Saraki, Kwankwaso most likely to return to PDP – Poll

PDP prospective decampees
A photo collage of PDP prospective decampees

Although he occupies the third highest position in Nigeria, over 700 participants in a poll believe Bukola Saraki will most likely leave the ruling party.

Mr. Saraki, the current senate president, was one of the six politicians available as options for participants in the PREMIUM TIMES opinion poll.

All the listed politicians had something in common: they all joined Nigeria’s ruling APC from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the build up to the 2015 general election. This fact, may have been responsible for 13.7 per cent of participants (433) saying they believe all of them will return to the PDP.

A total of 3,170 readers participated in the online poll which lasted for five days and was carried out in a way that made it impossible for a respondent to vote more than once from the same computer or mobile device.

The participants were asked a single question: Who among these politicians do you think will go back to the PDP?

About 22.6 per cent of the participants (716 voters) said they believe Mr. Saraki, former governor of Kwara, would go back to the PDP.

Mr. Saraki was closely followed by Rabiu Kwankwaso, a former governor of Kano State, with 20.6 per cent (652 participants) saying they believe Mr. Kwankwaso will return to the PDP.

The Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Al-Hassan, was the voters’ third choice with 17.6 per cent (559) saying they believe she will return to the PDP.

Of the six politicians suggested in the poll, former governor of Sokoto State, Aliyu Wamakko, was considered least likely to leave the APC as only 2.6 per cent (83) of the respondents said they believe he will do so.

Results for the others include current Minister of Transport and former governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi (7.7 per cent, 244) and former Governor of Gombe State, Danjuma Goje, (5.5 per cent, 175 voters).

About 9.7 per cent of participants (308) said they believe none of the options will re-join the PDP.

POSSIBLE REASONS

Although participants in the poll were not asked to state the reasons for their stance, the politicians listed not only have a history with the PDP but also various reasons to return or not.

None of them has, however, stated that they plan to return to the opposition party.

Messrs. Saraki, Kwankwaso and Wamakko were among the top politicians, including former vice president Atiku Abubakar, who in 2013 defected from the PDP to form the ‘New PDP’ which later merged with the APC.

Mr. Abubakar recently returned to the PDP with the opposition party saying it will work hard to ensure the return of the others before the 2019 election.

For Mr. Saraki, he emerged senate president against the wish of the APC, and with the full support of PDP senators, with whom he still has a close relationship.

Mr. Saraki and his close associate, the current Governor of Kwara State, Abdulfatah Ahmed, have however expressed continued loyalty to the APC. Mr. Ahmed recently said there was nothing to attract them to return to the PDP.

Mr. Kwankwaso, who governed Kano State on the PDP platform, was considered second most likely to join the PDP. A current senator, Mr. Kwankwaso has a well-documented, seemingly unresolvable dispute with his successor, Abdullahi Ganduje. Several peace meetings by the party including by President Muhamamdu Buhari failed to resolve the dispute. Mr. Kwankwaso recently boycotted a reception held for the president in Kano.

It is believed that APC would have to choose between Messrs. Kwankwaso and Ganduje for 2019. Should the latter, as incumbent governor be favoured, then the senator could actually re-join the PDP.

It is not surprising that about 18 per cent of the participants in the poll believe that Mrs. Al-Hassan, popularly known as ‘Mama Taraba’, might return to the PDP. She has openly declared her loyalty to Mr. Abubakar who she called her godfather.

Mrs. Al-Hassan has in recent times said that she would work for Mr. Abubakar, if he eventually declares his intention to run for the presidency in 2019, not minding the effect it could have on her job.

Although 8 per cent of the participants believe Mr. Amaechi will rejoin the PDP, the possibility of that occurring is slim as the minister is virtually at war with his successor as Rivers’ governor, Nyesom Wike. Mr. Wike is not only a PDP leader, but ensured his supported candidate, Uche Secondus, emerged the national chairman of the PDP at the recently concluded convention of the party.

The poilitician least expected by participants to join the PDP, Mr. Wamakko, successfully handpicked his successor as Sokoto governor, Aminu Tambuwal. Both men are believed to be enjoying a cordial relationship, unlike the Kano situation, thus limiting the possibility Mr. Wamakko will leave the APC.


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