2019 Presidency: The Underground Permutations | Independent Newspapers Limited
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2019 Presidency: The Underground Permutations

Posted: Aug 10, 2016 at 1:00 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

The political permutations towards the 2019 presidential elections seem to have started in earnest.

Though, for an average Nigerian, the 2019 presidential election is still very far away,  and should not be a source of worry as politicians are expected to deliver the dividends of democracy now, before they focus on the 2019 elections, but politicians all over are known to plan ahead of time as they would not want to be caught napping when the time comes, by other politicians hence the underground alignments and permutations.

For the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), their loss at the last presidential election was a deadly blow which they are yet to recover from. For them, losing the Presidency for the first time to the opposition, was like losing it all.

While the PDP is counting their losses and planning in earnest on how to recapture power in 2019 by oiling their machineries towards the presidential election coming up in the next three years, the All Progressives Party, though basking in the euphoria of victory, are also planning to make sure that this victory does not slip away.

Independent gathered from highly reliable sources in the PDP that the permutations were next to none as members and elders of the party are neck deep in planning to make sure that the last mistake does not repeat itself.

The sources revealed to Independent that the Party had zoned the Presidency to the North so as to assuage their nerves and also to garner support.

With the zoning, popular candidates are jostling to re-allign themselves with a popular and acceptable running mate from the South who would help appeal to the conscience of that region.

One of the sources, who is an insider told Independent that so far, more than nine names have been muted as acceptable and credible candidates from the North who are capable of effortlessly wrestling out power from the government of the day due to their popularity and acceptability by their people.

But again,  would these people’s acceptability equal that of the present President, Muhammadu Buhari whose popularity in the north had been described as a volcano?

Though the source is of the opinion that, President Muhammadu Buhari’s popularity and that of his party has waned as a result of the economic challenges being faced by the people but some are still die hard supporters of PMB as they believe that he needs time to reposition the country, while his fight against corruption has being applauded by many who believe that, PMB’s fight against corruption is making corrupt politicians to fight back, thereby making his administration look like one without focus or vision.

In the PDP, about nine persons from the North West and North-east, are bracing up for the challenge to oust President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC in the 2019 general elections, from the Presidency.

All the presidential hopefuls are either former or serving governors. Among those who have thrown their hats into the race are former governor of Katsina State, Ibrahim Shema; former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido; former governor of Kano State, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau; former governor of Bornu state, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff; the serving governor of Gombe, Ibrahim Dankwambo; Sen David Mark,  former Senate President; former governor of Kaduna state, Sen Ahmed Makarfi and former Chief Servant and governor of Niger State,  Babangida Aliyu.


For Sule Lamido, the chances of clinching the ticket come 2019, is very bright as he is said to have delivered the dividends of democracy to his people through his structural and developmental projects.

Lamido was also said to have turned the fortunes of his state around, making it an envy to other states around it.
But one aspect stands between him and his aspiration to clinch the presidency.

“Though he has put his machinery in place”, his close aide told Independent, “he was also the preferred candidate of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and from the old breed having worked closely with Mallam Aminu Kano and Abubakar Rimi, who was his political godfather. Getting the presidential ticket in PDP would be difficult as he is being viewed by PDP members as a betrayer, having played a vital role in the defection of some of the governors which in turn, sealed the fate of PDP’s victory at the polls”.

“if those governors had remained in PDP , we would have won APC hands down. He was among those who rebelled against our party though he regrets the role he played”. He lamented.

Analysts are also of the view that with Lamido’s trial at the court, it could cast aspersions on his person making him unpopular and moreover, his preferred candidate for running mate would have been Rotimi Amaechi, who incidentally is now a chieftain of the APC.

However,  “trial or no trial” Lamido has told his supporters that he is set to run come 2019.


For Ibrahim Shekarau, a two-term governor of Kano State and a one-time presidential candidate, he is also warming up for the PDP presidential ticket.

He is considered very credible and is looked upon as being in the good books of former President Jonathan.

His close allies told Independent that Shekarau is said to be favoured because he is from Kano, in the North-West which has the highest number of voters in the zone.

In addition, the source insisted that even if Buhari wants to run, Shekarau would give him a good fight since the votes from the North-West would be shared. Then, the PDP would battle for the North-east and South-west with the APC, with the hope that the PDP has control of the South-east and the South-south. “Presently there is no case against him by APC or EFCC”

Asked if the” Shekarau Candidacy will fly” considering that his strongest contender with equal popularity in the state, Rabiu Kwankwaso is also likely to contest from APC, he stated that 2019 will provide the much needed litmus test for either of them.


Gombe State governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo, is said to have assembled a team working for him to realise his 2019 presidential dream.

