(By Austen Young)- The PDP Presidential primary is one moment Nigerians are waiting for with baited breathes . That of the APC is a settled case , despite the jokers in the pack. PMB is picking the ticket.
The PDP Presidential aspirants can be divided into two major moral groups : the prodigal aspirants and the loyal aspirants.
Don’t let anyone deceive you , beyond the personalities , and their funds ,the zone they come from could also be a deciding factor in who wins and who receives a wave of the back hand.
Among the major prodigal aspirants you have Atiku, Kwankwaso, Saraki and Tambuwal. While among the loyal party men you have Dakwambo, Sule Lamido , Saminu Turaki, Makarfi , Jonah Jang, David Mark , etc.
As qualified as they may be to aspire to the highest political office in the land , Jang , Mark , Makarfi, Datti Ahmed , should really not consider getting into the fray . Their chances are slim .
The PDP should really make a conscious effort to get all the aspirants have a round table talk leading to gradual withdrawals. In the battle of 2019, it will be the survival of the fittest . Some key determinant factors to victory will include personal drive and vision , outreach , purpose , focus , determination , personal funds , etc .
The PDP must not dance on the present ill will and frailty of the APC – the party still has the capacity to spring surprises .Yes , the APC has run the economy aground ; the inflation is double digit and poverty in the land is humongous . But election most times don’t respect the wishes of the people .
PDP must learn from it’s past blunders . Like the APC , the PDP is a party in a party with too many self serving individuals and complete lack of internal democracy .
Who emerges the No.1 flag bearer of the party will make the difference between success and failure . But the process by which the winner will emerge is crucial . Presently I don’t know why I have this hunch that there are serious submarine moves for the emergence of a candidate that may turn out to be an albatross . The watch word here is , Be careful .
In my rating of the various candidates , at least those I consider serious , I have come to the inescapable conclusion that the race may not be to the swift , neither will the battle be won by the strong . Again , let’s be careful.
This Adamawa Fulani prince has the largest war chest in the pack . He is very experienced , wealthy and tremendous outreach across the country . Atiku is the only presidential aspirant among the lot that is very coherent about his direction , especially on the economy . He has been consistent on the issue of restructuring and true federalism , which is the most burning issue in Nigeria today . I believe that if , he has the opportunity of leading Nigeria , he will address several ills . But beyond his desperation and prostitution , his greatest enemy is timing . Atiku has lost it twice . First he couldn’t secure the presidential and later vice presidential ticket of the SDP in 1993. And this was despite the massive war chest of Gen. Musa Yar’Adua. He lost it again in 2003 , despite his popularity among the PDP governors then . Perhaps if Atiku had refused to be running mate to OBJ in 1999 and rather contended with the governorship ticket he had secured for Adamawa government house , he would have been president in 2007. Atiku does not have the Abraham Lincolnic streak , nor the fortitude of a Buhari who had willing helpers . His is a typical case of a man who ate his tomorrow .
This has been a steadfast party leader . Refusing the kind of intimidation that made Akpabio to buckle . He is very candid and honest personality , he would have made a great president but he lost it in 2014/15. If PDP had fielded Lamido as its flag bearer in 2015 ,the party would still be in power today . That opportunity for Lamido is no longer as promising .
THE BIG FOUR :
Of the big four , Dakwambo is the only one from the North East. He is a sitting governor . In the days when governors where united , Dakwambo would easily have picked the ticket . He has a formidable record of public service and understands the workings of the civil service . He is slow but has the uncanny propensity to reach desired goal . He has remained faithful to the party , though he watched his presidential candidate being walloped in 2015, in his state , which all the presidential candidates now cannot absolve themselves from .
Like Saraki and Tambuwal , he is a prodigal aspirant . As governor of Kano state before he became senator , he ran an inclusive government and brought to an end the usual restiveness associated with Kano state before his advent . If he is president , we can be sure of peace in Nigeria . One advantage of Kwankwaso is that he is a grassroot politician . If any candidate can wallop PMB in Kano and give him a strong fight in the North West , Kwankwaso , is it .
This is the Mafia in the house . If there is any politician that the APC fear more than a snake , that person is Saraki. He is rich , intelligent , smart , young , a fighter , a strong and resilient fox . Saraki is one of the political house hold names in Nigeria today . As president he will bring some vibrancy into the office and will, like Atiku address certain injustices .
Tambuwal is a candidate on the shoulder of giants . He may not have the sagacity of Saraki but he certainly has youth appeal . The caliphate is strongly behind him but his political machinery back in Sokoto state is weak . His people believe his time has not come . But he appears to be the favourite candidate of strong interest groups within the party .
THE DARK HORSE
Saminu Turaki is the one horse in the pack that should not be ignored . The first lawyer from Kebbi state and a senior advocate of Nigeria , Turaki is by far the most credible of all the candidates . If others have reasons to be hounded , it will be minus Turaki .
A critical deciding factor in winning the main election after the primaries ,could be the zone of the candidate . North West where PMB comes from has the highest number of registered voters and the capacity to churn out the votes during elections. Buhari will have a lot of sympathy votes from this home zone . PDP could stand a better chance with a credible candidate from this zone to wrest the votes .Such candidate should be a Strong force in the south West, and well accepted by the other zones .
