• PDP to pick Presidential candidate May 26
• Former VP Atiku seeks collective efforts against nation’s challenges
Barely 24 hours after the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) opened the doors for the sale of nomination forms to aspirants for all positions, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has got his.
The party, at its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held in Abuja on Wednesday evening, announced that it would conduct its national convention to nominate its presidential candidate for the 2023 general elections on May 28 and 29, 2022.
It has also fixed May 21, 2022, for the conduct of its governorship primary elections to pick its governorship candidates.
The party also approved guidelines for the conduct of its primaries for all elective positions, fixing the presidential expression of interest form at N5 million and the nomination form at N35 million.
The venue for the presidential primary election has not been fixed.
The North East Business Forum, led by its chairman, Alhaji Abubakar Dalhatu Funakaye, purchased the expression of interest and nomination form for Atiku.
The forum said it bought the form in fulfilment of the promise it had made to Atiku in November 2021.
It was also learnt yesterday that Atiku would make his formal declaration to contest the 2023 presidential election next Wednesday in Abuja.
In a remark at a brief occasion to receive the expression of interest and nomination forms, Atiku called on all Nigerians to engage in a collective fight against the country’s challenges.
He pointed out that no single individual could solve the nation’s problems.
Atiku also assured that his presidency would not be a friend to ethnic and religious sentiments.
He said: “We have never faced these challenges before. Our unity is threatened; our economy is in its worst state of affairs and our security is a disaster.
“We should all address these challenges together because they require all hands on deck. Nation-building is not an easy job let alone a nation faced with these challenges.”
On the need to stand against ethnic, religious and regional sentiments, the former vice president noted that the country’s challenges are greater than all differences.
Atiku said, “differences of ethnicity and religion is not in my character.”
He said that his Presidency would provide a sense of belonging to all parts of the country when he becomes president.
He also called on Nigerians to be ready to sacrifice, adding, “it is not going to be easy.”
He commended the North East Business Forum for showing the way by making sacrifices from their businesses to purchase the forms. “The sacrifices have already been displayed by this business community in an environment that has become harmful to businesses.”
In a remark, pioneer chairman of DAAR Communication, Raymond Dokpesi, said: “We are fully ready to salvage Nigeria; we are set to confront various challenges.
“We are concerned about security, the welfare of the country, about youths and women too.”
He announced, “We will declare interest to run for the presidency on Wednesday.”
In his own remark, Senator Dino Melaye, said since armed robbers forcefully took Atiku’s mandate in 2019, the people are ready to give him fresh mandate.
MEANWHILE, Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has charged leaders of the PDP to stay united to realise its bid to win the 2023 presidential election.
He said he has begun consultations preparatory to possible declaration for the presidency contest.
Speaking at a consultative meeting with chairmen of the 36 state chapters of the party at the Sokoto State governor’s lodge, Abuja, Tambuwal said PDP is the party to beat in 2023.
He said: “Unity of purpose and understanding and working together for us to actually realise the all-important goal of rescuing Nigeria is very important.
“Consultations are ongoing and we will have to comply with the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) guidelines as a responsible political party. So nothing stops the consultations from continuing.
“Our party stands a chance and it is the party to beat in Nigeria today,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, Hassan Hyat, chairman of the Kaduna State chapter of PDP said Tambuwal, who doubles as chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, convened the meeting to officially inform them of his intent to vie for the office of the President in 2023.
He called on all aspirants to close ranks and urged them not to forget that the Office of the President would only have a single occupant at any given time.
“We are more interested in the unity of the party as our number one cardinal objective because we believe that the party has to come back to rescue Nigeria and we are asking everybody to join forces.
“We cannot have more than one President at a time and therefore, among all others, there must be unity of purpose amongst them like just among all other members of the party. We want to move together and we want to make sure that whoever picks the ticket wins the election.
“So, to us, it is not just an issue of primaries, it is an issue of the secondary election which is more important,” he stated.
On his part, former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa said he is in the “Tambuwal for President” ship because “I know personally he is capable and can do it.”
He urged the party chairmen to take their place in the sun by cultivating a productive friendship that would impact positively them even after elections are over.
“I’m telling you, the man seated with me here (Tambuwal) will never in life abandon you. If I know that he will abandon you, honestly speaking, I will not be with him. So, I know who I am following and I am confident that he will never abandon you,” he said.
PDP’s timetable also showed that primary elections for the nomination of House of Representatives and Senate candidates will hold on May 12 and 14, 2022 respectively just as the congresses to nominate candidates for House of Assembly would hold on May 7, 2022.
According to the timetable, sales of nomination for all offices began yesterday.
Presidential aspirants are expected to submit their completed forms by April 15 while governorship aspirants must submit their own completed forms by April 13.