The Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Chikwendu Kalu, maintains that the foremost implications of Atiku’s emergence are that the transparent nature of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential primary election would unite the party and that Atiku would beat Buhari in 2019 because the president has performed woefully.
Kalu disclosed that there was no anointed candidate, adding that unlike previous PDP primaries, no candidate had emerged before the Port Harcourt presidential primary election.
The Speaker said: “It will be equally interesting to know that this is the first time in the history of our political party and indeed, that of all the party primaries in Nigeria, that when we go for a convention like this, a candidate must have emerged, kind of, in secret. But it didn’t happen in this one, nobody knew who was to emerge.
“Even when we were having a caucus meeting of the South East, we were just carrying on and saying, okay, let us see how we can bring out about three aspirants that have all it takes to be able to change the political narrative of this particular country.
“So, we narrowed it down to Abubakar Atiku as the first person, seconded by Bukola Saraki and Aminu Tanbuwal.
So, we were now saying, whatever happens, these were they people that we may go ahead and support.”
He also noted that another positive development was the voluntary undertaking by the contestants to support whoever emerged from the primary.
“All the aspirants that participated, I was there and listened to them attentively in the course of their speeches, there was something common in all their presentations and submissions: they vowed that whichever way it goes; if they lose, each of the contestants said, that definitely they will remain in the party and support whosoever that emerged as the flag bearer of the PDP in the 2019 Presidential election.
“So, any person that followed what really transpired throughout the convention will tell you that it was fair, it was free, it was credible. And there is nothing to make any of the aspirants and, indeed, the entire PDP family to be worried about anything,” he said.
He said the implication of the outcome of the PDP presidential primary remains that it would unity the party and deepen democracy.
“So the implication is that democracy has been deepened within the rank and file of the party. Everybody saw justice; not only seeing that justice was done but justice was seen to have been done in this circumstance.
“So, as far as I am concerned, it has deepened democracy and it will cement the relationship of the aspirants and, indeed, the entire members of the PDP.
“In fact, the world should be applauding PDP for being able to conduct a free, fair, credible primary election,” he submitted.
He was optimistic that Atiku would floor Buhari in the 2019 presidential contest.
“Well, the truth is that they say the taste of the pudding is in the eating. Atiku is a democrat, Atiku has an antecedent. Being able to feel the pulse of Nigerians, he has all it takes to be able to right certain fundamental wrongs that are inherent in our system for now.
“So, as far as I am concerned, my own humble opinion, having regard to the fact that the present administration led by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, has really failed Nigerians, Atiku will defeat him come 2019,” he predicted.
Another PDP stalwart, Chief Chris Nwokocha, maintained that PDP has a material in Atiku with which the party could easily rout Buhari and delete APC from the political history of Nigeria.
“Atiku is a popular choice. He won almost half of the whole votes, leaving the rest to scramble for remaining votes.
After the result was announced, Bukola Saraki spoke on behalf of all the aspirants, saying that they accepted the outcome that it was good and promised that they are going to join hands together with Atiku.
“They said they were happy that the exercise was transparent and credible; that the people have spoken through the delegates of the party, so they will abide by that result. And it was a free, fair and credible primary election which all the aspirants confirmed and concurred.
“The implication is that PDP has gotten it right. The implication is that PDP is going into the battle field next year with an acceptable candidate by the generality of PDP members and stakeholders to fight a common enemy.
“I have the confidence, very much so, that Atiku will defeat President Buhari in the 2019 presidential poll.
Atiku has been around, he has the experience, he has the goodwill, he also has the wherewithal, the war chest; he has the funds.
“He is an astute and established businessman that can raise the required funds to fight the battle; he has built bridges across the various divides of Nigeria. So we believe he will confront Buhari and all PDP members will join hands.”
According to Nwokcha who is also a public affairs analyst, “Nigerians have finally seen a rallying point with which they will use to confront and defeat Buhari and APC.”