The Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has launched a covert plan aimed at defeating the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari, in the Southwest in the 2019 poll.
As part of the scheme, Atiku will kick-start his presidential campaign with a zonal rally in Lagos on November 28.
But it was learnt that the weak structure of PDP in the Southwest is of concern to the candidate and the PDP.
Also, ahead of the commencement of his campaign, pressure for posts has delayed the announcement of the full members of the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) of the party.
The list of PCC was still being tinkered with at the last minute to “accommodate different interests”.
As at press time, the PDP candidate was yet to make a commitment to the leaders of the party, especially the Southeast caucus, on whether or not he will spend one term in office.
The Southeast wants power shift to the geopolitical zone in 2023 and it is seeking a firm commitment on this desire.
The six-year plan in Atiku’s manifestoes has created more anxiety for Southeast leaders in PDP.
Checks have however confirmed that Atiku is set for campaign with a hectic programme.
According to a copy of the campaign schedule of Atiku, which was exclusively obtained by our correspondent, Atiku will hold zonal rallies as follows: Lagos (November 28 for Southwest); Kano (December 1 for Northwest); Enugu (December 5 for Southeast); Ilorin (December 8 for Northcentral); Port Harcourt (December 12-Southsouth) and Bauchi (December 15 for Northeast).
A top source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The choice of Southwest, especially Lagos, is to underscore the determination of PDP to win the zone in 2019. With the Southeast and South-south in our kitty, the main target is the Southwest.
“The Southwest has a huge and sophisticated voting strength; it remains a major target of our campaign. With ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo’s backing, PDP will go all out to change the narrative in this zone.
“We have a big plan to win the Southwest if it means going from door to door.”
It was however learnt that the weak structure of the party in the Southwest has been a major headache for PDP.
A party leader said: “Our party is not too strong in the Southwest like when Obasanjo was in power. This is giving us a bit of concern. But since we will tackle APC on issues, there might be empathy for PDP.
“The people of the Southwest cannot be led by the nose. We want to capitalize on their discerning minds to capture the zone.”
Investigation also revealed that Atiku is yet to release the list of members of the Presidential Campaign Council due to pressure to tinker with it and accommodate some party leaders.
A PDP stalwart said: “Atiku is always reworking the list in order to make it representational.
“There is always pressure to accommodate vested interests. But in the next few days, Atiku will roll out the names of PCC members.”