Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Sule Lamido, former governor of Jigawa State; Ahmed Makarfi, former Kaduna State governor, and Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State would know who would be the 2019 presidential flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Saturday, October 6, the day the party has scheduled for its presidential primaries.
Others to also know their fate are former Minister of Special Duties, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki; former member of the House of Representatives, Datti Baba-Ahmed; former Sokoto State governor, Attahiru Bafarawa; former Kano State governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso; Senate President Bukola Saraki; former Minister of Education, Ibrahim Shekarau; former governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang and the incumbent governor of Gombe State, Ibrahim Dankwambo.
Also in the presidential race is the governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, who was the first to formally declare his interest.
Lamido and Dankwambo picked the party’s presidential nomination and expression of interest forms on Tuesday upon the payment of the sum of N12 million each.
While the expression of interest is sold for N2 million, the nomination form, according to the announcement of the PDP is N10 million, making the total N12 million.
Lamido collected his form at the Wadata House headquarters of the PDP, while Dankwambo, on his part, picked his form at the Legacy House office of the party in Maitama, Abuja.
Also at the PDP national secretariat was a group, the Abia Concerned Citizens (ACC), which obtained the expression of interest and nomination forms for Abia State governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, to seek a second term in office.
The group said it was motivated to purchase the forms for the governor to encourage him to continue his good works beyond 2019.
Leader of the group, Ambassador Bestman Eruba, said the group was impressed with the stewardship of Governor Ikpeazu since he mounted the saddle in 2015, adding that another four years would help take his development strides across the state.
“We are at the headquarters of the PDP to purchase the expression of interest and nomination forms for Governor Ikpeazu who in our estimation has done excellently well.
“We are here to encourage him to continue the good works he started more than three years ago,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kwankwaso confirmed on Tuesday that the Federal Government has sealed the Eagle Square, where he had scheduled to formally declare his presidential ambition.
Expressing disappointment in a statement, the Kwankwaso Campaign Organisation said: “In a letter dated August 27th, 2018, and signed by Usman Mukhtar Raji, for the Facility Manager, and received on August 28th, 2018, barely 24 hours to the scheduled declaration, the Abuja International Conference and Eagle Square, managed by the Integrated Facility Management Services Ltd, has reversed itself in respect of approval granted the organisers of the declaration of Senator Kwankwaso.
“We, at the Kwankwaso Campaign Organisation, see the development as a handiwork of the government in power who will not see anything good in growing our fledgling democracy as no level playing field has been created to allow for viable opposition in the country.
“Even at that, earlier Tuesday morning, the Abuja International Conference and Eagle Square, managed by the Integrated Facility Management Services Ltd, refused us access to inspect the premises, demanding us to present a police permit when actual approval for the use of the Eagle Square had been sought and paid for more than one week to the said declaration.
“The above development will, in no way, dampen our morale to go ahead with the declaration or chicken-out as it will only embolden us to legally pursue our fundamental right to freedom of movement and association.”
Reacting to this development, the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) called on the Nigerian media, the international community, and the general public to stand up against what it described as the latest culture of intimidation and impunity.
It added: “The attempt to block the venue of the declaration billed to hold at Eagle Square shall be resisted as the venue was fully paid and approved for the event.
“The constant attack on key opposition leaders and use of state force against opposition aspirants cannot stop us from serving Buhari his well-deserved electoral defeat come 2019.”
Addressing newsmen, the Spokesman of CUPP, Ikenga Ugochinyere, frowned at the action, adding that the growing culture of impunity and intimidation had gotten to a very dangerous level.
He said: “We want to inform you that a few hours ago, the APC-led Federal Government of President Muhammadu Buhari, working with the police, blocked the venue of the scheduled declaration of Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso for the presidency bid to hold tomorrow.
“Kwankwaso is declaring on the platform of the PDP, which is one of the coalition partners in the CUPP.
“We want to inform Nigerians that this act of growing culture of impunity and intimidation has gotten to a very dangerous level with the decision of the police to seal the venue of somebody who wants to be president.
“The Eagle Square was built for such events and people who want to use it pay for it.
“The venue was paid for and we were just informed a few hours ago after the police told them they could not use the venue because they cannot control the crowd that is going to come.
“And a few hours after the Abuja Integrated Facility Management Limited, managers of the Eagle Square and ICC wrote a backdated letter which they brought this evening, telling them that they cannot use the venue tomorrow, that they have discovered that the event falls on a working today.
“The Eagle Square was not built to host Saturday events. It has capacity to host 26,000 people. They are saying because of civil servants, the man cannot declare tomorrow.
“This is because the IGP who is working for the APC fears that the huge turnout of people that will come to support the aspirant will send a strong signal that is going to shake the political base of the APC.”
He, however, debunked the submission that the venue could not be used on weekdays, adding, “On July 10, 2018, the Buhari Youth Support Organisation organised a rally at the Eagle Square which ended in a fracas.
“On May 29, 2015, which was on Friday, Buhari was sworn in at the Eagle Square as President. On June 13, 2014, APC had its national convention where John Oyegun was elected and Buhari and APC leaders were there. It was a working day.
“On November 19, 2014, which was on Wednesday, APC had their salvation rally that had Buhari, El-Rufai and other chieftains of the APC in attendance. So where are these excuses coming from?
“This is not the first time they are doing this. They stopped him from being received in Kano. They want to stop him because the president is scared of the popularity of the aspirant. This is part of a plot to institute a full-blown dictatorship in Nigeria if the Nigerian people make the mistake of allowing him to be there in 2019.”