…Sokoto governor vows to contest in primary...Northern elders have made us proud – Arewa group…Northern consensus candidates not North’s decision – Sule Lamido
Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has said that he was never part of the northern Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) arrangement to produce a consensus candidate from the zone ahead of the party’s May 28/29 presidential primary.
Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, his Bauchi State counterpart, Bala Mohammed, former Senate President, Bukola Saraki and eminent banker, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen, had initiated talks on the possibility of having a consensus PDP presidential candidate for the 2023 polls.
However, Prof Ango Abdullahi, in a communique, issued after a meeting of some Northern elders, in Minna, on Friday, named the Bauchi governor and Saraki, as Northern PDP consensus candidates for the opposition party’s presidential primary.
Nevertheless, Atiku, in a statement by the Technical Committee for the Actualization of Atiku Abubakar’s Presidency in 2023, said that he did not subject himself to the process and, therefore, not bound by the recommendations.
“Waziri Atiku Abubakar as a nationalist strongly believes that Nigeria has never been so divided as it is today, and any regional, zonal, ethno-religious gang-up or consensus driven in this manner will further deepen and widen the wounds that urgently require to be healed.
“He is anxious to implement plans, policies and programmes that will rescue and rebuild Nigeria,” the statement read.
Similarly, the Tambuwal Campaign Organization, in a statement by its Director of Organization and Mobilization, yesterday, distanced the Sokoto governor from the emergence of Mohammed and Saraki as Northern PDP consensus presidential candidates.
The campaign organization explained that the consensus talks by Tambuwal, Mohammed, Saraki and Hayatu-Deen had collapsed.
The statement reads: “The correct situation is that the team met on Wednesday 20th April, 2022, at Bauchi Governor’s lodge in Abuja and had a review meeting; and unanimously agreed that the consensus arrangement was not working.
“The team further agreed that Senator Saraki should come up with a draft statement on how to communicate this decision to the Nigerian public. This was the last time that members of the team sat and mutually agreed on anything.
“The proposed meeting to review and vet the statement scheduled for 10:00 p.m of the same day was aborted unilaterally by Senator Saraki via a WhatsApp message.
“However, on Thursday, 21st, 2022, same Sen. Saraki circulated yet another WhatsApp message suggesting that members of the team should head to Minna for a meeting on Friday, Gov. Tambuwal reached other members of the team and informed them that he stands by the decision of the team that the initiative is not working.
“This is the reason Governor Tambuwal was absent at today’s (Friday) meeting in Minna. As a result, therefore, the outcome of the Minna meeting has no consequence or any implication on the aspiration of Gov. Tambuwal, who had earlier on informed his colleagues of maintaining their agreed position that the initiative has collapsed.”
It added that “for the avoidance of doubt, Gov Tambuwal has submitted his presidential nomination forms and now that the quest for a consensus candidate out of the four has clearly collapsed, will go ahead and face screening and indeed contest the PDP presidential primaries.”
Northern elders have made us proud – Arewa group
A Northern group under the auspices of Arewa Progressive Group (APG) has said that Northern elders had made most northerners proud by coming up with presidential consensus candidates for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2023 general elections.
The group said by this singular effort of the elders, other zones might be encouraged to emulate what they had done in the North.
Speaking to journalists shortly after a meeting, the leader of the group and convener of the meeting, Umar, Abubakar Bodinga, said the North needs unity, adding that what the elders had done would further unite the North.
Bodinga, however, said the Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal could opt out of the presidential race if he is not comfortable with the decisions of the elders.
“Tambuwal cannot be forced to accept what he does not like. However, it should be noted that he has not faulted the process because it was so transparent.
“As Northerners under the Arewa Progressive Group, we wish to state in the strongest terms that we are with the northern elders. Consensus did not fail. Tambuwal only withdrew from it,” Bodinga said.
Northern consensus candidates not North’s decision – Sule Lamido
Former governor of Jigawa State, Ambassador Sule Lamido, has said the decision of “Northern consensus presidential candidates” of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) announced on Friday does not represent the position of party members in the region.
Over the past weeks, four presidential hopefuls: Bukola Saraki, former senate president; Bala Mohammed, Bauchi State governor; Aminu Tambuwal, Sokoto governor, and Mohammed Hayatu-Deen, former managing director of the now-defunct FSB International Bank, held consultations across the country on consensus candidacy.
On Friday, Saraki and Bala Mohammed were announced as “northern consensus candidates” following a report released by elder statesman, Prof Ango Abdullahi.
But Tambuwal rejected the report, saying that was not the agreement reached at a previous meeting involving the four aspirants.
In a statement issued yesterday, Lamido described the report as the “personal opinion” of those who issued it.
The statement reads in part: “The attention of key stakeholders of the PDP in the northern states is drawn to reports in the media that some northern elders had shortlisted two of our prominent and deserving aspirants as consensus PDP presidential candidates.”
“Having widely consulted party leaders across the 19 northern states and FCT, it is hereby stated to our teeming party members and the general public that what was reported in the media is only the personal opinion of those who issued the statement and not the position of the PDP members in the North.
“Discussions are ongoing with all the aspirants in our party with a view to having a national consensus if possible or at least working towards having a smooth, acrimony-free national convention. The position of the northern elders is not only injurious to the North, but equally injurious to the northern aspirants.”
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