by Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja
The emergence of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur as the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party on Saturday at its national convention may negatively affect the 2015 presidential ambition of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar.
Both Tukur and Atiku are from south senatorial district of Adamawa State.
THE PUNCH learnt that one of the antics of anti-Atiku group within the PDP was to ensure that Tukur emerged as chairman, conscious of the fact that both men were from same state.
An influential PDP member explained on Sunday that in political calculation during election, “it will be difficult for a national chairman and a presidential candidate to come from the same state.”
A presidency source said, “Though the President has not come openly to say whether he will run for a second term or not, his strategists believe that the best option is to neutralise Atiku from the word go.
“For now, the former vice-president is the main person from the North who can pose a threat to the second term of the president.”
Apparently, Tukur was the President’s candidate in the PDP chairmanship race and he ensured that he emerged as chairman in the just concluded convention.
While the campaign was on, Tukur had screamed that Atiku’s ambition for the 2015 presidential election was responsible for the gang-up against him by some notable politicians in the North-East.
Tukur had described Atiku as “a desperate politician with a threatened ambition.”
He spoke in reaction to his rejection by the North-East PDP at Wednesday’s zonal congress, where he polled just two delegate votes as against 14 votes, which the out-gone National Secretary of the party, Dr. Musa Babayo had secured.
Mr. Ikenga Ugochinyere, a PDP member from Imo State, had sued Tukur, the PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission, seeking the disqualification of Tukur on the grounds that he was expelled from the party in 2001, along with five others as members of Board of Trustees.
Ugochinyere added that since then, Tukur had not been officially re-admitted into the part.
However, the former vice-president has said Tukur’s emergence will not be an obstacle to his ambition.
He said the PDP constitution was clear on the zoning of elective offices within the party, adding that this was also echoed by Jonathan when he wanted to contest the presidential primaries of the party in 2010.
Abubakar, who spoke through his spokesperson, Mallam Garba Shehu, said, “We don’t entertain any fears about that at all.
“The PDP constitution is very clear about the zoning of elective offices in the party. Whenever a presidential candidate emerges, the party has a way of moving the office of the chairman to another region or zone that is different from that of the presidential candidate.”
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