Senate President Bukola Saraki is reportedly plotting to join the race for the presidential ticket of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party in August, ahead of the 2019 elections.
Hints emerged on Saturday about Saraki’s presidential ambition; just 24 hours after the Supreme Court cleared him of allegations of impropriety in his declaration of assets as governor of Kwara state.
According to sources, the news immediately threw the camps of Governor Aminu Tambuwal and Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, who are co-drivers of the ”Reformed All Progressives Congress (R-APC)” with Saraki into confusion.
Tambuwal and Kwankwaso are also reported to be interested in the ticket and sources say it was their primary reason for wanting to return to the party, having found out that they could not wrestle the ticket from President Muhammadu Buhari in the ruling APC.
Saraki, who is said to be under pressure from his supporters to vie for the ticket, has been consulting his associates, political strategists, and well-wishers in the last 24 hours.
If he consents to seek the ticket, the move is bound to alter the ”R-APC” permutations ahead of next year’s elections.
Meanwhile, the camp of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar is also said to have been taken aback by Saraki’s sudden interest in the presidential race.
A source rated the Senate President’s latest move as an “upset and contrary to the discussion by the two leaders in a country in the Middle East.”
The source told The Nation that “what was agreed upon by Saraki, Atiku and other contestants was that whoever secured the presidential ticket would be supported by all.”
But the source said Saraki “did not give any commitment to back Atiku only for the presidency.”
It was gathered that the Supreme Court verdict on Saraki played a huge role in changing the permutations in the ”R-APC” and the PDP.
Saraki, it was gathered, has ruled out remaining in APC or backing Buhari for re-election, declining persuasion by a top presidency official that he should remain in the party.
The Senate President felt he will “not be able to have moral and emotional stamina to campaign for Buhari in view of his humiliation at the Code of Conduct Tribunal and the police on Offa robbery.”
His political family and APC supporters in Kwara are also said to be opposed to mounting the podium for Buhari ahead of next year’s polls.