Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, has disclosed that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; Governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed; and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, have indicated interest to contest for president in the 2023 general elections.
Makinde said they are among the “eminently qualified” personalities in the Peoples Democratic Party that can lead the country successfully.
The governor made this known while featuring on Politics Today, a current affairs programme on Channels Television, which our correspondent monitored from Abuja on Thursday.
Makinde said, “I make bold to say that the situation in this country today, the only way that you can stop PDP at the federal level is by dividing PDP internally. All the governors of the PDP are well aware of this fact and we made unity within ourselves our number one priority. Once the governors of PDP are able to move in one direction, align on most of the issues and the challenges we are faced with, I think there is hope for this country.
“The issue right now is that our party — PDP — has eminently qualified personalities that can lead this country successfully. Some have indicated interest, like former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, like Governor Tambuwal, like Governor Bala Mohammed. They have indicated interest. But the bottom line is when we get to that bridge, we will definitely cross it. What is important at this stage, which I will solicit the support of PDP members and the generality of Nigerians, is please support us to have a successful national convention
“There is no way you can become anything — president, vice-president, even governor — if we don’t have a party. What we want to do first is ensure that we get things right within our party.”
Nigerians to determine PDP’s victory
On the possibility of the PDP took over power from the All Progressives Congress in 2023, the governor said, “Well, it is a question that I know Nigerians will answer and they will answer decisively.”
PDP not mounting pressure on Secondus
Makinde also denied that members of the PDP Governors’ Forum are mounting pressure on the outgoing National Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus, to withdraw his case against the party from the court.
He also denied having presidential or vice-presidential ambition in the 2023 general elections.
This is just as the governor stated that members of the PDP who have failed to deploy the internal dispute resolution mechanism of the party before dragging it before courts, especially towards frustrating the forthcoming national convention, should not be allowed to benefit from the party.
Responding to a question on the likely effect of the case instituted by Secondus on the forthcoming national convention of the PDP, Makinde said, “This is a democratic party. We believe in the judiciary. By all means, he can go ahead with his case. But we have mechanisms internally for the party to resolve issues within ourselves and I still believe that that mechanism is still there.”
When asked to confirm the report that PDP governors were pressurising Secondus to stop the legal action, he said, “We cannot put pressure on him. These are adults; these are leaders in their own rights. When you are leading a state, it does not happen just like that. No. You must have gone through a process. You must have been scrutinised by people of your state before you are deemed fit to occupy the status or position of a state governor.”
On the allegation that Secondus was unfairly treated, Makinde said, “This is somebody that, at the inception of this Fourth Republic, he was the chairman of the party in Rivers State. Then, he moved from Rivers to the national (leadership). He was the National Organising Secretary of the party. He was Deputy National Chairman. He was Acting Chairman and he was the National Chairman. I would think that he has benefitted so much from the party and the least we expected from him was to really give back to the party and be a stabiliser for the party.”
The governor said if he was in Secondus’ shoes, “I would listen to the voice of reasoning.”
Secondus is challenging his removal as National Chairman of the PDP in court.