IN a bid to shore up the chances of their party, some governorship aspirants on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have initiated moves towards reducing the number of contenders for the ticket of the party at the July 22, 2020 primaries in the state.
This is even as a couple of them have stepped up subtle lobbying likely delegates and other party stalwarts to brighten their chances of securing the ticket.
As of Monday, 17 aspirants were believed to have signified interest in the ticket of the party,after the PDP headquarters in Abuja releasedguidelines for the conduct of the primary election to pick the party’s candidate for the coming election.
Though, theaspirants are yet to obtain the party’s nomination and expression of interest forms ahead of theprimary election, the Nigerian Tribune gathered that the amount for the expression of interest is N4million, while the nomination form costs N20million.
A member of the party in the state, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the PDP national secretariat deliberately raised the nomination fee to reduce the number of aspirants.
The source stated: “By my calculations, only about six or seven of the aspirants can afford to pick the forms with this amount. Others will soon fall by the way side. Some of the aspirants, who cannot afford the money, have commenced negotiating with the few that can afford the almost N25million for the form.”
However, one of the aspirants, who also preferred not to be identified, said he was not involved in the ongoing efforts by some of his co-contestants to prune the number of contenders for the PDP ticket, but said he believed that the party would present the best as its candidate.
“I don’t know those who may prefer to step down, but I want to confirm to you that I am contesting the election and not even prepared to sit down with anybody in respect of that,” the contestant said.
The PDP in the state, according to the notice signed by the national organisingsecretary of the party, AustineAkobundu, will hold its primary election on July 22, 2020, two days after the All Progressives Congress (APC) would have concluded its own.
At least 10 aspirants have indicated interest to contest the ticket of the APC alongside the incumbent governor, RotimiAkeredolu.
The party has since communicated to interested aspirants that a sum of N22.5million is to be paid for the expression of interest and nomination forms at the APC national headquarters in Abuja.
Speaking on the number of aspirants of the party for the election, the state publicity secretary, Alex Kalejaye, disclosed that only one aspirant had so far shown intention to contest the election at the party’s secretariat.
“As I speak, we await other aspirants who are interested in the seat to show interest but the incumbent remains the only aspirant who has signified intention to re-contest,” he said.