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) BoT, Senator Walid Jibrin who revealed this in a statement, yesterday, said the committee is to interface with all the presidential aspirants and explore the possibility of coming up with a consensus candidate from among them.
He, however did not disclose members of the committee.
So far, 12 aspirants have obtained the Expression of Interest and nomination forms for the primary election scheduled for October 5-6.
They include former vice president, Abubakar Atiku; Senate President, Bukola Saraki; former chairman PDP National Caretaker Committee, Ahmed Makarfi; Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal; Gombe State governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo and former minister of Special Duties, Taminu Turaki.
Others are former senate president, David Mark; former governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso; former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido; former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa; former governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang, founder of Baze University, Senator Datti Baba-Ahmed and Stanley Osifo from Edo State.
Jibrin said the BoT had at its meeting last Thursday resolved to set up the committee to dialogue with aspirants, with the aim of getting some of them to withdraw from the contest.
He said the BoT advised members of the committee to always maintain their honour and integrity as conscience of the party, remain neutral and never sponsor or lead aspirants to visits and rallies as was done during last convention.
He cautioned the party to manage the situation of new defectors and also consider the role played by old members.
Jibrin’s reappointment as BoT chairman for another five years, was announced in a statement yesterday. He was first elected to the position in 2013.
The acting secretary of the board, Adolphus Wabara, a former president of the Senate, was also confirmed as secretary for five years. However, Saraki has said consensus was not an issue before presidential aspirants.
Saraki who spoke after submitting his nomination and expression of interest forms at the PDP national secretariat in Abuja, said the most important thing at the moment was to ensure internal democracy in the party and credible process.
Saraki said all the PDP presidential aspirants were working together as part of one family, noting that he believed that at end of the day, whoever emerged will be supported by others.
“What is important is that at the end of the day, we have a process that is rancour free. What I can tell you is that we are working together, because we are still part of one family. I believe at the end of the day, we will have a process that whoever emerges will be supported by all of us, so that there will be no need dividing ourselves.”
He expressed delight that the process of nominating the PDP candidate for the 2019 presidential election is being manged by competent people.
Meanwhile, the Benue State Chapter of party, has made a case for a president from the North Central. It said the zone has experienced, competent and qualified aspirant seeking the position.
Leaders of the party in the state made their position known during a meeting with Saraki, who was in Makurdi to brief and seek the support of the national delegates to the PDP national convention on his aspiration.
The state chairman, John Mgbede, said the zone has played the role of stabiliser at critical period in the nation such that now that it had leading presidential aspirants with the clout and vision to provide better governance, other zones should support the aspirants.