2023: Who Will Be PDP’s Presidential Candidate?

Fifteen aspirants are jostling for the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in this week’s primary election. ‘Dare Odufowokan, Assistant Editor, Gbade Ogunwale, Onimisi Alao, Damian Duruiheoma, Linus Oota, Bassey Anthony and Nwanosike Onu, examine their chances.

A little over week ago, PDP ended months of speculation and finally threw open the contest for its presidential ticket to all aspirants in the race – irrespective of their geo-political zones. The decision was taken at the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting. Following the decision, consultations with stakeholders and power brokers in the party intensified.

The NEC appointed former Senate President, David Mark, chairman of the party’s National Convention Organising Committee. Enugu Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi was named the Deputy Chairman of the Committee while a former Katsina State Governor, Ibrahim Shema, is Secretary. The committee is charged with the responsibility of organising the primaries slated for May 28-29.

Seventeen chieftains of the opposition party paid N41million to obtain the expression of interest and nomination forms. Upon the closure of the sales of the forms, the party proceeded to screen the aspirants. The presidential screening committee of the party headed by Senator David Mark attended to all the aspirants, and at the end of the process, 15 of them were cleared while two were disqualified from the race.

Those who appeared before the screening committee include former Vice President, Abubakar Atiku, two former Senate Presidents, Bukola Saraki and Anyim Pius Anyim as well as Governors Aminu Tambuwal, Nyesom Wike, Bala Mohammed, Emmanuel Udom, of Sokoto, Rivers, Bauchi and Akwa Ibom States respectively.

Others are businessman, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen, former governors Peter Obi and Ayo Fayose of Anambra and Ekiti, Chief Sam Ohunabunwa, Dele Momodu, Charles Okwudili, Chikwendu Kalu, Cosmos Ndukwe and Olivia Tarela, who is the only female among the aspirants.

The two aspirants disqualified by the committee, who also had their disqualification upheld by the party’s appeal panel earlier this month are former lawmaker, Cosmas Ndukwe, and a US-based medical doctor, Nwachukwu Anakwenze.

With the decision of the party to discard its tradition of zoning, many pundits are quick to predict that the race for the ticket will be a four-cornered fight between Atiku, Wike, Saraki and Tambuwal. They argue that these four aspirants have done the most work towards canvassing for support of party leaders and delegates in past months.

In spite of growing indications that the party’s leadership may have resolved to produce a northern presidential candidate owing to its belief that it can only unseat the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) with a candidate from the north, Wike who has emerged as the leading aspirant from the South, is still rated as someone who can pull a surprise and alter the party’s plan during the primary.

To emerge as candidate, the aspirants have to garner the most votes from delegates from the various states of the federation. So how are the aspirants faring in their quest for votes?

 

ATIKU ABUBAKAR                                                            

Former Vice President Atiku is widely perceived to be the leading aspirant in the race. This old political horse and perennial presidential contender still looms large in the country’s political terrain. He first launched a bid for the presidency 30 years ago. Like others, he has been going round the country to seek votes.

A founding father of the party, he served as former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s deputy for eight years. He was the PDP’s flagbearer in the 2019 election. He ran against and lost to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari.

STRENGTHS

Through the three decades plus when he has been active in national politics, he has built an incredible political structure across the country. As a former acolyte of the late General Shehu Yar’Adua, he inherited much of his late mentor’s Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) structure.

He is quite strong in the Northeast zone and can be expected to do well there. He may have secured the buy-in of delegates from his home state of Adamawa where the sitting PDP governor, Umar Fintiri, has openly identified with his aspiration.

Fintiri, has long thrown his weight behind Atiku’s ambition after first appearing as if his close relationship with his Rivers State counterpart, Nyesome Wike, was going to affect his loyalty to Atiku. When Wike came to Yola about three weeks back, Fintiri received him at his office but kept out of Wike’s interaction with delegates.

The move, some people claim, was Fintiri’s way of showing that his stand with Atiku was sure-footed. During Wike’s interaction with delegates at the Banquet Hall of Government House, he was bluntly told by the state PDP Chairman, Ahmed Tahir: “No vote for you here. We are for Atiku.” Tahir’s position was chorused by some of the delegates at the parley.

He may also get a sizable chunk of votes from the other five states in the zone.

Atiku stands a better chance of harvesting majority of delegate votes from Gombe State where he still enjoys the loyalty of party stakeholders and wields considerable influence in the state chapter. The fact that there is no PDP governor in the state gives him an edge there.

