Presidential ticket: Atiku demands right of first refusal from PDP

By Tunde Joshua

…Says ‘I already have 11m votes in my kitty’

A major presidential aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has demanded from the party a right of first refusal as its presidential candidate in the 2023 general election.

He told that party that he already has 11 million votes scored in the 2019 election as PDP presidential candidate in his kitty, which should give him an edge over other aspirants on the platform of the party.

The former Vice President of Nigeria was at the PDP national secretariat on Thursday to brief members of the National Working Committee (NWC) on his ambition to contest the party’s presidential primary on May 28 and 29.

Having informed the party leadership of his intention to run and his capability to return the country to the path of peace unity and economic prosperity, the party should have given him the ticket as the most qualified but PDP as a democratic party has to follow due diligence and democratic process in choosing its candidate.

Atiku said “and I dare say Mr Chairman, I am the best candidate. Under normal circumstances Mr Chairman, this is a guy who has already 11 million votes in his kitty. And I think, as a party, you should give me the right of first refusal but we are in a democracy.”

He, however, demanded a level playing ground for all aspirants so that outcome of the process will be acceptable to all party members.

“What I can urge you is to make sure that the way you have started, you also conclude the way you have started by being very fair, very credible, allowing every contestant to face the electorate,” Atiku said.

Addressing the NWC, Atiku said his presidency will emphasize five key issues that are germane, one of which is to reunite this country,The Trumpet gathered.

Secondly, he said he was going to deal decisively with security issues because there has to be rule of law, there has to be security.

He also promised to deal with the economy. He said “of course, after you have achieved unity after you have achieved peace, the next is to deal with the economy.

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“When we came into office in 1999, we virtually met a similar situation like we have today. Nigeria was indebted. We have no foreign reserves; the economy was in shambles. Mr Chairman and very many of you here who are in doubt may know that by the time we left, we left Nigeria in the healthiest economic position. We have done it before, Mr Chairman, we can do it again.

“Of course, I also said in my declaration speech, I was also going to deal with the issue of devolving more powers and resources to the states because I believe that is the best way to get Nigeria developed to its fullest capacity by giving autonomy and resources to the various components.

“There are some of us who grew up in the First Republic when we had regions that were virtually in charge of everything in their respective regions, ranging from security to economy to everything, and we saw how we fed and we believe this is the best way to make sure that this country is developed to its fullest potentials.

“Mr Chairman and members of the National Working Committee, I’m really not here to lecture you, I’m just really here to inform you of my decision, to run again, and also to urge you to provide the right kind of leadership so that the best candidate can emerge.”

The aspirant commended the Ayu-led NWC for the “excellent leadership you have so far given to this party by giving this party this excellent relationship. It means that this country should also expect an excellent leadership from the People’s Democratic Party.”

Meanwhile, the national chairman while promising a fair and equitable primary for the presidential race and other positions, urged those described as outsiders to the party decided not to usurp the selection role of the party.

Apparently referring to the controversial selection of northern consensus candidates, Ayu asked the so-called northern elders not to select presidential candidates for PDP, adding that the party’s candidate will emerge through internal democratic mechanism.

He said “don’t select candidate for PDP. They don’t have our mandate, young or elder, they should not choose a candidate for us.

“By our own internal mechanism, we will produce a candidate which we will present to Nigerians and who will win the presidential election next year”.

Ayu said PDP never had a controversial convention but a successful one, while promising to improve and consolidate on the 2018 presidential primary in Port -Harcourt

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