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Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, among other presidential aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party are now in a battle of dollars splash on delegates, voting at today’s crucial presidential primary in Abuja.
SaharaReporters learnt that each delegate at the special convention had been given over $50,000 bribe to sway their votes in favour of particular aspirants.
No fewer than 811 delegates are expected to decide the fate of the PDP presidential aspirants in the ongoing convention.
The 811 delegates of the party consist of one national delegate elected from each of the 774 local government areas and one special delegate per state and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) from among persons living with disabilities.
Top sources informed SaharaReporters on Saturday that Atiku, Wike, former Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, were competing in the splash of thousands of dollars on the delegates and it was only a matter of highest bidder.
“Each of the PDP delegates has got $50,000 for now; Wike, 15,000 dollars; Atiku, 20,000 dollars; Saraki, 10,000 dollars and Tambuwal, 10,000 dollars,” one of the sources said.
For months, the aspirants had been traversing the country and offering bribes to delegates across states in attempt to woo delegates to vote for them.
The “money politics” in the PDP had not gone down with some of the aspirants who feared they could not match the lavish spending of the leading aspirants and quit the contest and the party.
Only on Saturday morning, one of the presidential aspirants of the PDP, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen, withdrew from the race.
The former Managing Director of FSB International Bank, announced his withdrawal from the race in a letter addressed to Dr Iyorchia Ayu, National Chairman of the PDP, following the path of former Anambra State governor, Peter Obi, who abandoned the race and also dumped the party for Labour Party days ago.
But unlike Obi, Hayatu-Deen promised to remain in the opposition party.
“During my recent nationwide trips, I came face to face with angry and hungry youths, children, boys and girls abandoned by their states who ought to provide them with education and vocational training. These had become the recruiting grounds of criminals, religious and political extremists.
“I planned to ensure that the great potential that had become the hallmark of Nigeria’s development paradigm, should be actualized during our presidency. We planned to make Nigeria the continental economic powerhouse which would guarantee high quality of life to the vast majority of our citizens.
“I planned to provide peace by ending insurgency of all types occasioned by the absence of a robust and coherent plan and lack of engagements with those involved and by improving the capacity of our intelligence services, the armed forces, the police and paramilitary services.
“My exposure locally and internationally and contributions to the nation’s economic and political-well being positioned me to take up the challenges facing our dear nation and – the courage to participate in this grueling exercise which most of our elites have shunned away from. Regrettably the political system has proved to be acrimonious, corrupt and self-serving.
“For the past three months I had the privilege of intensively interacting with Nigerians from all walks of life. This reinforces my resolve that Nigeria MUST BE saved, otherwise our future is doomed.
“I joined the contest as a democrat, with an open mind to keenly contest and accept the result of a process that is fair, credible and transparent.
“We have endeavoured to forge a consensus which would have facilitated a seamless emergence of a candidate which unfortunately could not be achieved.
“I wish to reiterate that I did not join party politics and to contest for the presidency because of personal gains and inordinate ambition, but in order to serve our country.
“It is therefore based on personal principles and with great humility that I have decided after wide consultations to withdraw from this contest which has been obscenely monetised.
“I wish to thank all my supporters, especially those from my state, well-wishers, friends, family, the extraordinary hardworking young men and women of our campaign organisation, the party leadership and members for their tremendous support which enabled us to contribute within this short period towards changing the character and direction of the Nigerian political landscape.
“Finally, as a very loyal party member and believer in the democratic process, I will continue to avail myself and my teeming supporters at all times to ensure victory of our great party,” Hayatu-Deen had said.