Nigeria: PDP Convention - Saraki Denies Stepping Down

Atiku AbubakarVerified former Vice President of Nigeria and candidate in 2019 Presidential election.

Senate President Bukola Saraki said on Friday that he has not stepped down for anyone and is not considering doing so in the race to clinch the Peoples Democratic Party presidential nomination this weekend.

The top lawmaker's campaign office said in a statement to PREMIUM TIMES that raging rumours about his stepping down were fabricated and intended to cause confusion amongst his supporters and delegates.

"This rumour is unfounded and totally lacking in truth and substance. Dr. Saraki has absolutely no intentions of stepping down his ambitions in favour of any aspirant," campaign spokesperson Ilemona Onoja said in a statement.

"In fact, Dr. Saraki is the foremost aspirant of the party for the presidential primaries and considers himself well placed not only to emerge as the candidate of the party, but also to convincingly beat President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the February 2019 Presidential election.

"It is in furtherance of this confidence that Dr. Saraki has continually met with delegates, stakeholders and faithful members of the party to promote his #GrowNigeria message as well as his proposed policies and plans.

"We urge the public to disregard this rumour as exactly what is it -- a rumour by people being spread by people who should know better," the statement said.

Ahead of the PDP convention on Saturday, reports have circulated online about some of the 12 presidential aspirants stepping down for one another, but those whose name have been mentioned in the media have largely debunked such reports.

Moments after Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo was reported to have excused himself out of the race and endorsed his Sokoto State counterpart, Aminu Tambuwal, the Gombe governor pushed back hard, saying there was no truth whatsoever in the story.

The 12 candidates are: Atiku Abubakar, Ahmed Makarfi, Aminu Tambuwal, Datti Baba-Ahmed, Attahiru Bafarawa, Sule Lamido, Bukola Saraki, Sule Lamido, David Mark, Jonah Jang, KabiruTuraki and Rabi Kwankwaso. They have all expressed confidence in their individual abilities to clinch the ticket and face President Muhammadu Buhari as the main challenger in the general election next February.

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