Tambuwal, Saraki, Kwankwaso, Dankwambo set for ‘Plan B’
Twelve notable PDP stalwarts slugged it out for the presidential ticket of the party in Port Harcourt throughout Saturday night until yesterday when the final results were announced with ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar emerging as the flag bearer. The question many are asking is the way forward for the remaining aspirants.
Other presidential aspirants who tried their luck during the contest were governors Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State and Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State; Senate President Bukola Saraki; former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido; former governor of Kaduna State, Ahmed Makarfi; former Minister of Special Duties, Alhaji Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, former Senate President, David Mark; former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso; former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa; former governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang; and founder of Baze University Sen. Datti Baba-Ahmed.
However, while some of the aspirants would simply go back to their businesses as they did when they tried for the presidency or other positions in the past, there were insinuations that others would fall back on the ‘Plan B’ which they worked on long before Saturday.
Sources said part of the agreements reached in Port Harcourt is to give room for those who lost out to vie for other offices if they so wish. “Some of them may likely declare for senate before the Sunday dateline given by INEC and others would still have opportunity during replacement which is allowed in the Electoral Act and party guidelines,” a source said.
Many people thought that the PDP presidential ticket would be a fait accompli for Governor Tambuwal, considering how he somehow dumped what many first term governors do- working hard to get a second term, and moved ahead to vie for the presidency.
But sources said Tambuwal did not also believed in all what he was told by those who convinced him to go for the presidency;
According to them, Mannir Dan-Iya may have emerged consensus governorship candidate of the PDP in Sokoto, amidst mounting whispers that it is only a temporary treaty.
Perhaps that is why not much is being said about a Dan-Iya candidature. Rather, insinuations are rife that he is only safeguarding it for the state governor, Aminu Tambuwal, who is a presidential aspirant so that in the event he did not get the nation’s number one position, he will fall back on the governorship ticket.
Dan-Iya is noted to be Tambuwal’s staunch loyalist, perhaps the most dependable.
“For Tambuwal, a presidential aspirant, to be comfortable with the plan B, that is governorship seat, he needs somebody who is 100 percent loyal, who even after the conduct of the election would step down for another election. I think that was why he picked Dan-Iya,” a source told Daily Trust.
No other PDP member was seen to have bought the governorship form, not even Muktari Shagari who, over the years, had been showing strong interest in the gubernatorial seat and recently cautioned the party against unfair treatment of PDP members who had been in the party.
Though prominent party stalwarts such as Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa and Shagari were not at the meeting at which the consensus candidate emerged, Tambuwal maintained that the party endorsed Dan-Iya after due consultations with them. The endorsement was in line with democratic principles of consensus, the governor stressed.
Many think the issue of governorship ticket may have been part of an agreed plan with other PDP stakeholders before Tambuwal’s defection from APC on August 1st, 2018.
Now that Tambuwal has lost out in the presidential contest, sources said he would go back to Sokoto and work towards a second term mandate as governor, under the PDP.
Hours after the PDP presidential primaries, rumours filtered in Kano that Kwankwaso will now contest for Kano Central Senatorial seat to slug it out with ex-governor Ibrahim Shekarau who recently defected to the APC and picked the ticket.
A source within the Kwankwasiyya movement confirmed to Daily Trust that Senator Kwankwaso would run for the Senate again.
He said, “You know that similar method was adopted by Kwankwaso in the 2015 general elections when his then Commissioner of Works, Alhaji Abba Kabir Yusuf, purchased nomination form but later relinquished the contest for Kwankwaso.
“Information at my disposal revealed that Kwankwaso purchased two forms. One for presidential race and the other for the Senate and now that he has lost at the presidential primary level, he would now go for his plan B which is contesting for senate.”
At present, Alhaji Ali Madakin Gini is the PDP candidate for Kano Central Senatorial zone.
If Kwankwaso decides to contest, sources said Madakin Gini would simply drop out of the contest.
