Over 70 out of the 91 political parties are presenting presidential candidates that will participate in the 2019 Presidential elections, The PUNCH can report.
Our correspondent, who visited the FCT office of the Independent National Electoral Commission on Thursday, reported that over 70 names had been posted as of Thursday night.
The list was posted with INEC’s timetable which fixed October 25 for the publication of candidates of political parties across the country.
Some of the candidates include: President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, Obadiah Mailafia of the African Democratic Congress, and former Governor Donald Duke of the Social Democratic Party.
A source at INEC said the figure might be higher than 70.
He said, “So far, over 70 candidates have been counted. A more comprehensive list will be published on Friday.”
The source said the ballot paper for the presidential election would also be long, adding that the announcement of election results in 2019 might even take longer.
Meanwhile, the various candidates’ credentials were made available to journalists on Thursday.
Buhari again failed to attach necessary supporting documents, insisting that they were in the custody of the military.
In the affidavit which he swore to, Buhari said, “I am the above named person and the deponent of this affidavit herein. All my academic qualification documents as filled in my Presidential form, APC/001/2015 are currently with the Secretary of the Military Board as of the time of this affidavit.”
On his part, Atiku submitted all relevant documents, with a Diploma in Law in 1969 from the Ahmadu Bello University being his highest qualification.
The former Vice-President also attached tax returns indicating that he had paid N10.8m in tax from 2015 to 2017 while declaring his income within the period as N60.2m.
PDP chairman to head Atiku Presidential Campaign Council
There are strong indications that the PDP is working towards creating the 2019 Presidential Campaign Council to be headed by its National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus.
The council will complement the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation headed by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
Some of the positions, which are considered sensitive, had yet to be filled before Atiku travelled out of Nigeria.
However, before leaving, the party was said to have secured his approval before releasing some names, which included that of Saraki.
Apart from Saraki, those whose names were mentioned included those of the Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal as zonal coordinator for North-West; Governor of Gombe State, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo , zonal coordinator, North-East; Governor of Benue State, Dr Samuel Ortom, zonal coordinator, North-Central; Governor of Rivers State, Mr Nyesom Wike as zonal coordinator, South-South while a former Governor of Ekiti State, Mr Ayodele Fayose, was named as the zonal coordinator for the South-West.
Others whose names listed included the Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, zonal coordinator, South-East; a former Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Relations, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki (SAN), as the Chairman, Legal Matters, and Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Emmanuel Udom, as the Chairman, Fund Raising Committee.
Since the publication of the names, it was gathered that individuals had been mounting pressure on the leadership of the party to get appointed into positions said to be strategic in the campaign team.
On Thursday, our correspondent gathered that some names were being brandished as new appointees into the campaign council.
These positions included those of the spokesperson for the campaign, directors of contact and mobilisation, finance, strategy and others.
However, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, said that the party had yet to name other members of the Presidential Campaign Council.
He described the list as phoney, and asked the members of the party to ignore it.
He said, “The attention of the PDP was drawn to a phoney post circulating in the social media and purporting that the PDP has released further names to make up its 2019 Presidential Campaign Council.
“The fabricators of the post even went further to allocate offices to certain individuals, claiming the same to be officially assigned by the leadership of our great party.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the PDP has not released any further names other than those earlier released as members of the Presidential Campaign Council.
“Currently, the only names and offices assigned and released by the party are those of the Director-General and Zonal Coordinators of the 2019 Presidential campaign.”
He cautioned that any other names being bandied around and purported to have emanated from the party should be discountenanced accordingly.
“The party, therefore, urges all members to remain calm and await further announcement by the National Working Committee on the composition of the Campaign Council in due course,” he added.
Our correspondent, however, gathered that Secondus would head the Presidential Campaign Council.
A source close to the party told our correspondent that the party and Atiku were trying to avoid the mistake made by the campaign organisation of former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015, which insulated the party in his campaigns.
The source said, “Atiku is a core party man. He knows the implications of running an individual campaign.”
“Being a team player, he wants to carry the party along in whatever he does. In fact, the party will drive the campaign. Because of this, all the members of the National Working Committee of the party led by Secondus will play major roles in the campaign.”
Meanwhile, 10 political parties have so far adopted Mr Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim as their presidential candidate.
Olawepo-Hashim, who originally emerged the candidate of the Alliance for New Nigeria, has since been adopted as the candidate of the Peoples’ Trust.
This was contained in a statement from his media office which indicated that the presidential hopeful would be flying the flag of the Third Force, having consolidated his candidature ahead of the general election.
His party composition, aside from the two major parties, the ruling All Progressives Congress, which is fielding President Mohammadu Buhari, and the Peoples Democratic Party, which is fielding former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar.
The 10 parties that have adopted him as a candidate are led by the Olisa Agbakoba-led National Intervention Movement.