Senate President Bukola Saraki has confirmed he has been consulting and he is considering running against President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 2019 election.
He made the confirmation in a wide-ranging interview with Bloomberg in Abuja.
Saraki who had evaded the question on his interest in the country’s number one position at a press conference last week, was more forthcoming in the interview:
“I am consulting and actively considering it,” Saraki, 56, said in the interview held at his residence in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.
“I believe I can make the change,” he added.
Since last week, the Senate President had visited two former Nigerian leaders, General Ibrahim Babangida and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo at their hilltop homes in Minna and Abeokuta. But he had been coy about his missions to the homes of the two former leaders, who are also opposed to President Muhammadu Buhari and had issued statements, asking him not to run next year.
After meeting Babangida, Saraki tweeted that he only “dropped in” to pay his respects to “General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida. Always happy to be with a father and leader”. In Abeokuta, he said he came to have a look at the monumental Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, which was formally opened in April 2017, the event which he said, he missed.
Saraki who switched from the ruling All Progressives Congress to his old party, the Peoples Democratic Party along with a dozen renegade senators in July, will need to secure the PDP nomination. And he has at least six aspirants to contend with.
Among them are Atiku Abubakar, a former vice-president, who quit the ruling party much earlier to the PDP; Ibrahim Dankwambo, governor of Gombe State, Ahmad Makarfi, a former senator and former governor of Kaduna State. There are also Sule Lamido, a former governor of Jigawa State; Aminu Tambuwal, governor of Sokoto state, who is yet to make a formal declaration of intent and Attahiru Bafarawa, also former governor of Sokoto state.
The party’s primary election is due between 5 October and 6 October. Political pundits are predicting a bruising contest among the aspirants.