Ahead of next year’s general elections, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has described himself as the most qualified of all the 17 aspirants vying for the 2023 presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He also told the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) that he deserved the right of first refusal, given his experience and competence.
But the NWC replied it would work for all the seventeen aspirants and not him alone, urging the former VP and others in the race to sell themselves to the delegates.
A similar response was given to Rivers state Governor Nyesom Wike who asked the NWC to pay him for his support and role in ensuring their emergence, and also provide level playing field for all aspirants.
And in his response, the PDP national chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, told the governor to settle for either of the two options, saying he cannot have the two all to himself alone.
Apart from Atiku and Wike, the rest presidential aspirants seeking the party’s ticket at the National Convention slated for 28 and 29 May are: former Senate President Bukola Saraki; former Anambra Governor Peter Obi and Sokoto Governor Aminu Tambuwal.
Also included are former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Anyim Pius Anyim; Bauchi state Governor Bala Mohammed and Akwa Ibom state Governor Udom Emmanuel.
Others are renowned industrialist, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa; Mohammed Hayatu-Deen; a United States-based medical doctor, Nwachukwu Anakwenze, Ovation Magazine publisher, Dele Momodu, former Ekiti state Governor Ayo Fayose; Cosmos Ndukwe, Mr Charles Ugwu, Chikwendu Kalu and Tariele Diana Oliver.
Atiku visits NWC
Speaking Thursday during his visit to the National Working Committee (NWC) members of the party in Abuja, the 2019 presidential candidate of the PDP also said with the 11 million votes he garnered in the last election, he deserved the right of first refusal.
“I don’t have to tell you what I am, what qualifications I have, what experience I have, and what I can do for this party, for this country,” he told the party leaders.
The Waziri Adamawa pledged that if elected, he would reunite the country, deal decisively with security issues and revamp the economy.
“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.
“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.
“All 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, giving every contestant the opportunity to face the electorate,” he said.
On the performance of the incumbent administration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led by President Muhammadu Buhari, Atiku said, “every Nigeria knows that the APC has failed but we should not take Nigerians for granted.
“We should go all out to let them know APC has failed, it will continue to fail. No matter what gap they have come or they appear to be, they will continue to fail and PDP has not failed on your comparative analysis. If you compare the achievements of PDP and the failure of APC, you know that you have no other choice than PDP,” he stated.