By Chinelo Obogo
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) recently released the time-table for the 2019 elections and from every indication, all political parties would have to be through with their primaries by November 2018. Already, the question on lips of most Nigerians is whether the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) should retain control of the presidency, the National Assembly and the 24 states it controls or not.
But if the poor economic outlook, Fulani herdsmen attack, rising unemployment and decaying infrastructure in the country are put into proper perspective, analysts say, they may help in turning the tide against the APC. Incidentally, these issues are some of the things that appear to be emboldening the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) into believing that it could sack the APC by next year.
The PDP had almost been eviscerated after its humiliating loss in 2015; many of its chieftains were allegedly hounded by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), some others swiftly defected to the APC to remain politically relevant and those who were left in the party had to grapple with a leadership crisis that many felt would eventually bury the party for good. But that was not to be. While Nigerians watched as the major opposition party in the country was been torn into shreds as a result of the national leadership tussle, the APC wasn’t faring any better. The struggle for the control of the party structure became major issues in many APC controlled states, and the crisis even at the national level had stalled the conduct of a national convention since the inception of the party. All these, Daily Sun gathered appear to give the PDP the impression that it could make ii.
The Supreme Court eventually settled the leadership crisis in PDP
Following the resolution of the PDP crisis, the party held its convention last December, ushering in a new leadership that has promised to lead the party to victory in 2019. So far there are few names angling for the party’s presidential ticket. Among them are:
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar
Atiku is a household name in the country’s political landscape. He has been politically active in the country since he retired from the Nigeria Customs Service. He contested the 1993 presidential primary on the platform of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) before he was prevailed upon to step down for Chief MKO Abiola who eventually emerged the presidential candidate. Atiku is so deft in political engineering and calculations.
In the build up to the 1999 general elections, Atiku contested and won the governorship of his home state, Adamawa before former President Olusegun Obasanjo chose him as his running mate for the presidential election in the same year. Obasanjo eventually won the election with Atiku as the Vice President. Towards the end of Obasanjo’s first tenure, the relationship between he and Atiku who was in charge of the economy became frosty reportedly because of Atiku’s presidential ambition.
Their relationship got to the level that the two of them were highly suspicious of each other. But credit must be given to Atiku for demonstrating the capacities to create wealth and jobs for Nigerians. Record has it that Atiku has contested for presidential primaries on four different occasions, losing all but one. He would have turned 72 years of age by 2019.
Alhaji Sule Lamido
Alhaji Sule Lamido can be regarded as an old timer in Nigerian politics. He entered politics as a member of the left-of-center People’s Redemption Party (PRP) in the Second Republic. He had gone ahead to become the National Secretary of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) during the third republic. Lamido was severely criticized for his handling of the June 12, 1993 presidential elections won by Moshood Abiola, who was prevented from taking office and eventually died in custody while pushing to reclaim his mandate.
Sule Lamido was appointed as the nation’s Foreign Affairs Minister by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 having contested and narrowly lost Jigawa State governorship election. He later contested and won election as the governor of his home state, Jigawa in 2007. Lamido served two terms as a governor and did his best to transform and reposition the state. He deserves credits as a loyal and consistent party man. He remained in the PDP even in the face of crisis when five governors elected on the platform of the party defected to the then opposition APC in the run up to the 2015 presidential contest.
Lamido has always expressed his desire to rule Nigeria and he is undoubtedly qualified for the exalted office of president. He will be 70 this year.
Alhaji Ahmed Makarfi
Ahmed Makarfi was a two term governor of Kaduna state from 29 May 1999 to 29 May 2007. He was subsequently elected a senator for Kaduna North in April 2007. He ran for reelection on the PDP platform and was reelected in 2011 as senator. Makarfi had earlier served in the Executive Council of Kaduna State as Commissioner of Finance and Economic Planning.
Makarfi had a career with the defunct Nigeria Universal Bank, where he rose to the rank of Assistant General Manager. He had also earlier worked as a part-time Lecturer in the Department of Accounting, Ahmadu Bello University from 1987-1993.
Makarfi is a trained accountant and he is educated to the level of Master of Science degree in Accounting and Finance. He had also served as a member of the Board of Trustee and the Director of Finance and Administration at the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution in Abuja.
He is the immediate past national caretaker Chairman of the PDP. He was appointed at the Port-Harcourt Convention. One of the major political achievements of Ahmed Makarfi was the successful conduct of the elective national convention of the PDP that produced Prince Uche Secondus as the substantive national chairman of the party. Makarfi is 61.
Alhaji Ibrahim Dakwambo
Ibrahim Dankwmbo is the incumbent governor of Gombe State and he is serving his second term in office. He contested in 2011 and won with a landslide; a feat Dakwambo repeated when he re contested as governor in 2015. He was the Accountant General of the Federation during the administration of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. He held the position from 2005 to 2011 before resigning to contest election for the Gombe governorship. Dakwambo had also served as the Accountant General of Gombe State.
He has had illustrious professional career with Coopers & Lybrand, now Price Water House Coopers as a Chartered Accountant from 1985 to 1988; then moved over to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), where he worked from 1988 to 1999.
Dakwambo is reputed to have made his mark while serving as the Accountant General of the Federation. To his credit are several innovative achievements that he recorded during his tenure. He has also been described as the best thing to have happened to Gombe state since its creation in 1996.
Records show that he has transformed the state far beyond the expectations of his people. He has turned around the fortune of Gombe state through his numerous verifiable achievements and giant strides. He has initiated and completed whole lots of projects in spite of lean resources of the state. He devoted attention and deployed huge resources to security of lives and properties, provision of water, housing, rural development and welfare of Gombe State civil servants.
Provision of state of the art communication equipments, sports development, attainment of millennium development goals, beautification and lightening of Gombe State and provision of foreign technical assistance have been the major concern of Dakwambo.
Although he is yet to come out clear to say whether or not he would run, different groups have been calling on him to run. Should he decide to yield to the calls, one major advantage he has over other gladiators in the contest for PDP presidential ticket is the fact that he is a relatively young man. He is 55 years; which makes him the youngest among the contestants.