Two northern candidates have declared their intention to contest the presidential seat under the platform of PDP CHIBUZO UKAIBE xrays their political sojourn so far
After months to speculation, northern aspirants seeking to contest the presidential seat under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are beginning to come forward.
Former governors of Jigawa and Kano States, Sule Lamido and Ibrahim Shekarau, have formally made their ambitions known to the party.
Although, they simple wrote letters separately to the party members seeking to sound them out on their ambitions, their desire to contest have been issue of speculation.
While that of Lamido had manifested shortly after the 2015 general election which the PDP lost, Shekarau, who had contested the 2011 presidential election, had never hidden his ambition to give a second try.
Despite the zoning of the presidency of the party’s ticket to the North, governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti state in South-west had declared interest in the position noting the apathy (to declare) of prospective Northern candidates as one of the reasons for throwing his hat into the ring.
Lamido, in a letter dated October 22, 2017, decried what he called the departure of the country from the dreams of its founding fathers.
He said the PDP must rekindle in Nigeria a new hope, a nation of united people with a common and assured destiny.
Lamido challenged the party to create an open environment in which every Nigerian must not only been seen to be, but must be an equal stakeholder.
The former governor pointed out that the party is not only desiring of taking over power in 2019, but, “the PDP will and must lead that change and lead the nation into bright, progressive, productive and innovative future.
He said “Today, 57 years after the independence of our dear country, can we in all sincerity claim to have achieved the dream of our founding fathers? Where did we fail and from where did we begin to fail? Nigeria with its natural endowment and human capacity cannot be forgiven for being otherwise. We cannot even demonstrate our ability and capacity to meet domestic, regional and global challenges which currently seems to overwhelm us.”
“The PDP will and must lead the nation back into a bright, progressive, and innovative future,” Lamido’s letter reads.
He continued “To the world, Nigeria must demonstrate our confidence, tenacity in our ability and capability to address our domestic regional and global challenges that confront us.
It is against this background that I offer myself to vie for the office of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2019 if my party finds me worthy to fly its flag.” The letter reads.
Lamido noted that the PDP have enough talents to salvage the nations from its current woes.
“I am no means claiming to be the only capable material, any PDP member given the trust and support can fly our flag, and I expect many more aspirants will express the desire to run. My hope and prayer is that at the end of all the process which I hope will be open, fair transparent and credible is to give Nigeria in 2019 candidate who will lead the party and Nigeria. This is because there is no alternative to PDP in 2019, it will be a defining moment in the Nigerian political evolution,” Lamido said in the letter.
He said: “While the clamour for restructuring rages, the most important aspects of addressing the Nigerian economy by creating prosperity will make the debate less emotional and sentimental.
“Our imperfect union as a federation should not be an excuse for our legendary failure which appears to have found vent in the call for restructuring, a union of multi-ethnic multi-lingual and multi-religious can certainly task the best of human capacities, but that is precisely the challenge and how to work on it and build a nation of people of a common destiny, and this is where the PDP must rise to the challenge.
“The starting point is where the PDP began in 1998 and critical to it is creating an open environment in which every Nigerian must not only been seen to be, but must be an equal stakeholder and therefore restoring trust and faith in our shared union and this PDP was able to achieve in its first four years,” Lamido said.
At a time the party was still nursing its wounds in the North, Lamido it was that staged the first mega post-2015 PDP rallying which packed a crowd. That gathering that signposted long held speculations that he was eyeing the top seat under the party’s ticket.
As one of the founding fathers of the PDP, the former governor has remained relevant at critical times of the party, managing to be dispassionate in his interventions in the affairs of the party.
Having a long and robust political history which goes back to the second republic, Lamido was a member of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP). He became National Secretary of the Social Democratic Party during the Nigerian Third Republic. He was an integral part of the struggle for return to democracy in 1999 as one of those detained by the late Gen Sani Abacha regime.
He has since served as minister of foreign affairs and later governor. He had played an influential part in the formation of the new PDP group which protested against the handing of affairs in the party during the era of President Goodluck Jonathan. Although other governors in the protest group eventually defected to the APC, Lamido, alongside former governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu, had stayed back.
In the build up to the PDP primaries in 2014, the former Jigawa State governor was highly speculated as replacement for them Vice President, Arch Namadi Sambo. But the replacement, which was meant to appease some interests in the party at the time, didn’t follow through.
However barely months after he left office, Lamido and his sons were arrested and later charged to court for corruption during his tenure as governor. Despite his trial, he has insisted on running for office of president in 2019.
However, barely days after his declaration, his campaign rally was reportedly attacked by thugs, after the PDP presidential hopeful delivered a blistering speech against the Buhari administration.
The thugs allegedly invaded the event brandishing various weapons and injuring Lamido’s supporters who had gathered to hear the former governor speak. Nevertheless, Lamido is notable for being a grassroots politician across the North.
In his own letter which he was said to have personally signed, Shekarau, a former Minister of Education indicated interest to run for the presidency in 2019 on the platform of PDP.
His spokesperson, Sule Ya’u Sule, said Shekarau, who is also a former Governor of Kano State, sent a notification letter to the PDP of his intention to run.
The party’s spokesperson, Dayo Adeyeye, in a text message yesterday morning, confirmed that the party received Shekarau’s letter of interest.
Sule, according to News Rangers, said Shekarau has communicated his political ambition to various elders, community leaders, opinion leaders, political associates and religious leaders regardless of their ethnic and party affiliations
“Shekarau deliberately refused to make his ambition public because he does not want the relevant stakeholders to read it for the first time on the pages of newspapers. He first notified them before making it public. He is now making necessary consultations,” he said.
In a letter which he was said to have personally signed and sent to one of his political associates, Hassan Indabawa, dated August 22, 2017, Shekarau said after the 2015 general election, there had been requests by individuals and groups from different quarters urging him to contest for the presidency in 2019.
Quite unlike, Lamido, Shekaru’s ambition post 2015 wasn’t very pronounced. He had maintained a rather low profile, much like his personality. After he was schemed out of the APC, having helped to form the new party, he had become one of the leaders of PDP in Kano State.
His political sagacity was proven after he was able to unseat an incumbent governor, Sen Musa Kwankwaso and served out his constitutional two terms in office.
The former governor, born November 5, 1955, was employed as secretary to prominent businessman Aminu Dantata before he became a contender in Kano State’s 2003 gubernatorial elections. Before politics he was Chief Lecturer and career civil Servant.
He had performed very well during the 2011 presidential debate as candidate of the defunct ANPP, where he gained appeal for his robust understanding of issues. Before then he was perceived as non cosmopolitan in his politics.
Now that both aspirants have declared, analysts aver that it might prompt other speculated aspirants to come forward.
Other aspirants speculated to be interested in the ticket under PDP are former Sokoto State Governor Attahiru Bafarawa; Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo; Sen Ahmed Makarfi.
There are however speculations that new members are expected to join the party, which might alter the equation somewhat.
However, the chances of these hopefuls are dependent on the success of the outcome of the national convention of the party on December 9 this year.