His political network is similarly rooted in Taraba State where he had a good showing in the 2019 presidential primaries. Although Taraba governor, Darius Ishaku, has not openly identified with the aspiration of any of the aspirants, it is generally believed that the state delegates will vote for an aspirant from the Northeast.

He may encounter some resistance in Borno where another aspirant, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen comes from. Yobe State which has no aspirant in the race, may also give him some votes. The case may be different in Bauchi whose governor, Bala Mohammed, is in the contest. Atiku is also expected to do well in some Southwest states.

His chances are bright in Ondo with former PDP gubernatorial candidate in 2020, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede, coordinating his campaign. Jegede is a longstanding political associate of the ex-VP. However, a former Ondo governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, might split the votes with Jegede. Mimiko has identified with the agitation for power shift to the South and he is likely to support one of the aspirants from the region.

Osun is likely to go for Atiku if the body language of former governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola is anything to go by. Oyinlola is believed to be favourably disposed to his aspiration. But he will have to do a lot to deliver the state to Atiku given the current stance of the factions within the party.

Atiku’s votes in the South East may shrink considerably from his 2019 haul. Governors Okezie Ikpeazu and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi respectively, are supporting Wike and delegates from the two states will obviously go with their governors. Ebonyi State delegates may vote for one of their own, Senator Pius Anyim, who is also contesting.

While it would be expected that most of the delegates from Anambra will vote for Mr. Peter Obi who is widely adjudged to have performed creditably well in his eight years tenure as governor of the state, Atiku enjoys the sympathy of some of the delegates because of the supports of chieftains like Senator Ben Ndi Obi, who has been a long-time ally of the former Vice President.

A good number of Imo state delegates are believed to be supporting Wike, with the PDP National Secretary, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, leading them. On the other hand, former governor, Emeka Ihedioha, is in the camp of Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal.

With Tambuwal in the race, the Northwest may prove quite tricky for Atiku. Many of the seven states in the zone may go for the Sokoto governor. In Zamfara, the votes will be split between him and the former Vice President.

Jigawa state delegates are likely to be led by Alhaji Sule Lamido to vote Atiku. Lamido, who was a former governor of the state, has always been Atiku’s political ally since the formation of the PDP in 1998. Votes from Kano State are likely to be split between between Atiku and Tambuwal. The two aspirants will likewise slug it out in Kebbi where there is no sitting PDP governor. Majority votes from Kaduna and Katsina may be won by Atiku who still has political structures in the two states.

Atiku may also harvest considerable number of votes from three of the six states in the North Central zone. The states are Niger, Plateau and Kogi. He is going to have it tough in Benue where Governor Samuel Ortom is backing Wike’s aspiration. Benue delegates will file behind their governor. On the other hand, Kwara State is a no-go area as Saraki will pocket all the votes.

The strength of Atiku in Nasarawa today, compared to what it was in 2019, has diminished considerably. Many of the party chieftains who were with him are now backing other aspirants. However, he still has the support of the state party chairman, Hon. Francis Orogu. But the 2019 governorship candidate of the party, David Umbugadu, who is also contesting the party’s ticket again, is no longer with Atiku as he is backing Wike.

One of the major strengths of Atiku is that as successful businessman, he has deep pockets to carry the financial demands of a presidential bid.

WEAKNESSES

Ever since he made his intention to run known again, the former VP has been criticized as being too old. He has brushed this off by insisting that he’s in robust good health.

He has also been hammered by those who are less than impressed with his habitual party-hopping, skipping from platform to platform in pursuit of his presidential ambition. Wike has made this a campaign issue, arguing that those who defected from PDP in 2015 helped enthrone APC and the Buhari and shouldn’t be rewarded.

Some point out though that the Rivers governor is being hypocritical in his criticism of his rival given that in 2019 he backed Tambuwal who also defected to APC seven years ago.

But what should worry the Turaki Adamawa more is the fact that most governors of his party are not favourably disposed to him becoming the party’s candidate. They may yet band together to install someone from within their ranks.

GENERAL ELECTION PROSPECTS

Atiku enjoys name recognition nationwide having been around for a long time. He will certainly do well up, but he’s no Buhari. He and the president are totally different political phenomena. Any suggestion that he has 12 million votes locked somewhere in the North is a pipe dream. It would interest readers to know that electoral victory even in his local Adamawa isn’t guaranteed. After all, he has lost on a number of occasions to the president in his home base.

