A major occurrence is set to take place in the People’s Democratic Party after key presidential aspirants from the North agreed to team up and step down for former Vice President, Mr Atiku Abubakar.
Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki and governors of Sokoto and Bauchi states, Aminu Tambuwal and Bala Mohammed, have allegedly agreed to step down to ensure Atiku gets the ticket, The Whistler reports.
The trio of Saraki, Tambuwal, and Mohammed engaged in several consultation visits that took them to Benue State where the team met with Governor Samuel Ortom and later Taraba State, where they also met with Governor Darius Ishaku.
It was gathered that the declaration of interest in the presidency by Rivers State governor, Mr. Nyesom Wike, turned the tide in favour of Atiku Abubakar.
The outcome of the meeting was announced by Abubakar when he tweeted, “I had a meeting tonight with Bukolasaraki, Tambuwal, Senator Bala Mohammed and Hayatudden to discuss the future of our party and Nigeria. I look forward to continuing our dialogue and building one Nigeria.”
According to sources, the Saraki-led meeting with Ortom did not yield the desired result.
The meeting came less than 24 hours after Wike had visited Ortom and donated N200 million to the state government.
“They wanted neutrality and a level playing field having seen the closeness between Ortom and Wike but were left disappointed with Ortom, forcing a change of tactics,” the source said.
Speaking during the visit, Saraki said, “I’m here today with two brothers, Tambuwal and Mohammed, as part of the ongoing consultation of the three of us who have shown indication to aspire for presidency under our great party. On our own, a couple of weeks ago, we felt that, in the interest of the party, we should be able to come together and find a consensus candidate among us.
“Our interest is very little compared to our country at this time, which is at a very defining moment. I believe only our party can rescue this country from where it is today and those of us who are aspiring are committed to ensuring that we find somebody who will unite us, whom we will all support.
“That’s a better way to unite the party and reduce the rancor in the process. To do that, we must also carry along key stakeholders of the party, leaders like yourself, and that’s why we are here today.”
However, after the inclusion of Atiku, it was learnt an attractive offer to “enable the south bend to a northern candidate will be to repeat the usual position Atiku has had. And that is for him to rule for only four years and hand over to a southern candidate,” a source familiar with the development said.
He further revealed that Atiku will still choose his running mate from the South East and “might still be (Peter) Obi.”
Asked when the declaration will be made, he said it’s likely “they will wait until the Ortom Consensus Committee releases its report on zoning first because if it’s thrown open, then it becomes easier. But if it’s zoned to the South, everyone will step down for Atiku from the North immediately.”
Apart from Wike, former running mate to Atiku, Mr. Peter Obi, and former Senate President, Mr. Anyim Pius Anyim are the notable people who have declared their interest in the platform of the PDP.