- Former vice president Atiku Abubakar and the ex-minister of special duties, Tanimu Turaki, have intensified their lobbying to get PDP presidential ticket ahead of 2019 elections
- Abubakar was said to have taken the dominance in the southeast, while Turaki was believed to have taken the south-south
- Ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo had on Friday, August 3, said that he would never support Abubakar's candidacy
Two of the leading presidential aspirants on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have reportedly shared the loyalties of principal stakeholders of the party in its major strongholds in the south-south and southeast geo-political zones ahead of 2019 general election.
Vanguard reports that while former vice president Atiku Abubakar seems to have taken the dominance in the southeast, former special duties minister, Tanimu Turaki, has taken the ascendancy in the south-south.
NAIJ.com gathered that the recent entry of Senator Bukola Saraki and Governor Aminu Tambuwal into the party is, however, said to be shaking the fidelity of the party’s leaders in the region towards Turaki.
It was gathered that Atiku’s pre-eminence, was partly helped by the dangle of the vice-presidential ticket to southeast governors and his longstanding political relationships with some prominent Ibo political leaders.
In the Edo/Delta region, political associates of Chief Tony Anenih, including former minister of Works, Mike Onolememen, are working for Turaki.
Loyalty of former Delta state governor, Chief James Ibori, who is a major influence in the party in the region has not been open, but a key associate, Chief Steve Oru, is embedded in the Turaki campaign and is the deputy director-general, south for the Turaki campaign organisation.
According to Vanguard, Turaki’s political ascendancy became a concern for the Atiku campaign after the former rolled out an estimated 150 SUVs for its national campaign.
“The vehicles are to be used for the national campaign since we believe that the ticket is ours,” a reliable source in the Turaki campaign.
The inclination of Senator Ike Ekweremadu towards the two men, Vanguard gathered, is said to be open.
“We don’t know where Ekweremadu is as he is neither here nor there,” a party chieftain said in reference to the deputy president of the Senate who was until Saraki’s emergence, the highest political office holder in the party.
Former Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi (retd), who one source said is a neighbour of Turaki in Birnin Kebbi, is also supporting him while associates of the former National Security Adviser (NSA) General Aliyu Gusau (retd) are also said to be behind Turaki.
The Turaki campaign is also said to be reinforcing its strength among the northern establishment through Col. Habibu Shuaibu (retd), who is the campaign deputy director-general (north).
Shuaibu, who served as military administrator in Niger and Plateau states besides helping to weave ties with political stakeholders in the two states it is alleged is also linking the Turaki campaign with the military establishment. Shuaibu, who was until recently Chief of Staff to Gen.
Ibrahim Babangida has, however, endorsed nearly all the PDP presidential aspirants who have visited him, notably saying last weekend that Senator Ahmed Makarfi’s entry into the race has restored his hope in Nigeria.
In northeast In the northeast, Atiku is besides the comfortable support he has in his Adamawa base also banking on the support of a former minister, Adamu Maina Waziri from Yobe State to project him in the northeast.
Turaki had picked a former steadfast Atiku loyalist, former Governor Boni Haruna as the director general of his campaign organisation, but the impact of that choice is yet to unfold in the state.
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The Atiku campaign is, however, unfazed by what inside sources say as the seeming muscle and financial prowess of the Turaki campaign saying that experience from the three previous presidential campaigns as a reason for caution.
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had previously reported that former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, has on Friday, August 3, reiterated his stand not to support the presidential ambition of Abubakar Atiku who was the vice president during Obasanjo's 8-year-rule as president.
2019 Presidency - 'Why Nigerians Must Vote For Atiku' | - on NAIJ.com TV