Dr. Bukola Saraki, former Senate President Bukola Saraki and Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State have been endorsed by the Northern Elders’ Forum as their consensus candidates to vie for the presidential ticket of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 presidential election. This has left former Vice President Atiku Abubakar in the cold.
The duo alongside Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State and Mohammed Hayatudeen, had worked to produce a consensus candidate from the region.
According to Professor Ango Abdullahi, head of the committee which carried out three-phase screening from where Saraki and Mohammed emerged, the exercise was thorough.
In the report of the committee sighted by Daily Trust, Saraki and Mohammed had 10 votes each, while Tambuwal trailed with seven votes, followed by Hayatudeen, who had five votes.
One of the elders reportedly deferred his votes on grounds of continuing consultations with traditional rulers and other major stakeholders.
Two members were said not to have cast their second ballots bringing the total to 32 votes casted out of 36.
Abdullahi said his committee submitted a report to former Military President Ibrahim Babangida who accepted and approved it.
“In the end, resort was made to the historical antecedents of the PDP with regards to previous northern aspirations and the following conclusion was reached: a. That the North West has had the opportunity of contesting and even forming government in 2007.
“In 2011 a consensus was made among the four northern candidates, Which North East got the slot but lost at the primaries. In 2019, it got the slot again though the party could not form the government. c. The North Central has not had a single opportunity to get the PDP ticket since the inception of the current fourth republic
“It was resolved that a leading aspirant from the North Central and one from the North East are to be presented as northern presidential candidates. The two would in turn be required to make further concessions so that in the
end one of them would be presented as the consensus candidate, out of the four that presented themselves from the North.”
Abdullahi stated that the two aspirants chosen by the elders should work together and decide on which of them would be the consensus candidate.
“For the purpose of this exercise, it is hereby resolved that Governor Bala Mohammed from the North-East and former Senate President Bukola Saraki from the North-Central be presented as the northern consensus candidates for the moment.
“The successful aspirants are hereby urged to work together to make allowance for further consultations to foster understanding among themselves and the PDP community to ensure a rancour-free primaries in which all eligible candidates would be free to exercise their right.”
Speaking, Governor Mohammed told journalists that he and Saraki would meet to come up with one consensus presidential candidate to ensure unity for the north and Nigeria.
“We have reached an agreement to seek consensus so that we can close ranks and build unity for the north and Nigeria. We are happy that after due process and due consultation, involving the PDP Northern Elders Forum, I and Saraki have been chosen as Northern consensus candidates. We will go ahead and consult more among ourselves and bring out one candidate.”
Governor Mohammed further said that the consensus is the representation of the north and that discussions are on with other aspirants from the south.
The governor, however, added that other aspirants not endorsed are free to aspire if they desire, while thanking General IBB, the northern elders and other chieftains of PDP for having confidence in them. (Daily Trust)