Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar may emerge as the candidate of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2023 presidential election.
It was gathered that the PDP is planning to repeat the 2019 formula, which it used to contest against President Muhammadu Buhari – an election they believe Buhari did not win but muscled Atiku out with the power of incumbency.
Top party sources have told The Telegraph that the PDP believed that an Atiku candidacy would be able to beat any other candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), which may zone its ticket to the south.
It was learnt that the PDP is still divided on the zoning of the presidency because of a battle between Atiku and the South-East Caucus of the party, who are strongly arguing that it is their turn to take a shot at the presidency.
It was further learnt that should the Atiku option fail to fly because of age and other factors, the party might settle for a former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, as the second option.
Sources have revealed that Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State may still hold a strong interest in running for the president with the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, as his possible running mate.
It was learnt that most governors of the party believe that an Atiku candidacy would be strong enough to battle the APC, which may settle for a candidate from the South, going by sentiments within the party.
Atiku is however expected to retain his running mate in 2019, Peter Obi, again, although some forces within the party are rooting for a former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.
A party chieftain said, “A lot of governors in the PDP have made up their minds that it is either Atiku or nothing. So, definitely, PDP’s ticket is not coming to the South. It is not. Some forces within the party want to use former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, to push out Peter Obi. Others said it can’t work. Ekweremadu is overambitious.
“He wants to be governor too in Enugu State, even as he is also chasing the Vice Presidential ticket. The powers in PDP are telling him to go for governorship.
“The major problem is that the South-East Caucus is pushing that Atiku should do one term. If he does one term, Peter Obi will come in.”