There will be no automatic ticket in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for defectors from other parties when the PDP meets to pick its candidates later this year for the 2019 elections, The Nation can now reveal.
And this applies to the likes of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar (who has already joined the PDP), and Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso as well as Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State both of who are yet to join the party.
Established PDP members who are eyeing the presidential ticket include ex-Governor Ibrahim Shekarau (Kano); ex-Governor Sule Lamido (Jigawa); a former Interim National Chairman of PDP, Senator Ahmed Makarfi; Governor Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti); ex-Governor Attahiru Bafarawa (who is under pressure to join the race).
Party sources said yesterday that the PDP turned down requests for automatic presidential ticket for some bigwigs in APC wishing to switch parties.
Kwankwaso and Tambuwal are said to be testing the waters before making their next moves.
But the APC is not relenting in persuading some of its stalwarts, including Senate President Bukola Saraki, House of Representatives Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, Sen. Aliyu Wammako, Sen. Danjuma Goje and Sen. Ahmed Sani Yerima, to remain within the fold.
Sources said Saraki and Dogara appeared to be in a tight corner because they feel the APC have not been fair to them.
The two leaders are said to be “patching” their stay in APC until what a source described as a “critical political stage” in a few months’ time.
It was gathered that some presidential aspirants from APC had given the PDP some conditions for them to defect, the most critical being “ceding the PDP presidential ticket” to them.
The high level party source, familiar with the development, said:
“About five APC stalwarts have approached PDP for talks but their request centered on giving automatic presidential ticket to them.
“But the party leadership has said that while it is ready to welcome these leaders and new members to PDP, it cannot concede automatic ticket to any.
“I think the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus and his National Working Committee members are being fair. There is only a ticket available; it will be difficult to promise five leaders the same ticket.