Former Senate President, David Mark, has picked the expression of interest and nomination form to contest for the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), confident that President Muhammadu Buhari will lose to the party in next year’s election.
Speaking to journalists moments after collecting the forms at the national secretariat of the party in Abuja on Tuesday, he observed that Buhari had become unpopular and this had become obvious to all. Asked about his chances against the president if given the party ticket, Mark said: “My chances which are actually PDP chances against the current government, you can see what is happening for yourself.
I don’t think anybody needs to preach that gospel anymore. If you can’t see it, you can perceive it. If you can’t perceive it, you can hear of it. It is obvious that the next election, PDP’s presidential candidate will win.”
He said as long as the PDP had zoned its presidential ticket to the North, he was qualified to vie for it, saying that his wealth of experience gave him an advantage for the position.
He also asserted that his campaign represented the youth in consonance with the clamour for younger leaders in the country. The three-time Senator stated: “The issue is that the party has zoned the presidential vacancy to the North. Whether you are from North East, North West or North Central, we are all northerners.
And I think that that is what qualifies me in the first place. “Secondly, I think I have something to offer. I got a wealth of experience in administration. And you recognise that I was also President of the Senate for eight years. “So, I think I have garnered a lot of experience to be able to move the country in the direction that all Nigerians want.
And that is the direction of prosperity, good economic policies, reduce the level of insecurity, get Nigerians to become very proud citizens, create job opportunities for the teeming youths and change the economy.
“Like I said, there are lots of young boys and girls working in my team who are very vibrant and who are very articulate and who know what they want. So, we are a focused team.”
On the move for a consensus candidacy for the PDP, Mark opined that the important thing was for the presidential aspirants to realize that it was only one of them that could be the candidate in the end.
He added: “If we all agree. But all of us who have gotten the nomination forms now have to agree on that. Whether we get a consensus candidate or whether we go through the primary itself truly doesn’t make much difference. “The important point is all of us must realise that there is only one person who can occupy that seat.
And that power comes largely from God. Once God decides that this is the person, and the process through electing that person is free, fair, credible and transparent, we should all accept it.”
The former Senate President said whatever the outcome of the party primary, he would not leave the PDP. He explained: “Have you heard me before saying that no matter what happens, I will never leave PDP? I have said that too many times and I keep saying it, sounding like a broken record now in that process. But that doesn’t stop anybody from coming in to join the party. “Now, PDP has become the party of choice.
That is their only reason why people are coming. Nobody will leave a party that is good and go to another party that is not a party of choice. So, the mere fact that people are coming to PDP means that PDP is now the party to be if we want to make an impression on this country.
“Also, if a man comes to the party, he is an integral part of the party. And I think we should not bother too much about whether the man has been there for a long time or whether the man is coming.
But that decision will be made by the electorates.” Meanwhile, former Sokoto state governor, Attahiru Bafarawa, has become the first PDP presidential aspirant to return his completed nomination form.
His campaign Director General, Senator Paul Wampana, who returned the form on his behalf to the national secretariat of the party on Tuesday, told journalists that Bafarawa did not believe in consensus candidacy and was only seeking assurances for a free, fair and credible primary.
Wampana said the more aspirants that were in the race, the better for the party. He, however, expressed confidence that having learnt from its past mistake, the PDP would indeed create room for a credible exercise.
He said: “We are not against many aspirants. What we need is a level playing ground. The people will speak. It is the people we will listen to. Let there be free, fair and credible elections in this country. We have discounted the idea of anyone stepping down. The more the merrier.”