Ismail Omipidan and Chinelo Obogo
Two frontline contenders for the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar and former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido have disagreed over who should step down for the other.
Abubakar and Lamido are among top contenders for the party’s presidential ticket. Others include the incumbent Senate President, Bukola Saraki, former Senate President, David Mark, Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, former governors of Kano, Kaduna and Plateau, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Ahmed Makarfi and Jonah Jang among others.
Abubakar said yesterday during his meeting with party leaders at the PDP headquarters in Dutse, Jigawa State that he is older than Lamido in age and therefore believes that as the party’s presidential primary which is slated for October approaches, the latter would step down for him to emerge candidate.
The former vice president said he is certain that Lamido will concede the ticket to him because he (Lamido) is his younger brother and shares the same political ideology with him. He also told the gathering that his mother is from Jigawar Sarki, a village in Dutse Local Government Area of Jigawa State before her family migrated to Adamawa State where he was born and said he considers Lamido a younger brother.
He made reference to the scenario in the aborted Third Republic when the Yar’Adua brothers initially sought the tickets of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP). The late Shehu, who was the elder, was running for president while the late Umar sought the ticket of the same party for governorship of Katsina State. Atiku said that the late Musa was prevailed upon to sacrifice his ambition so he won’t jeopardise the chances of his elder brother.
Abubakar said: “Shehu and Musa were vying for tickets in the SDP, but with the intervention of elders in the state, the junior brother, Umar Musa stepped down for another aspirant so that the politics will not be a family affair, leaving Shehu Musa to contest for president while someone from another family vied for governor.”
Reacting to his statement, Lamido told Daily Sun yesterday that the former Vice President should be the one to give way, since he was senior to Atiku politically.
“I agree with Atiku, we are brothers, we are both Fulani, he is older than me in age, no doubt. But we are not talking family matters here, we are talking politics. And since we are talking politics and I am his senior politically, going by his own recommendation of the younger one stepping down for the older one, he should be the one to step down for me.
“I have been around since 1978; I was his senior even in (Social Democratic Party) SDP. So politically speaking, I am senior to him. Buhari is senior to me in age, but I am challenging him. Is Buhari not senior to Atiku too? Why is Atiku running against him?
“Recall the meeting I had with state chairmen of the party in 2017. I told them I knew others would also join in the race, but I also urged the stakeholders to ensure that they choose the best for the party and for the country.
“And at the risk of sounding immodest, historically, I started politics before all of them. I believe God has endowed me with the political capacity and sagacity to turn the tide against the APC if given the opportunity by my party. So we leave everything to God and to the party. Only God gives power,” Lamido said.