BY BUHARI YAKUBU in Kaduna•
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees (BoT), has warned that former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar would not be granted automatic ticket to contest the 2019 presidential election on the platform of the party.
Chairman of the BoT, Senator Walid Jibrin, explained that the former vice-president was free to decamp from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and return to the PDP, but he should be prepared to contest for the party’s presidential ticket with other aspirants.
A local newspaper had exclusively reported that Atiku was in talks with PDP chieftains to return to the party, but has premised his return on the guaranty that he would secure the presidential ticket of the party to contest the 2019 election.
Jibrin however said that the PDP was ready for Atiku’s return and would warmly accept him and his supporters back to the party’s fold.
The BoT chair, who spoke during an interview with journalist in Kaduna, said given the manner Atiku was being treated by the APC, he had no option than to join the PDP ahead of 2019.
“We are ready to accept him to our party but he should be ready to work for a waiver,” he said.
“The North met in Abuja to say that any candidate from the North can contest. Let us get them. I think they are getting set now.
“For now, we have a former governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau, former Jigawa State governor, Sule Lamido, a former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa, and so on preparing to vie for the PDP presidential ticket.
“If the PDP grants Atiku a waiver, he should then join the cream of presidential aspirants in the party to fight for the ticket in 2019.
“If the PDP considers Atiku for the automatic presidential ticket, what about those in the party who are showing interest? Should we throw them away? If he is coming, he should come as an equal partner.
“We are ready to accept him. But he must follow the rules of the game. First, he must go through the primaries like any other person and he must fight for the presidential ticket,” he said.