A recent analysis of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP survey of delegates to the party’s convention has favoured Senator Bala Mohammed as the likely candidate of the party.
Team of experts comprising academics and poll technologists under the Electoral Polls Institute initially conducted an online media poll across more than 800 PDP adhoc delegates for the purpose of finding out the likely candidate the party will produce, with the result clearly suggesting top five contenders. This was when the slate of delegates numbered over 3000. But with the reception recalibration of the delegates threshold as a result of the provisions in the 2022 electoral act the team narrowed its focus to the over 800 delegates that will most likely choose the party’s flag- bearer.
Some of the criteria used by the organisers of the polls include the general acceptability, political credentials, party loyalty, zoning preferences, international exposure, community impartation amongst others.
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Among the 15 aspirants that featured prominently in the survey include Bauchi State governor Bala Mohammed, Sokoto state governor Aminu Tambuwal, Rivers State governor Nyesom Wike and Akwa Ibom State governor Udom Emmanuel.
Others are the former vice president Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi; former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, business man Mohammed Hayatu-Deen and Publisher of Ovation Magazine, Chief Dele Momodu.
The aspirants also include former governor of Ekiti State Ayo Fayose, Chief Sam Ohunabunwa, Chief Charles Okwudili, Chikwendu Kalu, Cosmos Ndukwe and Olivia Tarela, who is the only female among the aspirants.
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With less than a week to the presidential convention of the party which is expected to hold in Abuja on May 28th and 29th, the scientific survey result shows that the top five contenders include Bala Mohammed closely followed by Peter Obi, Atiku Abubakar, Nyesom Wike and Aminu Tambuwal.
The survey had focused more on the aspirant that has the tract history of the ability to win election and defeat an incumbent from the opposing party. Of all the aspirants, Bala Mohammed has achieved that feat on two occasions. Bala Muhammed in 2007 as a PDP senatorial candidate defeated the then incumbent Senator of the All Nigerians People Party (ANPP) in Bauchi state. In 2019, he repeated that same feat when as a governorship candidate of the PDP he defeated the incumbent governor of Bauchi State who was seeking a reelection under the flag of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
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The survey is of the opinion that Bala Mohammed has a way with the electorate and his electoral feat which gave him an edge over Peter Obi may be of great advantage for the party in the presidential election. Obi was the only other aspirant who as a political neophyte defeated an incumbent PDP government in Anambra in 2003 using the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.
Again, Bala Mohammed scored majority vote on the Pan national credentials criteria. The survey noted the role played by the Bauchi State governor in 2010, then a sitting Senator of the Federal Republic at the point when Nigeria democracy was at crossroad. The long absence of the President and Commander in Chief due to illness was conflagrating the polity and there was constitutional crisis over his inability to formally transmit power to his vice, but it was to credit of Senator Bala Mohammed at the floor of the Red Chambers that Doctrine of Necessity was coined and infused into our democratic lexicon.
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That singular action which recieved overwhelming support from his colleagues was what it took to restore normalcy to a combustible political scenario.
With the emergence of Acting President Goodluck Jonathan and subsequently as a substantive, Bala was rewarded with high profile political appointment as the Minister of Federal Capital Territory. Again, his mettle was once more proved, for five years as the Minister of FCT, Bala initiated an inclusive governance and hurriedly and effectively transformed the Territory to a global reckoning. FCT has witnessed no significant project since the exit of Bala in 2015.
The resurgence and glorification of the FCT under Bala Mohammed brought him to international limelight where global leaders including Presidents constantly besiege Nigeria and were awarded honourary citizenship of the large black nation in the world. His exposure to international politics also puts him ahead of Atiku Abubakar in the survey as part of his duties then was to receive foreign dignitaries including Heads of state amongst others on behalf of the President.
The survey also beamed its light on the aspirants with highest level of party loyalty. This loyalty includes supporting party cadres and helping party out of trouble, including funding operations. Again, Bala Mohammed surprisingly topped the chart. In the North East zone comprising of Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Taraba, Yobe and Borno, PDP has equal states with the APC but the party owes its strength in the zone to Bala Mohammed who has repeatedly funded the party activities not just in Bauchi but also in Gombe and Yobe where the party is not in power.
The national body of the party has consistently leaned towards the governor when troubled and seeking for a way out. In one of the instances, the Uche Secondus led National Working Committee had in May 2021 appointed Bala Mohammed to chair a committee to advise it on the contentious zoning arrangement ahead 2023 election. In spite of the fact that his zone, the North East and of course the South East have never tasted the presidency, but the unselfish Bala thought it wise for the interest of the country and the party importantly recommended an open contest.
The Committee, in its recommendation submitted to the party leadership said, “in line with certain unwritten conventions of the nation’s history, many people think that, for fairness and equity, the North East and South East geo-political zones that have had the shortest stints at the Presidency, should be given special consideration, in choosing the presidential flagbearer of the party, for the 2023 elections.
“While we admit that this is a strong argument, we should not lose sight of the fact that Nigeria is endowed with many capable and very experienced leaders in every part of the country. Moreover, the exigencies of the moment demand that nothing should be compromised in choosing the leader, with the attributes to disentangle the country from the present quagmire. Therefore, we think that every Nigerian, from every part of the country, should be given the opportunity to choose the best candidate, through a credible primary election; as a way of institutionalising a meritbased leadership recruitment process, for the country.”