Intrigues As Atiku Hunts For V.P That Will Trounce Buhari
Emmanuel Adeniran, Writes From Ado-Ekiti.
With the conclusion of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Convention and the emergence of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the Presidential Candidate of the Party; without wasting much time by the Presidential Candidate and the Leadership Hierarchy of the Party, the search for a well qualified Vice Presidential Candidate in no doubt has begun in earnest ahead of the 2019 General Elections.
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After the PDP National Congress in December 2017; and after much politics and the internal crisis that followed with the election of the National Chairman of the Party, Prince Uche Secondus coming from the South South Zone of the Country, it is the view of some political analysts that the position of the Vice Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) should be left for either the South East or the South West Zone of the Country to fill.
But more importantly, apart from adopting a zoning formular or arrangement as the yardstick and the criteria to use in selecting a Vice Presidential Candidate, it is the opinion of many that the previous voting pattern in the Country, most especially that of the 2015 General Election which is the most recent one should be used to determine who gets the Vice Presidential ticket of the People’s Democratic Party if the party is truly ready to win the 2019 Presidential Election.
In considering the Vice Presidential Candidate for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of the 2019 General Elections; the National Leadership, the Presidential Candidate of the PDP and other major stakeholder’s of the party must consider the margin inbetween the votes scored by each Zone that we have in the Country. Below are the records of the previous votes scored in 2015 by the political parties.
North Central (6 States + FCT)
Buhari – 2,411,013
Jonathan – 1,715,818.
North East (6 States) Boko Haram Zone
Buhari – 2,848,678
Jonathan – 796,588
North West (7 States) Buhari’s zone
Buhari – 7,115,199
Jonathan – 1,339,709
South East (5 States)
Buhari – 198,248
Jonathan – 2,464,906
South South (6 States) Jonathan’s Zone
Buhari – 418,590
Jonathan – 4,714,725
South West (6 States)
Buhari – 2,433,193
Jonathan – 1,821,416
Another factor and question to be considered aside the above is how strong is Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the three zones of the North namely the North Central Zone, North East Zone and the North West Zone where the incumbent President of the Country, Muhammadu Buhari was able to garnered the majority of the votes that gave him an hedge over the former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and win the 2015 Presidential Election without stress. The current political strength of Atiku Abubakar in these three zones of the North Central, North East and the North West of the Country needs to be considered and analysed so as not to live or rely on the assumption that he is accepted and popular and so that the 2019 Presidential Election will not cut the PDP unawares.
As at the moment, all the six states in the Southwest like Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Ondo, Osun and Ekiti States have been taking over by the All Progressive Congress. So, with this development, the chances that the PDP will still retain these Six States of the Southwest Zone as they did in 2015 is unrealistic and uncertain. Instead of the chances of the PDP to look more promising than in 2015, it seems that it is been reduced and been worsened by the day.
If the choice is the South East Zone, there are outstanding candidates such as Senator Ike Ekweremadu, former Governor Peter Obi among others. If Atiku decides to go to the South West, there are ample numbers of candidates for the Vice Presidency. First, it would match APC Vice President, Professor Osinbajo (from Ogun State) and split the votes in the South West. Recent elections in Ekiti and Osun States shows that APC won narrowly or even might have lost.
The possible choices, according to whispers in the political cycles are Alhaji Ladoja of Oyo State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola of Osun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel of Ogun State, Jimi Agbaje of Lagos State, Dr. Segun Mimiko of Ondo State and in the absence of Governor Fayose (Osoko), there is a Professor Adesegun Ojo of Ekiti State.
Starting from Ekiti State, Governor Ayodele Fayose worked against the Turaki, campaigned for Governor Tambuwal and since the primary has been openly talking of decamping from the PDP, and in his usual bombastic self, is not hiding his disdain for the Turaki. That leaves the coast open for Professor Adesegun Ojo, a former Chairman of the Governing Council of Michael Imodu Institute for Labour Studies, who ran for Governor and lost to Fayose in 2003 and had the mandate taken and given to Segun Oni in 2006. A party loyalist who remained in the party since 1999 until earlier in the year. A supporter of Professor Tunde Adeniran for PDP chairman and recently surfaced as a close ally of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Now an ADC chieftain, and was the Chairman of the Interim Ondo State Executive of the party in August and was responsible for putting the structures of the party in place there and in Ekiti State. His cross State appeal in both Ondo and Ekiti is an asset. A technocrat and Professor of Political Science and International Studies, Ojo is squeaky clean and will be a breath of fresh air. As a protégé of the former President Obasanjo, the Turaki can use his candidacy to appeal to the former President and his supporters.
Another ally of President Obasanjo is the former Governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola. He is the Chairman of the CUPP and has the same recognition and an active member of the Obasanjo progressive movement. He was once a candidate for the chairmanship of the PDP and served as its secretary too. There is Jimi Agbaje from Lagos, who is currently the Governorship Candidate of the PDP in the State. And has the best chance ever to win in Lagos, given the problem of the APC with Governor Ambode. He also contested the PDP Chairmanship in December last year.
There is Otunba Gbenga Daniel (OGD), a former Governor of Ogun State and the Director of the Atiku Presidential Campaign. He is the person to beat for the job. OGD is very popular in the South West and has been campaigning for the Turaki for months now. The former Governor Ladoja of Oyo who recently decamped to the ADC will be a formidable choice from Oyo State. While Dr. Olusegun Mimiko of the Zenith labour Party will quickly jettison his Presidential ambition to pick up the Vice Presidential ticket. A two term Governor of the oil rich State of Ondo and a former Federal Minister, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko round up the choices from the South West.
The next few days are critical and the Turaki’s choice will determine the level of his electoral success in the South West and the South East. This is the election of his life and Alhaji Atiku has been waiting for this opportunity.