Things get tricky for him down South. He should get ready to offer angry voters a plausible explanation whether it is equitable for another Northerner to govern after Buhari’s eight-year tenure. This could very well turn out to be the Achilles Heel of his campaign this time around as sentiments across the South is strongly for power shift.

 

NYESOM WIKE                                                                                                    

The Rivers State governor is another strong contender in the race. He has covered quite some ground and is still crisscrossing the country selling his candidacy to stakeholders and would-be delegates. He prides himself as the only aspirant who had never left the PDP since 1999. He was elected as a two-term Chairman of Obio Akpor Local Government Area from 1999 to 2007. He was appointed Minister in July 2011.

He resigned before finishing his term to campaign for governor of Rivers State. He won the election and was re-elected in 2019. He has emerged as the frontrunner among aspirants from the south. According to his campaign team, he has been to almost every state of the country to canvass for votes. He is also the most talked about aspirant as at today.

STRENGTHS

Many political observers expect him to pull a surprise at the primary election, especially on the strength of the pro-zoning agitation within the party which he championed. He has been combative in approach with his characteristic caustic harangues that sometimes benumb his listeners. Nevertheless, he has succeeded in spreading his campaign across a large swathe of the political boundaries within the short time he joined the race.

A fierce agitator for power shift to the South, Wike has put up a good fight in the journey so far. His aspiration has received strong support in the South-South, Southeast and Southwest. In the South-South, he has Rivers votes in his breast pocket, with a fair share of delegate votes expected from Edo State. His unending face-off with Governor Godwin Obaseki will definitely affect him but he has state chairman, Dan Orbih, on ground to make things happen for him in the state.

He may also share the votes from Delta with Atiku. He is practically in charge in Cross River where the sitting governor defected to the APC a few months ago. Akwa Ibom is a no-go area for him as Governor Udom Emmanuel is also in the race.

He may secure some votes from Bayelsa, though not in any significant number because of his frosty relationship with ex-Governor Seriake Dickson who may be pro-Atiku. The sitting Bayelsa governor may also not be disposed to backing Wike because the Rivers governor did not support his 2019 governorship aspiration.

He will likely sweep the votes from two states in the Southeast, Abia and Enugu as the governors are backing him. It will not come as a surprise to observers to see the Enugu delegates giving their votes to the Wike. He is believed to be a close associate of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi who led Wike’s presidential campaigns to some states.

Considering the voting pattern of Enugu State PDP over the years which had always been a block or group decision, the situation may not change anytime soon. A party stalwart told our correspondent that Enugu delegates are likely to vote for Wike because of his relationship with the Enugu State governor.

Imo will also give him some votes, courtesy of the PDP National Secretary, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, who is a strong ally in the state. The Rivers State governor is also being supported by the godfather of Anambra politics, Chief Chris Uba, who is also a delegate and has his loyalists among the delegates. Another PDP chieftain in Anambra who has strong affinity with Wike is the federal lawmaker representing Ogbaru Federal Constituency, Hon. Chu Chu Onyema.

Delegates from the remaining two states – Anambra and Ebonyi – may not give much of their vote to Wike. Peter Obi and Senator Pius Anyim are from the states and are also in the race.

In the Southwest, Oyo and Ekiti will give Wike their votes. While Governor Seyi Makinde is holding forth for him in Oyo, former governor Ayo Fayose is rallying the delegates in Ekiti for the Rivers governor. If Chief Bode George should have his way, Lagos delegates won’t vote for Wike. Unfortunately, his grip on the state chapter of the party is not what it used to be as the younger elements are said to be more willing to defer to Makinde.

In Ondo state, the camp of an ex-governor, Olusegun Mimiko, is believed to be favourably disposed to Wike’s aspiration.

Ogun State delegates are likely to allow Mr. Ladi Adebutu to lead the way. Adebutu is a strong contender for the 2023 governorship race. He is an ally of Fayose’s, as such Wike looks really good in the state.

In Osun, Oyinlola will most likely pay the Rivers man back for frustrating his bid to become the PDP national chairman during the last convention. But there are indications that supporters of Ademola Adeleke, the party’s governorship candidate, may cast their votes for Wike.

WEAKNESSES

But Wike’s aspiration appears not to be well received in many parts of the North.

