Several blocs within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), including very influential statutory delegates to the party’s national convention for the election of its presidential candidate, have intensified pressure for the adoption of Akwa Ibom State governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, as the consensus presidential candidate for the 2023 general elections.
This is coming on the heels of last Wednesday’s adoption of consensus by the PDP National Executive Committee (NEC) as one of the options for the selection of its candidate for the 2023 presidential election.
This is also as the Inter-Party Presidential Consensus Forum (IPCF) on Thursday restated its earlier call on PDP governors to adopt Udom Emmanuel as a consensus candidate while other aspirants from the North should, in the interest of national peace, justice, equity and fairness, allow the South to produce the next president, after the eight years tenure of President MuhammaduBuhari.
It was gathered that the lobby for Governor Emmanuel as a consensus presidential candidate was bolstered after the meeting of PDP governors in Abuja last Wednesday with no fewer than seven out of the 13 PDP governors said to be disposed to discussions in Gov Emmanuel’s favour.
A source at the governors’ meeting in Abuja hinted that the seven governors, who are not in the presidential contest, leaned toward Emmanuel, especially given their conviction that the choice of the Akwa Ibom governor will douse the tension that has arisen from the South/North contest for the Presidency as he is said to be amenable to both sides.
While only four out of the 13 PDP governors are contesting the Presidency, no South-East governor from the PDP is in the presidential race.
It would be recalled that the PDP governors are insisting that the party should draw its presidential candidate from its fold; a position that has gained traction due to the high influence the governors exert in the electoral process, particularly the control of delegates to the presidential primary.
Speaking on the development, a top national official of the PDP, who pleaded anonymity, hinted that there might be surprises ahead of the presidential primary, averring that the odds may favour Udom Emmanuel under the consensus arrangement.
He confirmed that there has been pressure on delegates from several blocs within the PDP including very influential stakeholders pushing for the adoption of Governor Udom Emmanuel.
He said: “Yes. I can confirm to you that our party is exploring the consensus arrangement as resolved by the NEC. Stakeholders are talking among themselves. Our governors are meeting and they are taking decisions including their insistence that one of them should be the presidential candidate.
“Several blocs have emerged. There are discussions around Udom Emmanuel whose candidacy they believe will douse the tension that has arisen from the North and South contest for the presidency. You know Udom Emmanuel is amenable to both sides.”
Meanwhile, the national coordinator of IPCF, AbubakarDanladi, reported that the forum’s consultation across the country indicated a widespread preference for Governor Emmanuel.
He said: “We have conducted series of surveys and reviews among Nigerians with Permanent Voter’s Card (PVCs) and the result shows that most Nigerians support for a younger leader as well as power-shift to the southern part of the country, citing national peace, equity, justice and rapid development as major reasons.
“Our surveys showed that more Nigerians preferred the governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, because of his personal composure, proven capacity to ensure national unity and stimulate human capital and infrastructural development in critical sectors.
“The survey also reflected on Governor Emmanuel’s ability to establish and successfully manage highly specialized ventures including the Ibom Air, Ibom Deep Seaport, Ibom Industrial Park/Jetty as well as power, refinery projects, gas processing plants and top-class health facilities which show that with his type of leadership, our nation can indeed achieve success in such critical areas.”
Danladi noted that the IPCF will send a high-powered delegation to the PDP leadership with a detailed report on the acceptability and electoral worth of the party’s presidential aspirants among Nigerians so as to guide the party ahead of the presidential primary.