The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, in an exclusive interview with Saturday PUNCH on Friday, said the party had heard that many people, including a former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki; Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal; his colleague in Gombe State, Ibrahim Dankwambo; and a former Governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, were interested in picking its presidential ticket.
He, however, said the decision to rely on Nigerians was premised on the party’s determination to avoid past mistakes, impunity and imposition of candidates.
According to Ologbondiyan, the party is not backing any of those in line to get its presidential ticket. Others interested in getting the party’s presidential tickets are a former Minister of Education, Ibrahim Shekarau; former governors of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido and Ibrahim Turaki; and a former Governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa.
“As a party, we have so many candidates already, but Nigerians will determine their next president.“Nigerians are desirous of change; there is no argument about that. And it is more than obvious that the APC is bent on presenting President Muhammadu Buhari for a second term. The party does not have any other alternative. So, Nigerians desiring change can’t get it in the APC. They are looking at the PDP. We don’t want to disappoint them again.“There are so many demands in the country now. Some people are agitating for restructuring, some want a leader with experience, not somebody that will get to power and wait for another six months before appointing ministers, some want young people. All of these factors will come to play in selecting our presidential candidate.“Nigerians will signpost who they believe should lead them. We want to produce a credible candidate. Nigerians will sing the song of the one they want to lead them; the party doesn’t have any candidate yet.”
Since President Muhammadu Buhari declared his intention to seek re-election in 2019, there have been discussions in political circles about who can successfully challenge him at the poll, especially in the opposition parties.“Currently, there are debates over the age of who should be our President, whether the President should be young or old. Therefore, there are so many aggregations of opinions, so what Nigerians say about the kind of candidate they want will inform our choice.“We don’t want the party to be damaged again over allegations of imposition.”
In a bid to challenge the ruling APC, the PDP and no fewer than 30 parties had recently formed a coalition in readiness for the next general elections.
Called the Coalition of United Political Parties, the collaborating parties and associations had signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly present candidates for elective positions.
However, this has not stopped some members of the PDP from signifying interest in getting the main opposition party’s presidential ticket.