By Emmanuel Oloniruha
Abuja, Feb. 8, 2019
A faction of the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), has adopted Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as its presidential candidate for the 2019 Presidential election, three weeks after another group headed by Senator Abubakar Mahdi adopted President Muhammadu Buhari
Mahdi led a delegation comprising chairmen and leaders of PDM from the 36 states of the federation and Abuja who conscientiously had resolved on the Jan.1 to support Buhari’s candidature in the forthcoming presidential election.
But in a twist, another group said to be chaired by Chief Dapo Sarumi, a former minister and a Lagos based politician said today the group was backing Atiku. The endorsement communique was released by the Sarumi group at an event at the Shehu Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja.
The communiqué was signed by Sarumi, who was a former Minister of Information, and six others, Dubem Onyia (South East), Chief Bode Ajewole (South West), Chief Ejiofor Onyia (South South), Dr Bala Tafida (North Central), Alhaji Kabir Bawa (North East) and Fatima Abba (North West).
PDM, which started as Peoples Front, was founded by late former Chief of General Staff (Supreme Headquarters), Gen. Shehu Yar’Adua.
It is registered as a political party by Independent National Electoral Commission, with Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim as chairman and Dr. Joseph Akinwunmi as secretary.
It appears that both Mahdi and Sarumi are operating the movement in a parallel mode, even distinct from the party headed by Ibrahim.
The Sarumi group said it was gratifying to note that one of its founding members emerged a candidate of one of the biggest political parties participating in the forthcoming election.
“It is noteworthy to point out that even though membership in this political family cuts across all the major political parties in the country, it has always been our prayers that one of our own be given the opportunity to showcase our outstanding leadership qualities irrespective of the political parties that throws up such a candidate for as long as he/she is a member of the political family.
“To this end, and with the 2019 Presidential election exactly a week away, it has become incumbent on us, as founding members of the Yar’Adua political family, PDM, to lend our voice to the conversations around the epochal electoral contest.
“We are conscious of our position as proud members of the oldest political organisation in contemporary Nigeria and it is noteworthy to say that this particular election cycle presents itself as a test to the virility of democratic governance in our country.”
The group also called on key participants in the electoral process to play by the rules, adding that everything possible must be done to make the forthcoming elections peaceful and credible.
“The tension that has been generated by the 2019 elections is getting to a disturbing proportion and we call on all actors in the electoral process to ensure that peace ensues before, during and after the elections.
“We call on the security operatives to be impartial and to focus on their main mandate of preserving and protecting the lives and property of every Nigerian and foreigners alike.
“Politicians should refrain from making insidious statements and anyone caught going against this should be duly prosecuted.”
It also called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to comply with the provisions of the relevant laws in the conduct of the elections.
PDM National Chairman, Bode Ajewole said that though members of PDM belong to various political parties, they resolved to rally behind Atiku’s quest for the highest elective office given his contribution to the growth of democracy in the country.
Sarumi called on Nigerians not to vote in ex-military as President of Nigeria again.
Convener of the meeting, Chief Ejiofor Onyia said the family chose to come together having drifted apart for years.
Onyia said that in the event Atiku is elected, the bridge dreamt about by the late Yar’Adua would have been completed.