Besides, Benue State where Governor Samuel Ortom is supporting him, his chances in other states are not that bright. But he is expected to get votes in Nasarawa State where the 2019 guber candidate of the PDP, David Umbugadu, a former ally of Atiku’s, is backing him for the presidential ticket. It is believed that his supporters who are delegates will vote Wike who is rumoured to be funding his governorship campaign.

Also, his hard line pro South posture on national issues has not endeared him to stakeholders in the Northeast and the Northwest zones. In effect, the bulk of Wike’s votes will come from the South. He will also make a good showing in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Philip Aduda, the only senator representing the territory, has been aggressive in rallying support for him. Wike will be running shoulder to shoulder with Atiku at the primaries.

Another weakness is the perception that he’s not presidential given his raw and combative nature. He appears not to have heard of diplomacy and this offends many party stakeholders.

 

BUKOLA SARAKI

Saraki is a former two-term governor of Kwara State who also served as Senate President till 2019. He was proposed alongside another aspirant as northern consensus candidates by the Northern Elders Forum. The decision is still generating controversy within the party. He had contested for the same position in 2019 but lost out in the primaries. He served as the Director General of Atiku’s campaign in 2019.

His critics within and outside the party however say he is no longer the political giant he used to be when he was the strongman of Kwara politics, following the loss of the state to the APC in 2019.

STRENGTHS

Saraki will win the chunk of the votes from Kwara and do very well in other North Central states at the primary election. His performances in other states, especially in the Northwest and Southwest will determine how far he can go.

He’s likely to get some votes in Kogi and Niger States. He will also do well in Nasarawa where the likes of former Senators Suleiman Adoke and Solomon Ewuga as well as former Deputy Governor, John Mike Abdul, who command large followership among the delegates from the state, are leading members of his campaign team.

Most of PDP stakeholders in the state believe in the North Central agenda and have aligned themselves with the candidature of Senator Saraki. He is expected to share the votes in Plateau State with other leading aspirants. He may not get votes from Benue where Wike is a beautiful bride. Similarly, he does not have strong support base in the seven states in the Northwest and the six in the Northeast.

However, he may end up inheriting delegates from Bauchi State from Governor Bala Mohammed who may pull out of the race any time before the primaries. Bala will likely abandon the race for his governorship re-election.

He was picked by Northern Elders along with the Bauchi governors as the North’s consensus picks for the PDP ticket. Although that plan foundered, it was the latest evidence that party grandees – especially the retired generals are backing him.

Saraki’s claim to being a bridge between the North and the South is a major selling point at a point when feelings are raw over disagreements on zoning within the party.

He is seen as bold and independent-minded. Many remember how he outflanked the APC to snatch the Senate Presidency in 2015. He would go on to lead a National Assembly that kept the Executive on its toes for the period he led it.

WEAKNESSES

What he projects as strength is also seen as a weakness by many. Is he North or South? This identity crisis could be a turn off for some. He has also lost his Kwara fortress and may find it tough to recover in the short term.

 

PETER OBI

This former governor of Anambra State has not been controversial in his entire political career. However, the nature of Nigerian politics, which is hinged on ethnicity and religion, may blight his aspiration. Few will be surprised if Obi ends up struggling for delegate votes from his state.

STRENGTHS

He is seen as a clean politician who is not encumbered by issues of graft. Indeed, his boast for many years was the huge amount of money he left in the state treasury for his successor. A successful businessman, Obi is seen as someone who can potentially be a good manager of the economy. He is thrifty with funds and vowed not to throw money at delegates as he went around for consultations.

WEAKNESSES

The only strongest home supporter Obi has in his presidential pursuit is Senator Uche Ekwunife. His chance of having the votes of Anambra delegates is very slim as the Senator representing Anambra South senatorial zone, Stella Oduah, The Nation gathered, has equally pitched her tent with Anyim. Other party leaders in the state are also backing other aspirants aside Obi.

Also, the former governor does not have political structures in any of the six geopolitical zones. He may not go far in the primaries but he would have succeeded in registering the quality of his thoughts and ideas in the consciousness of many Nigerians. The segments of the public who recognises his leadership qualities and who would have given him their endorsements are not among the delegates that will vote at the primaries. The odds appear heavily stacked against him.

GENERAL ELECTION PROSPECTS

His prospects are not very bright as his appeal appears limited to the Southeast.

