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The political battle over who picks the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Presidential ticket has begun, following the final return of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, to the opposition party.
It was learnt that since his defection to the party about two weeks ago, political alignments and realignments have been ongoing within the PDP, over the much-awaited 2019 battle.
The then PDP leadership under former Kaduna State Governor, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, had announced shortly after Atiku’s defection, that there was no automatic ticket for the Adamawa-born politician.
He had added that neither would Atiku’s ambition dim the light on the aspiration of other members of the party, who are also believed to be interested in seeking the Presidential ticket.
Interestingly, Makarfi was the first man who came out in the open to say that Atiku posed no threat to any of the Presidential hopefuls on the platform of the PDP.
Although he has not formally signified interest in the race, Post-Nigeria confirmed that Makarfi will run for President in 2019.
Barely 72 hours to the PDP National Convention, there had been reports in some sections of the media, insinuating that Makarfi had interest in seeking to fly the PDP’s flag in 2019.
Makarfi had expressly dismissed the insinuation in the media reports as untrue.
In a statement signed on his behalf by his spokesman, Mukhtar Zubairu Sirajo, the former Kaduna State governor said: “The fact is that the Makarfi was asked what threat the return of Atiku Abubakar to the party portends to the aspirations of others who had either made their intentions known, or those who like him were rumoured to be nursing such ambition.

After the Convention penultimate Saturday, sources close to him confirmed to Post-Nigeria that Makarfi would indeed run, and that he would make the intention known at the appropriate time.
Asked further if Makarfi does not feel threatened by Atiku’s return to the PDP, one of the sources said that there was no way Atiku could stop Makarfi’s ambition.
“He has always believed that power belongs to God. In 2007, when PDP Governors rooted for him, but someone else was chosen, he fell in line like a good party man that he is, and behaved as if nothing happened. He supported the person that was chosen because he believes you cannot get something by force. So, he will go into the contest with the same disposition”, the source added.
On his part former Jigawa State Governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido, who has since notified party stakeholders, and has visited former Nigerian leaders and consulted and is still consulting with prominent Nigerians, including former Defence Minister, General TY Danjuma, said that if Allah says he would be the next President after President Muhammadu Buhari, nothing can change it.
Reacting through one of his Aides, Kyari Jitau, the former Governor noted that from day one, he knew that he would not be the only one seeking the party’s ticket, and was therefore, prepared to compete with anyone.
Elsewhere, former Kano State Governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, said he was battle ready. And like others, he also said the ultimate decision rested with God.
Speaking through his Media Aide, Sule Ya’u Sule, he said: “We are battle ready. We ran in 2003 for the Governorship, we had no money, but we won. We ran in 2007 for a second term, and despite the odds against us, God made it possible. We have run for the Presidency before, and so we are not threatened by Atiku’s return to the PDP. Ultimately, it is the electorate that will decide. We rely on God and not anyone else. We are in the race, there is no going back”, he said.
Long before Atiku defected to PDP, he left no one in doubt that he was prepared to run for Presidency again in 2019.
Atiku had sought to “seize” the structure of the party in the State, to avoid a repeat of what happened to him in 2011 and 2015, at the PDP and APC Presidential primaries respectively.
In 2011, Atiku lost Adamawa State to then President, Goodluck Jonathan, as Murtala Nyako, the then Governor, ensured that all the delegates voted for Jonathan. Again in 2015, Atiku lost Adamawa delegates to his rivals. All these it was further learnt, made Atiku ensure he had control of the party in the State, in order to get their loyalty and votes.

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