Ahead of the 2015 presidential race, the Peoples Democratic Party has started weighing the options before it should the party field President Goodluck Jonathan, rumoured to be nursing a second term ambition despite his denial, or any other person.
It was gathered that the assessment is informed by the need to present a candidate who will not only be generally acceptable to party members nationwide, but whose candidacy would not trigger an intra-party crisis that could cost the party the presidential election.
Party sources said PDP cannot afford to leave the presidential race to chance in 2015, given moves by the opposition, led by the Action Congress of Nigeria, Congress for Progressive Change and the All Nigeria Peoples Party, to rally opposition parties to team up to present a common candidate to face the PDP standard bearer.
The party, therefore, has started to evaluate the pros and cons of a Jonathan candidacy, should he decide to contest again.
According to a party source, “The consideration of the odds, obstacles, pitfalls and strengths of a possible Jonathan candidacy will make the party adopt strategies that would beef up his image and chances in places where the acceptance of his candidacy might be considered weak.
It will then execute measures to improve his acceptability in places where his support base is weak.
“What the party is doing is to weigh the odds as well as his chances zone-by-zone, the positions of the governors of the party and their possible political inclinations by the 2015 presidential primary election.”
Giving an interim zone-by-zone assessment of the situation, the source said, “In the south-south, the political scenario playing itself out is that there is the possibility of the chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, contesting the presidential election as a running mate to either former Vice President Atiku Abubakar or any other person from the north.
We have seen the signs and the party is watching the emerging game.”
He said the party was uncertain of the political future of Akwa Ibom State governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, despite his promise to quit politics after his tenure.
“It is not known whether his utterances that he plans to quit partisan politics could be taken seriously or not, but only time will tell. So the zone – south-south – could be said to be neither here nor there, but his home state is solidly behind him,” he added.
The party is said not to be too bothered about the south-west, which is controlled by the ACN as the source said, “It is completely ruled out as a source of strength, at least for now.”
It was gathered that the likely position on a Jonathan candidacy in 2015 in the south-east was unclear because of the threat by the Igbo to contest the 2015 presidential election. However, it is not clear which of the four PDP governors from the zone would be able to rally support for Jonathan since all of them are completing their eight-year terms in office by 2015.
The party’s major worry, however, is the core north where some of the governors, particularly from the north-west, are suspected to have an eye on the presidency.
At the last meeting of the Northern State Governors’ Forum in Kaduna, the chairman and Niger State governor, Dr. Babangida Mu’azu Aliyu, had said northern governors would strive to reclaim the presidency for the zone in the next election. …