There have been series of insinuations about who picked the PDP Kwara Central senatorial ticket for 2019 on the grounds that the seat remains the exclusive preserve of Senate President Saraki should he decide to run again.
It has become a tradition in the state for another politician to hold the ticket for Saraki each time he showed interest in the presidential seat.
The case, according to Daily Trust findings, is not different this time around considering that a man named Abdulrahman Babatunde Sidiq was announced on Thursday as the candidate for Kwara Central Senatorial district of the PDP.
Sidiq, a retired permanent secretary, is reportedly holding the ticket in trust for Saraki.
Now that the Senate president has lost the PDP presidential ticket to Atiku, there are speculations that he would fall back on the Senate ticket.
Even before he failed to clinch the presidential ticket of the PDP, Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo of Gombe State has already made an arrangement to vie for the Senate in 2019.
Prior to the conduct of the presidential primary election last weekend in Port Harcourt where he polled 111 votes to finish 5th, the governor had already made his Commissioner of Special Duties, Alhaji Mohammed Usman Ribadu, to pick a nomination form for Gombe-North Senatorial District seat.
Daily Trust learnt that Ribadu, who was not known beyond Funakaye LGA where he held sway as chairman several times, had collected the nomination forms silently to avoid generating attention and emerged as winner being a sole contestant that vied for the ticket.
Our correspondent reports that Ribadu and Dankwambo came from the same Gombe-North senatorial zone.
One of the governor’s aides confided in a phone interview that after failing to secure the presidential ticket, Dankwambo will now vie for the Senate seat come 2019.
“As I am speaking with you now, I am on my way to Abuja from Port Harcourt, but I can assure you that Governor Dankwambo’s next plan, of course, is to contest for Gombe-North Senatorial seat,” he said.
Also, Governor Dankwambo had made an arrangement with the gubernatorial candidate of the party in the state, Senator Usman Bayero Nafada, to swap positions in 2019.
According to political observers, it was the arrangement that made the governor to ensure Bayero’s victory at the just concluded PDP governorship primaries despite stiff opposition from both within and outside the party.
Senator Jang who represents Plateau North in the Senate had endorsed his political son, Hon Istifanus Gyang, to take over from him. Gyang who is fondly called ID Gyang was the Permanent Secretary Security under Jang’s government before the former governor encouraged him vie for a House of Representatives seat which he won.
In August when Jang made his intention to vie for the PDP presidential ticket known, Gyang and the former governor’s Chief of Staff, Francis Bot, had earned the senator’s blessings to replace him in the PDP. However, to show how fond of Gyang Jang is, he swooped in at the eleventh hour of last week’s senatorial primaries to convince Bot to step down for him (Gyang) who eventually picked the party’s ticket.
Senator Jang’s media consultant, Clinton Garuba, yesterday, said Jang was not seeking to go back to the Senate but will continue to be actively involved in everything that will make Nigeria great again. “He would do everything to support the party ticket but will remain much focused on agitating for the Middle Belt region,” he said.
However, without the presidential ticket and having forfeited his Senate seat, it is left to be seen what next Sen. Jang will delve into.
Former Senate President David Mark would now resort to playing the elders’ role after losing his bid to get the PDP presidential ticket.
One of his close aides, Dr. Elijah Adakole, told our correspondent in Makurdi, last night that his principal would naturally assume the role of an elder statesman which he is because he is known for his integrity.
“Mark is an elder statesman. He will henceforth play the role of an elder. Mark as you know has already congratulated the winner of the primaries. He will remain a member of the PDP. He will stand by the decision of the delegates,” Adakole said.
Daily Trust reports that contrary to opinions making the rounds that Mark had concluded a back-up arrangement to pick up the senatorial ticket for Benue South district which he had represented at the National Assembly for five consecutive times, the former Senate president, however, did not purchase forms for that position.
At the time of this report, the Benue South Senatorial District primary election was being concluded at the Aper Aku Stadium in Makurdi after three out of the nine local government areas in the zone failed to vote on Thursday following a pandemonium which ensued.