2019: Atiku Begins Search For Running Mate

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar on Sunday at the main bowl of Adokie Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, won the presidential primary of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Hardly did Atiku emerge as the winner than the talk of his running mate started.

Investigations by our correspondents showed that the search might have been limited to the South-East region of the country.

However, in the election, Atiku polled 1,532 votes out of total of 3,221 votes, representing almost 50 per cent of the entire delegates’ votes.

His closest rival, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State scored 693 votes, while the President of the Senate, Olusola Saraki, came third with 317 votes.

A former Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso, scored 158 votes; a former Governor of Jigawa, Sule Lamido, polled 96 votes, while a former Minister of Special Duties and Inter Governmental Relations, Alhaji Kabiru Turaki (SAN) scored 65 votes.

A former National Caretaker Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Ahmed Makarfi, polled 74 votes; a former Governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa, scored 48 votes; a former President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, polled 35 votes; a former Plateau State governor, Jonah Jang, scored 19  votes, while Dr Datti Ahmed scored five votes.

But hardly did Atiku emerge as the winner than the talk of his running mate started.

Investigations showed that the search may have been limited to the South-East region of the country.

However, some states in the five states that made up the zone might have reportedly been disqualified.

For instance, Anambra, where Senator Ben Obi who was a former running mate to Atiku hailed from, was said to have been disqualified.

The reason, according to authoritative sources, was because the state had produced two former speakers, two former presidents of the Senate, one vice president and a President.

Also, Enugu State which is a PDP-controlled state, was said to have produced a former national chairman of the PDP.

It was also reportedly argued that the state had produced the deputy president of the Senate for the past seven and half years.

For Imo State, the argument for its non-consideration was that it had produced a former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives and had also produced a president of the Senate.

The race, according to sources close to the party,  is between Abia and Ebonyi states.

South-West not foreclosed

However, another source said the search for a suitable running mate had not been completely taken out of the South-West.

He added that the party would not impose any candidate on Atiku, saying that the PDP would only serve as a guide, by “putting into consideration all political variables that would enable us win in 2019.”

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