In conclusion, Myles Munroe said , “When the purpose of a thing is not known abuse becomes inevitable.” If the PDP wants to win in 2019 , it must decide which is more important : a candidate or the party.. If it fails to settle this question , then they should watch PMB coast home . They can as well forget 2023 and 2027. But the coast is clear for 2019 in a strong, purposeful , indivisible house . For the war horse my take is Kwankwaso or Saraki. Be prepared for a lot of placating if you pick Tambuwal .
Recent Lessons From Governor Ambode Of Lagos State
The lines are finally falling in pleasant places as the coast seem clearer on where the pendulum will likely swing for the PDP as it did for the APC in the choice of PMB.
Finally, the issue of venue has been resolved , in favour of the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium ,Port Harcourt . I consider it a very neutral and proper venue for the PDP presidential primaries . Neutral in the sense that there is no presidential aspirant coming from Rivers State or the South South geo political zone. Proper in that Port Harcourt is considered head quarters of the South South and this is the only zone you can boast of 85% PDP presence and loyalty . So why take the primary to a zone where it could be disrupted by aggrieved persons without bating an eyelid?
The argument was that venue could influence the outcome of the primaries . My response is , that’s true , venue can influence the result if the election has been predetermined by interest groups. Whoever argues otherwise is either being dishonest or simplistic . But the truth is , there must always be a venue and whatever is expected to happen in one venue can happen in the other.
So let’s lay all that aside , the election is set . Delegates have started tricking in to Port Harcourt . In the next few hours they will be arriving in droves .
In my earlier analysis I had penned down Dakwambo , Kwankwaso , Saraki and Tambuwal as the big four in the camp . I had zeroed in on Kwankwaso and Saraki with a proviso for Tambuwal . I had also mentioned that the zone the candidate will emerge from could prove a deciding factor in the fortunes of the party come 2019. Let me now hold strong to this and eliminate Dakwambo, the governor of Gombe state and only presidential candidate from the North East that made my last big four .
Now we are left with ;
Please note that the names are taken in alphabetical order and not in order of preference ..
I have not changed my opinion on the three :
KWANKWASO, remains the hottest contender to Buhari . He is from Kano where Buhari expects his highest votes . He was one time governor of the state and present senator . He is a grassroots man . Any day any time , he will wallop PMB in Kano and in many parts of the north west like Jigawa , Sokoto, with a strong showing in Kebbi and Zamfara.
SARAKI remains the hottest sensation in the pack . A man much dreaded by the APC . I have always believed that if Saraki emerged the standard bearer of the PDP , he could win the election using the trump card of the APC against them .
TAMBUWAL I have said earlier appears to be the preferred candidate of an interest bloc in the PDP. He lacks the sagacity of Saraki and does not have the incredible political wit and following of a Nyesom Wike , but as I said earlier , the battle will not be won by the strongest, nor will the race be won by the swiftest . According to Harry Longfellow , “Those who stand on the shoulder of giants , see farther than other men .” Tambuwal has the advantage of standing on the shoulder of giants within the PDP .
We can still not ignore a critical factor I mentioned earlier : the zone of the candidate . It is at this juncture I will regrettably drop Saraki, the mafia from Kwara state in north central Nigeria . Nigeria is still largely analogue and driven by sentiments where the core north regard Saraki as Yoruba. This leaves the battle ground for Kwankwaso and Tambuwal , both from the north west .
Whether you like it or not , PDP states will necessarily decide for non PDP States in this lost and won battle for the presidential flag bearer. With the fall of Ondo and Ekiti , PDP has been “wiped off” the South West. There is no PDP government in the North West , unfortunately, the zone that will be given the pie . North Central that was formerly pro PDP buvkled to APC in 2015. Only Gombe and Taraba have PDP governments in the North East.
Abia, Ebonyi and Enugu States in the South East are PDP, likewise Akwa Ibom , Bayelsa , Cross River , Delta and Rivers States in the South South, venue of the primaries .
Akwa Ibom , Bayelsa , Cross River Delta and Rivers States will vote enbloc for one of the two aspirants above . I expect their kith and kin in Edo state to join them . Abia ,Ebonyi and Enugu may follow their brothers from the South South , they are equal sufferers in the Nigerian project . That leaves Gombe and Taraba for Dakwambo in the North East. But in politics where it is important to identify with the majority at critical moments , only few principled delegates from those states will stick it with Dakwambo , especially Gombe delegates.
The second denominator here will be money . All the aspirants are free to shop from the basket of non PDP delegates but at this critical point , delegates will swing between the highest bidder and majority pool or both .
Between Kwankwanso And Tambuwal:
Between these two aspirants , Kwankwaso is a strong force. Tambuwal has youth appeal. The world over , leadership is favouring generational shift. If PDP offers this to Nigerians ,will the youths be too blinded to see the import of the message ?
For keen political pundits there is a hide and seek game going on between the two major political parties APC and PDP. Each is looking forward to pouching from the mistake or misfortune of the other . The only remedy to the waiting implosion in both parties will be for PDP , the Ambode resolve . A brilliant and high performing governor with clear calls for a second tenure , yet ditched by the powers that be within his party in the same state he has received glowing accolades for performance . Ambode threw in the towel, conceded defeat to his opponent who he had ealier accused of being unfit for the office of governor and promised to deploy everything in his arsenal for the success of the party and candidate. If all the PDP aspirants will take this stance and pour in their soul, spirit and body into the general elections, then can they think of giving APC a good fight.