There are serious efforts going on among leaders of the South-West to produce a running mate for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Candidate for the 2019 elections, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
Leaders of various Yoruba groups and the intelligentsia in the South-West have been in continuous consultations and meetings since after primaries and National Convention of PDP which produced former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as the party’s presidential candidate for the 2019 general elections.
A top chieftain of a Pan Yoruba group who pleaded anonymity told Newsmen on Thursday that meetings are currently being held at various cities in the southwest including Ado Ekiti, Akure, Ibadan, Osogbo, Abeokuta, Ikenne and Lagos, as well as Abuja, in a bid to identify a consensus name to submit to the PDP presidential candidate for consideration and eventual adoption.
When contacted, another chieftain who also did not want to reveal his identity and details of the meetings, however, confirmed to newsmen that meetings and consultations are taking place but he was also quick to add that Yoruba leaders and people are looking for two things from all candidates which are programmes and representation.
According to him, “It is too early to talk about endorsement of any particular political party.”
He however hinted that the southwest will go with any party or candidate who will use the next four years to seriously and sincerely work to achieve reforms of the structure of the country towards devolution and decentralisation of power, economic reforms with job creation as a principal aim and commitment to education of Nigerian children, plus assurance to fight insecurity and reform the security architecture of the country.
He also added that the south-west is keen on being well represented in the next government and is indeed moving towards finding a consensus candidate as a running mate.
When asked if the southwest is turning their back on the present administration which has Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who is from the zone, as current Vice President, the chieftain said.
“We are happy with Prof Yemi Osinbajo as a running mate with Buhari but what we need from them is a clear commitment to these reforms. From those challenging the Buhari administration, we shall be asking for the same reforms and also a commitment to having a Yoruba vice president,” he said.
Inside sources at the ongoing meetings have however hinted on some key names of technocrats so far being considered to be Atiku’s running mate.
They include Otunba Gbenga Daniel, former Governor of Ogun State who currently functions as Director-General of Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign Organisation; Akinwunmi Adeshina, current President of the African Development Bank; Anthony Kila, a Professor of Strategy and Development who is also the Director at Center for International Advanced and Professional Studies; Femi Otedola, chairman of Forte Oil PLC; and Bayo Ogulesi, Chairman and Managing Partner of Global Infrastructure Partner.