 

AMINU TAMBUWAL

The 56-year-old politician is on the last lap of his eight-year tenure as governor of Sokoto State. He first contested for the PDP presidential ticket in 2019 but came second to Atiku in the primary election. Pundits say his chances are not as bright as they were during the last attempt owing to certain developments within and outside the party.

He was adjudged one of the favourites in the race at the very beginning but his ratings plummeted following the declaration of Wike. The Rivers governor was no doubt one of the strong pillars behind Tambuwal’s 2019 presidential aspiration which saw him coming a close second to Atiku. Wike’s aspiration obviously hurt the chances of Tambuwal this time around.

STRENGTHS

One major strength is his experience in the Executive branch as governor and in the Legislature as Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Presently chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, Tambuwal’s aspiration has received tremendous support from stakeholders in a number of states in the Northwest, being the only PDP governor in the entire seven states in the zone. Outside Sokoto, Tambuwal has remained a strong force in four other states in the zone. The states include Kebbi, Zamfara, Kaduna and Katsina where he enjoys considerable goodwill among PDP stakeholders in the chapters.

It is expected that a good number of delegates from the four states will swell Tambuwal’s Sokoto votes. He has a strong ally in Tanimu Turaki, a former Special Duties Minister, who has been a rallying point for him in Kebbi.

WEAKNESSES

However, his chances appear quite slim in zones outside the Northwest. Atiku and Wike will share the votes in the Southwest. The two aspirants will also share the votes in the North Central with Saraki.

In the Southeast, Wike, Obi and Anyim are going to have majority of the delegates, while Tambuwal struggles to share delegates in Imo and Anambra States owing to the support he enjoys from his former governor Ihedioha.

The Northeast votes will be cornered mainly by Atiku. The votes from the South-South will be shared between Wike and Atiku. In terms of temperament and world outlook, Tambuwal cuts a near perfect fit for the job. But his chances of winning the ticket appear quite slim.

A further negative for him is the fact that Wike has made very telling points as to why those who defected to APC in 2015 shouldn’t be rewarded with the PDP ticket. His campaign so far doesn’t seem to have traction with party members.

 

GENERAL ELECTION PROSPECTS

His prospects are not bright as it hard to see how he will ignite enthusiasm across the South after going against the power shift agitation.

 

MOHAMMED HAYATU-DEEN

He is Chairman of the Renaissance Development Forum. He is an experienced banker, economist, project finance executive, administrator, and elder statesman with about forty years’ experience across multiple Nigerian industries. The Borno state-born Shuwa Arab has surprised many with the zeal with which he has pursued his presidential aspiration. He is among those cleared to contest the primary election of the PDP but many pundits say he may not make much impact largely because he is relatively new to partisan politics.

STRENGTHS

The renowned investment banker and financial expert was hardly a known name in Nigerian politics. He registered his presence late January when he revalidated his membership of the PDP in Maiduguri, Borno State, where he comes from. Hayatu-Deen had told journalists on the day that he was not going to seek for any elective office, only to announce his interest in the presidential race two months later.

He is well respected within and outside political circles back home and he is likely to get a good chunk of delegate votes from Borno if other factors don’t work against him. Considering the array of more experienced and career politicians jostling for the ticket, the race, obviously, isn’t Hayatu-Deen’s. There are speculations that the economist may team up with one of the leading aspirants soon.

 

ANYIM PIUS ANYIM

STRENGTHS

Former President of the Senate and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim, is an insider who understands how government works. He has experience leading the Legislature and has also tasted life at the highest levels in the Executive.

He was an early joiner in the race. He has moved round to canvass for votes but pundits say he is not entrenched in the politics of the opposition party enough to pull any surprise at the primary election. He will garner some votes in the Southeast on the strength of the agitation for power shift but may not do much outside his zone.

 

WEAKNESSES

He joined the race apparently in the hope that the ticket was going to be zoned to the Southeast. The Ebonyi-born politician along with other aspirants from the Southeast, have been soliciting support from stakeholders across the geopolitical zones in the past few weeks. Outside Ebonyi where he comes from, Anyim also, may not secure any significant votes from the Southeast.

The two governors from the zone backing another aspirant from the South-South, will certainly deplete Anyim’s votes at the primaries. His campaign does not appear to have received the needed boost his part of the country. He does not have any structure outside Igboland to draw support from. Anyim and other aspirants from the Southeast may as well be in the race to prove a point that it’s high time Nigerians recognised the aspiration of the Igbo to political leadership in the country.

