The National Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party, Prince Uche Secondus, and governors elected on the platform of the party met with those that had indicated interest to run for the Presidency in the party in Abuja on Tuesday night, The PUNCH has learnt.
The meeting, according to investigations by our correspondent, was held at the private residence of the Governor of Ekiti State, who is also the Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, Mr Ayodele Fayose.Aspirants who were at the meeting were the President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki; Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, and a former President of the Senate, Senator David Mark.
Also at the meeting were a former Governor of Plateau State, Senator Jona Jang; a former Governor of Kaduna State, Senator Ahmed Makarfi; a former Governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso and Dr Datti Baba-Ahmed.
The remaining four aspirants who were also present were a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar; a former Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido; a former Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, and a former Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Relations, Alhaji Tanimu Turaki (SAN).
The Governor of Gombe State, Ibrahim Dankwambo, was said to be absent from the meeting.
The meeting was said to be at the instance of the governors.
Our correspondent gathered that the governors took the decision to invite the aspirants for discussions at their meeting which was held on Sunday night.
The Tuesday meeting, which was presided over by Fayose, also agreed that Secondus would be in attendance.
Sources at the meeting said that Fayose, who recently announced that he had dropped his presidential ambition because of the alleged robbing of the PDP candidate in the Ekiti State governorship election by the All Progressives Congress, started the discussion.
He was said to have told the aspirants on the need to work together and have a common front ahead of the primary, which had been fixed for October 5 and 6.
He was also said to have implored the aspirants to accept the outcome of the primary in good faith, and that whoever won would be supported by all, including those that lost.
Though it was said that Fayose said that it would have been better if the aspirants could work together and produce a consensus presidential candidate, he was, however, said that the governors would not impose that decision on them.
A source at the meeting said, “It was a family gathering where all those present voiced out their mind on the need to have a credible and acceptable presidential primary.
“Fayose, who with Secondus presided over the meeting, was very calm and told the aspirants that what should be paramount to them all is how to defeat President Muhammadu Buhari and not the individual ambition of the aspirants.”
“He also told them that the party would have preferred a consensus arrangement, but still informed them that such was not binding on them. He said it was the right of anyone who had picked forms to take part in the presidential primary.
“But he begged the aspirants to work together at the end of the primary.”
Secondus, it was gathered, assured the governors and the aspirants that the members of the National Working Committee of the party had no favourite aspirant among the aspirants.
Meanwhile, our correspondent gathered that Lagos billionaire, Mr Femi Otedola had yet to pick the PDP form to run for governorship election in Lagos State.
Investigations carried out by our correspondent showed that only two aspirants had indicated interest to contest the PDP governorship primary in the state.
The aspirants are Mr Deji Doherty and Mr Jimi Agbaje.
Agbaje, a pharmacist, was the PDP candidate in the 2015 governorship election in the state.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, confirmed in an interview with our correspondent that Otedola had yet to pick a form.
“I’m not aware he had picked forms. But we have only two aspirants from Lagos State and he (Otedola ) is not among them, he said.