A former Accountant- General of the Federation; he and Darius Ishiaku of Taraba State, are the only PDP governors from the North and incidentally from the North East

With Dankwambo’s candidacy, he and Ishiaku will battle for the North East votes. Though said to be deep in pocket, his political clout in the North is “restricted and minimal’ which cannot give PDP the desired and needed victory.

Dankwambo’s popularity is said to start and end in Gombe State where he governs.

Though his popularity in the North cannot be compared to that  of Lamido and Shekarau, PDP’s calculation for the North-East is based on the fact that both Buhari and the late Umaru Yar’adua, two former presidents from the North since 1999, are from the North-West.

However, strong indicators have it that Dankwambo is the kite PDP would fly, come 2019. He is said to be favoured having achieved so much in his state and also free from all corruption charges by the EFCC.

PDP is said to be making frantic efforts to make sure that he runs with Agbaje of Lagos, with the confidence that the combination of Agbaje from Lagos and Dankwambo from North East is a sure victory.

PDP sources say “they are the wining team come 2019. The man in the eyes of the storm” the source boasted.

Political thinkers in the party have commended the choice of Dankwambo/Agbaje but says the party is keeping it under wraps as a shocker for the ruling APC.  This is even as some had argued that the party should look for a not too popular runing mate from the South West just like it was done between President Buhari and Vice President Osibanjo,  others say Agbaje’s popularity would win the South.

“Though, Agbaje is contesting for the PDP National Chairmanship, but when the time comes he will resign and join Dankwambo as running mate.” a close source added.


Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff, the factional chairman of PDP is said to have indicated his interest to run, come 2019.

As a former governor in his state Sheriff is said to have wielded so much power in the state.

Said to be very wealthy, his popularity seems not to cut across the whole north. And, with his running battle with some members of his party, sources say “it might be difficult but not impossible knowing Sheriff to always strive to get what he wants.


The former Senate President is said to be the most experienced of all. Having served as a governor during the military era and a one time minister for Communication, and a 5th term senator, his aides says he is good to go.

Independent gathered from some of his inside persons that he has not shown much enthusiasm about it.

“Though, there have been pressures from his people for him to run and represent the North central which had never in the history of Nigerian democracy, produced a president but the odds against him is said to be enormous.”

Having been in the corridors of power for long, some say he should retire. But the Idoma’s,  the tribe of the former Senate President see this differently as they have intensified moves to present their son come 2019.

“David Mark is the only candidate that can give APC a run for their money. We the Idoma’s are solidly behind him and we are begging him to come out.  He has the experience”.
“We have been meeting with stakeholders from the North Central to persuade him and also on how to win the support of other states in the North Central”.


A former governor of Kaduna State who had also served the state in different capacities  including serving as a Commissioner of Finance.

As an experienced politician, Makarfi delivered dividends of democracy in the state where his popularity cuts across all the political divide.

Calm and calculated, inside source told Independent that he might decide not to run if his political calculations are not favourable. “Don’t forget that Makarfi is a Kingmaker in Kaduna politics.

“Have you forgotten that it was he who gave former Vice-President Namadi Sambo the political platform”? he asked.


The general belief by many in the APC is that “Baba” would not run for a second time although, many who are seen as sycophants, have started urging him to go for a second term.

However, with the crises rocking the ruling APC, there are bound to be surprises come 2019.

Independent sources hinted that the party has divided into factions as they appear unprepared to manage their successes. According to the source who is a party stalwart of APC, “there may not be any party like APC after 2019, remember we all came from different parties to form what is now known as APC”.

“Some of us who came in from ACN,  PDP,  and other parties apart from CPC are seen as outsiders. Look at what is happening to Saraki today.  Asiwaju Tinubu is also being sidelined while people like Turaki, former Vice-president are also sidelined. “There will be surprises as some are planning to form their own party before 2019. Just wait and see”.

Those within the party with presidential ambition are Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Abubakar Saraki, Aminu Tambuwal, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and Nasir el Rufai.


For the former Vice-president, it has always been his wish to lead the country as President.  Atiku had contested against President  Musa Yar-adua and President Jonathan but lost at the primaries. Even his outing during the APC primaries was not also impressive as he was floored by President Buhari.

Independent sources, however  said all these can not deter him as he is poised to contest come 2019.

The Turaki of Adamawa close sources say, might decide to form another party if he would not be given the ticket in APC.

“Our leader is busy preaching peace and restructuring of the country.

“But one thing is sure, he will surely contest”. “When the time comes,  his political structures will spring into action” the source added.

RABIU KWANKWASO former governor of Kano State

Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, the firebrand governor of Kano State presently a senator, is said to be bidding his time. He also contested in the last APC primary against President Buhari but failed.

According to a close aide of the former governor, “already, people in Kano are warming up to support him.  “Have you been to Kano of recent? Go and see how he transformed the state”


Though he has not come out openly to declare his intention but many close to him have sworn that come 2019, the Senate President would not hesitate to throw in his hat for the contest.

Juliet Oyoyo