Delegates to the national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have just commenced voting in an exercise to elect the party’s candidate for the 2019 presidential election.
Before delegates began voting which started simultaneously with Abia and Jigawa states, former President Goodluck Jonathan told the mammoth crowd at the Adokie Amesimaka stadium in Port Harcourt, venue of the event that he was not out for a formal speech but to greet the PDP members and leaders who he said deserve commendation for the steadfastness which helped to bring the party back on the path of progress, adding that even PDP is now the opposition, it now has the positions of Senate President as well as Speaker of the House of Representatives while more governors are now under the party’s umbrella.
According to the former president, Nigeria is now faced with mirage of problems which the PDP is well prepared to face and tackle and therefore asked delegates to choose from any of the delegates all of whom he said are qualified to defeat the government of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 election and as well commended the aspirants for committing to accept the outcome of the exercise.
Speaking earlier, the aspirants who addressed delegates in alphabetical order lamented the sorry state of Nigeria’s economy, issues of security and other socio-political challenges facing the nation and promised to tackle them if they are given the opportunity to fly the party’s ticket and eventually win the general election.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar who spoke first said it was regrettable that the changed the championed four years ago when they worked for the APC turned out to be a disappointment as Nigerians are living in poverty caused by bad management of the economy
while insecurity and injustice are threatening to undermine the unity of the country, asking delegates therefore to choose him as the party’s flag bearer as he was fully prepared to provide better quality leadership to the nation.
Former Sokoto State governor Attahiru Bafarawa urged delegates to vote aspirants of their choice as all the 12 of the are qualified to govern Nigeria.
The Governor of Gombe State Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo urged delegates to remember those who stood by the party after it lost the 2015 presidential election when the government of APC dealt harshly with committed members that refused to leave the party.
He said with his track record of service both in government and outside it, he considers himself the most qualified aspirant to defeat president Muhammadu Buhari next year.
Alhaji Datti Ahmed urged delegates to vote for competence and not with sentiments as the security situation in the country today requires a leadership that would deploy modern technology to rescue the nation while former governor of Plateau State Jonah Jang berated those who abandoned the party in times of need and now want to reap from the sweat of others who stood and took the risk and saved the party from aggression.
Other aspirants that spoke include former Kano state governors Senator Rabiu Musa Kwakwanso, former Jigawa State governor Sule Lamido, former Kaduna State governor Ahmed Maikarfi, former senate President David Mark, incumbent senate president Bukola Saraki, incumbent governor of Sokoto State Aminu Tambuwal and former Minister for Special Duty Kabiru Tanimu Turaki.