GENERAL ELECTION PROSPECTS

Not likely to be PDP candidate

 

BALA MOHAMMED

STRENGTHS

The Bauchi State governor is an amiable personality with friends and contacts across the country. He is a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). He is one of the very first to declare his presidential bid. He emerged as an unexpected pick as one of the two consensus candidates from the north by NEF. Sources close to him say he is toying with the possibility of picking the PDP presidential ticket while still gunning for re-election as governor. This distraction may be the reason for his lackluster campaign.

WEAKNESSES

He appears to be taking a gamble with his presidential aspiration. His governorship re-election is his core project as he is expected to withdraw from the race at his convenience. However, his presence in the race has given him a great deal of visibility nationwide, which may count for him in future political pursuits. Bala has not admitted or denied media reports that he also purchased the governorship nomination form.

But he has hinted at having a “Plan B” in one of his public statements without disclosing his alternative plan. He may withdraw for Saraki with whom he embarked on the now discarded consensus journey a few weeks back. At best, he will pick votes of delegates in his state and manage to garner some more from neighbourng Gombe state and the FCT if he decides to contest the presidential primary election of the PDP.

GENERAL ELECTION PROSPECTS

Not likely to be the candidate

 

UDOM EMMANUEL

Udom Emmanuel, the two-term governor of Akwa Ibom State is a surprise inclusion in the race for the PDP presidential ticket. He didn’t do much to project his aspiration outside his home state. This will work against him. Talk is rife that he is actually interested in the vice presidential slot. Beyond winning the votes of delegates from his state, he may not do much.

Some have observed that he is in the race to project himself and to remain politically relevant post-2023. He is also rumoured to have obtained senatorial nomination form as second option.

 

SAM OHUABUNWA

He is immediate past president of the Nigerian Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria. Ohuabunwa, 71, declared for the presidential race quite early, precisely in November 2021. Analysts say he may have entered the race on the strength of the agitation for power to be ceded to the Southeast in 2023.

But he is not known to have done much beyond his zone to advance his presidential aspiration. To many observers, the businessman turned politician is not likely to make much impact at the primary election.

 

AYO FAYOSE

With Governor Fayose in the race, he would have been expected to have all the delegates in Ekiti State to his name because he has the party structure in his pocket. Since his declaration, he has yet to catch the sort of attention expected to underscore his commitment and seriousness. Unlike other aspirants in the contest, he is not crisscrossing the country to solicit delegates’ supports but only playing host to his co-contestants.

If Fayose chickens out of the race, Wike will inherit his huge votes because it is believed they are working in alliance. But Atiku cannot be brushed aside as he enjoys the backing of some stakeholders in the party who are statutory delegates. It is still unclear which aspirant Senator Biodun Olujimi who has been a hard nut to crack for Fayose will support but it is believed she would support an aspirant that will promote her interest and that of her supporters.

PDP leaders in her camp include, the former acting governor, Tunji Odeyemi, PDP Southwest Publicity Secretary, Chief Sanya Atofarati, Ex-PDP state chairman, Gboyega Oguntuase, former House of Representatives member, Chief Titi Akindahunsi, among others. The former Ekiti State Governor may have joined the race to assert his constitutional right.

 

DELE MOMODU

This 61-year-old media guru and socialite is known to harbour big dreams. According to him, he is in the race to make all the difference. In his public engagements, the flamboyant publisher of Ovation Magazine has continued to dismiss the core politicians in the race as those responsible for the sorry state of affairs in the country. Momodu has no political structure anywhere in the country. Many consider him a showman in the race.

The remaining three aspirants – Charles Ugwu, Chikwendu Kalu and Tariele Diana Oliver, are quite sure of winning their own votes. That is if they don’t step down for other aspirants before the primary election proper.

While the debate continues over the actual motive of these three aspirants in the presidential race, many pundits have concluded that the barely known politician must have decided to support the quest for the opposition PDP to return to Aso Rock with their finance by purchasing the presidential nomination forms. None of them have bothered to canvass for votes from delegates from any state of the country.

CONCLUSION

The presidential primaries may turn out to be a four-horse race involving Atiku, Wike, Tambuwal and Saraki. With the dynamics of the race altered by the delay in signing the amended Electoral Act – something that strengthens the hands of the governors – all bets may be off if at some point to reach common ground on who to back.