2023 election: Atiku, Tambuwal, Saraki lobby for votes of over 166 stakeholders – Nexus News

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal and former Senate President Bukola Saraki are ahead in the fight for the votes of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the National Assembly, according to information gathered.

At stake are 166 PDP stakeholders votes from the two chambers of the federal legislature.

One hundred and twenty-eight of the votes will come from the House of Representatives which Tambuwal led between 2011 and 2015.

From the Senate are 38 votes. Saraki was its President from 2015 to 2019.

And as the various presidential candidates in the PDP step up their game, supporters of Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike yesterday submitted his nomination form at the party’s national secretariat, Abuja.

The party vowed a level playing ground for all candidates in the primaries.

It gathered that both Tambuwal and Saraki are leveraging on their political connection with the National Assembly to increase their chances; the Sokoto State governor in the House of Representatives and Saraki in the Senate.

Sources stated that support for the duo in the legislature is being arranged by their close allies in the two chambers.

Tambuwal is noted to have an edge over Saraki and Atiku on the stance of the higher number of PDP Reps while Saraki is favored by PDP Senators.

A third force, which is led by a high ranking Rep from one of the states in the South-south, is revealed to be Atiku’s arrow head.

The group sources stated that it has succeeded in getting some Reps to move loyalty to Atiku and thereby reducing Tambuwal’s chances.

Going by past voting patterns in the National Assembly, individual and class interests may supersede ethnic and religious considerations when the chips are down.

The trend is presently playing out in the ongoing push for delegate votes among the lawmakers.

Permutations are being dictated by long term projections aiming legislative leadership positions in the next dispensation.

Those leading the mobilizing drive for the presidential candidates are doing so in expectancy of reward for themselves.

Some of them are disclosed to be positioning themselves for strategic elective or appointive offices should their chosen aspirant win the presidency in 2023.

There are 17 candidates in the race for the PDP presidential ticket. Many of them have had interactive sessions with lawmakers in the two chambers in the past few weeks.

A former Senate President, Pius Anyim, was the first to meet with the lawmakers at two different locations in Abuja.

Other candidates that have similarly met with the lawmakers include Governor Wike; his Akwa Ibom State counterpart, Udom Emmanuel; Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed and former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi.

Others are United States based medical doctor, Nwachukwu Anakwenze; industrialist, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa; former investment banker, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen among others.

Atiku Abubakar

The Senate Minority Leader, Eyinnaya Abaribe, and his counterpart in the House of Representatives, Ndudi Elumelu, have been organizing the meetings in their respective private homes.

One of the lawmakers, who affirmed the competitive nature of the push for votes by the presidential aspirants, revealed ongoing moves by the caucus to unite for bloc voting.

He, however, said due to conflicting interests, discussions in that aspect have failed to produce any meaningful results.

The legislator, who did not want to be mentioned, however, did not rule out the possibility of the caucus concluding on a consensus, stating that the issue would be addressed with input from other important stakeholders.

When asked to give conservative figures of members gathered by the various candidates, the lawmaker said consultations were still on.

He said: “Nothing is certain for now, and I can tell you that other aspirants outside the ones we mentioned are also infiltrating our ranks and getting assurances from members.

“As a matter of fact, there could be realignments and shifts in positions as we make progress. Politics is not as static as you see it.

“Don’t be surprised if you see the entire permutations making a 360 turn around even at the voting arena.

“So, for now, you can run with what you have. But, of course, you should know that politics is dynamic and anything can change at any given time.”

MEANWHILE, a delegation of supporters of Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike yesterday submitted his nomination form for the PDP presidential race at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja.

The form was submitted to the National Organising Secretary of the PDP, Umar Bature, by Senator Sulieman Nazif, Wike’s Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, reported.

Speaking on behalf of the representatives, Senator George Sekibo said Wike, if voted as president, would address the protracted insecurity, economic and infrastructural challenges facing the country.

Sekibo, who represents Rivers East Senatorial District, disclosed that since assumption of office in 2015, Wike has been able to redevelop the infrastructural landscape of Rivers State.

He said: “For us from Rivers State, we are proud to say that Governor Nyesom Wike has served diligently, has served very well. And we are sure he will bring that same service and extend it to this country.

“Just as he has eliminated insecurity in Rivers State, insecurity in Nigeria will be eliminated. Just as he has brought infrastructural revolution in Rivers, bad roads will be eliminated in Nigeria.

“We believe that when Nigerians give him (Wike) that opportunity to serve them as president, he is going to replicate what he has done in Rivers State and much more in the entire country. We have our confidence in him.

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“This is a testimony from us from Rivers State that he can serve Nigeria, and we believe most of the woes we are crying about every day, by the grace of God, when Nyesom Wike becomes the president of the country will be drastically reduced and eliminated.”

Also, Senator Lado Danmarke, who was one of those who obtained the form for Wike, stated that they took the decision because the Rivers State governor had competence and capability to reestablish the lost glory of the country.

He said: “And we believe that he (Wike) will make us proud. We believe that he will make Nigeria proud. He has the capacity, he has the competence to restore the lost glory of our dear country.

“That is why we believe in him, that is why we are committed to this rescue mission. We believe he will take us to the promised land.”

Collecting the nomination form, the party’s National Organizing Secretary, Umar Bature, stated that the PDP would give all presidential aspirants a level playing field.

He said: “We wish him (Wike) the very best in this contest and we believe the party will benefit from the process of selecting our presidential candidate.

“And as we said from the beginning, everybody will be given a level playing field to exhibit the potential they have for the country and Nigeria.

“We believe that Governor Wike is one of our candidates that have those qualities to lead Nigeria, and that is why we wish him well. We also thank you for coming to submit this form.”

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