According to reports, Some leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are mounting pressure on Former President Goodluck Jonathan to shelve his alleged ambition to contest the 2019 presidential election.
The PDP is set to zone its Presidential ticket to the North irrespective of who, between Sen. Ahmed Makarfi and Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff, wins the PDP leadership contest at the Supreme Court. Sources also indicates that Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, Senate Minority Leader Godswill Akpabio, and some governors are being penciled down as likely presidential running mate.
While many party leaders still have a lot of affection for Jonathan for “keeping faith with his transition programme” and want him to have a fresh shot at the presidency, others strongly believe that it will be difficult to sell his candidature to the majority of Nigerian voters.
A top source in PDP said: “Although we are awaiting the decision of the Supreme Court on the leadership of our party, we have gone far with our homework.
“A realistic option we have faced is the fact that to win in 2019, we have to retain our presidential ticket in the North. The PDP is still solid in the South-East and in the South-South.
“We have however come to appreciate that conceding the ticket to ex-President Jonathan might not work considering ethnic colouration which beclouded the last presidential election.
“The allegations raised against some key actors in Jonathan’s government, including ex-First Lady have made the choice of the ex-President a hard sell.”
“We are however leaving the ticket open to the North. We anticipate that some defectors from APC might add more strength to our search for a candidate that can beat APC to the game.
“We want to try as much as possible to provide alternatives to APC. Of recent, ex-Governor Sule Lamido is the only leader who has come out with his presidential aspiration.
“Even when an attempt was made to enable the Forum of former Ministers to endorse Lamido, it was not accepted.
The source listed the Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, the Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Akpabio, and some governors (whose names were not revealed) as some of those being considered for the VP slot.
“Certainly, the PDP will pick its running mate from either the South-East or the South-South.
“Our search team said it is impossible for the party to look forward to the South-West because of the grip of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the ongoing consolidation in the zone by APC.”