2019: PDP inaugurates contact committee to lure Saraki, Kwankwaso, others

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The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has inaugurated a contact committee for the purpose of aligning with other political parties ahead of the 2019 general elections.

The committee, which is headed by a former governor of Cross River State, Mr. Liyel Imoke, will also explore the possibility of tinkering with the name and insignia of the PDP.

Some key stakeholders, particularly prominent chieftains of the PDP that defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2014, are said to have insisted on a change of name, as one of the conditions to rejoin the PDP.

Prominent among the APC chieftains being wooed by the leadership of PDP include the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki; former Kano State Governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso; his Sokoto State counterpart, Aliyu Wamakko; and former Gombe State Governor, Danjuma Goje.

Overtures are also being made to woo the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal. Tambuwal had defected from the PDP to the APC at the tail end of his tenure as Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Investigation further revealed that the high-profile politicians are being wooed with tickets for choice offices, including the presidential slot.

But the heavy baggage of corruption trailing the PDP has made it difficult for prospective defectors to cross over from the APC and other political parties.

A prominent chieftain of the PDP confided in our correspondent yesterday that the major task of the committee is to make wide consultations regarding the propriety or otherwise of name change.

The source, who did not want to be named said, “Yes, we are seriously concerned about the issue of name change, as being demanded by some of the intending returnees.

“But I must let you know that not all of them are assisting on name change because they can see through the veil of deception in the APC government’s anti-corruption campaign”.

Our correspondent further gathered that the leadership and key stakeholders in the PDP may have narrowed the search for the party’s presidential flag bearer to only two individuals -a serving governor and a serving senator from the same geopolitical zone.

The two politicians are believed to have enough political clout to challenge President Muhammadu Buhari’s pre-2015 cult-like followership, particularly among the masses in the Northwest geopolitical zone.

While inaugurating the committee yesterday, the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, said the party would do everything within the confines of the law to regain power in 2019.

Secondus said the past three years of President Buhari’s administration had convinced Nigerians of the need for a credible alternative in 2019.

The party chair tasked members of the committee to reach out to Nigerians and groups on the need to forge a common front for what he described as the “political salvation” of the country.

Secondus said: “Just as your name connotes, you are to deploy your well-versed network to help open the space and allow into our party, all those whose union with us can help in rescuing this country.

“Like we always say in this party, this umbrella is big enough to accommodate all people of patriotic ideals”.

Imoke promised to work tirelessly to deliver on the mandate, stating that the situation in the country had become too dangerous for well-meaning Nigerians to fold their hands in resignation.

Other members of the committee include former Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido; his Niger State counterpart, Babangida Aliyu; and former Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswam.

Others a former Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Paul Orhii; former Aviation Minister, Kema Chikwe; and a former National Chairman of the PDP, Bello Haliru Mohammed, among others.

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