– This is coming barely just 24 hours after the he was cleared by the Supreme Court over allegations of impropriety in his declaration of assets form
– The camp of former vice president Atiku Abubakar is said to have been taken aback by Saraki’s sudden interest in the presidential race
– A source said there is tension everywhere as having three R-APC leaders seeking the PDP presidential ticket is like a house divided against itself
There are indications that Senate president Bukola Saraki is warming up to join the race for the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in August.
The Nation reports that sources in his camp said he has been consulting his associates, political strategists, and well-wishers in the last 24 hours.
Hints about his presidential ambition emerged on Saturday, July 7, just 24 hours after the Supreme Court cleared him of allegations of impropriety in his declaration of assets form by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).
Saraki travelled to Port Harcourt, Rivers state on Saturday to commission some projects executed by Governor Nyesom Wike.
The Rivers state governor is said to be the arrowhead of PDP’s plan to stage a comeback next year and he is also said to be the one who sponsored the election of Prince Uche Secondus as the national chairman of the PDP.
However, it could not be ascertained if Saraki’s unfolding game-plan informed his trip to Port Harcourt.
This news is said to have thrown the camps of Governor Aminu Tambuwal, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso and former vice president Atiku Abubakar into confusion.
Governor Tambuwal and Senator Kwankwaso, who are co-drivers of the Reformed-All Progressives Congress(R-APC) are also interested in the PDP presidential ticket and sources said it was their primary reason for wanting to return to the party having found out that they could not wrestle the ticket from President Buhari in the APC.
According to a source knowledgeable about the relationship between Atiku and Saraki, the Senate president’s latest move is an “upset and contrary to the discussion by the two leaders in a country in the Middle East.”
The source said: “What was agreed upon by Saraki, Atiku and other contestants was that whoever secured the presidential ticket would be supported by all.”
The Supreme Court verdict on Saraki is said to have played a big role in changing the permutations in the R-APC and the PDP. Investigation also showed that Friday’s ruling of the Supreme Court which cleared him of any corruption stigma was the ‘joker’ Saraki needed to rescue his political career.
According to report, Saraki has ruled out remaining in APC or backing Buhari for re-election because he feels he will “not be able to have moral and emotional stamina to campaign for Buhari in view of his humiliation at the Code of Conduct Tribunal and the police on Offa robbery.”
However, party sources have said that some PDP leaders are opposed to ceding the party’s presidential slot to defectors from APC.
“We won’t allow them to come back and take over our house. Many of us believe that the R-APC leaders are looking for a refuge camp in PDP and they should not be dictating to us from a position of weakness.
“If we decide not to readmit them into PDP, they will be politically stranded. It will be a disaster handing over our presidential mandate to any of the defecting leaders. We want the ticket for any of our old and consistent members who are in the race like Ahmed Makarfi, Tanimu Turaki, Ibrahim Shekarau, Sule Lamido, and to some extent, Atiku Abubakar.
“These R-APC leaders should know their limit. You don’t run into a house cap-in-hand and seize it from the landlord,” a PDP BoT member told The Nation.
Report has it that ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo has been persuaded to support any consensus candidate picked by PDP and other 30 parties it might form an alliance with.
A member of the NWC said they have begged Obasanjo to forgive and forget in supporting any common candidate agreed upon by PDP and other coalition parties.