Consensus: Tambuwal backs out as Northern leaders settle for Saraki, Mohammed
Wike Insists On Justice, Equity
Some northern leaders in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday explained how they chose two of the four presidential aspirants who were planning consensus arrangement as a way of facilitating the smooth emergence of the party’s presidential candidate.
This is as Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has lent his support to the stance of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State that the emergence of a consensus presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should be based on justice, equity and fairness.
Seventeen persons have obtained nomination forms of the PDP to contest the 2023 presidential election.
Former President of the Senate, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, Governors Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State, Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State and Mohammed Hayatu-Deen have been moving around the country canvassing the consensus arrangement.
But yesterday, some northern leaders who were earlier reached to wade into the crisis rocking the arrangement said they shortlisted the names of Saraki and Bala Mohammed as consensus aspirants.
It was however learnt that Tambuwal had withdrawn from the consensus arrangement since last Wednesday.
“Accordingly, he didn’t attend the meeting with the northern leaders which held in Minna since he has decided to withdraw from the consensus talk,” the source added.
Earlier yesterday, Tambuwal announced that he has appointed a former military administrator of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Tunde Ogbeha, as chairman of his campaign organisation.
In a communiqué signed by former Vice Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, the northern leaders said the selection of Saraki and Bala Mohammed was arrived at based on certain criteria adopted in the assessment of the four aspirants who submitted themselves for the exercise.
The communique read in part: “For the purpose of this exercise, it is hereby resolved that Governor Bala Mohammed from the Northeast and former Senate President Bukola Saraki from the North-Central be presented as the Northern consensus candidates for the moment.”
“It was resolved that a leading aspirant from the North-Central and one from the Northeast 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.
“It should be recalled that four major Presidential aspirants in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have met and decided to limit the number of aspirants from Northern Nigeria by forming a consensus among themselves. The candidates that presented themselves for the consensus are
Gov. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Gov. Bala Mohammed, Dr. Bukola Saraki and Mohammed Hayatu-Deen.
“This was indeed a commendable development and huge sacrifice for the love of country and the northern region in particular on the part of the four aspirants. Consequently, all the four aspirants visited the former military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida and gave him the mandate to lead the process for a consensus and agreed to abide by the outcome of the decision.”
Abdullahi, on behalf of the northern leaders, urged Saraki and Bala Mohammed 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 delegates would be free to exercise their right.
Meanwhile, Wike has maintained that he solidly stands by Governor Ugwuanyi’s position on the issue of a consensus presidential candidate of the PDP ahead of the party’s national convention.
The governor stated his position when he addressed Ebonyi State PDP delegates at the party’s State Secretariat, in Abakaliki, yesterday.
Wike stressed that “every consensus must be based on equity, fairness and justice as propagated by my brother Governor of Enugu State, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.”
According to him, “Gov. Ugwuanyi said he is not against consensus but that consensus must be based on equity, justice and fairness, and I support his stance.”
He pointed out that the primary aim of the PDP at the moment was to win the election and return to power at the centre, urging the delegates to vote for him during the presidential primary election as he has the needed qualities to win the presidential election and transform Nigeria for the better.
He particularly advised the delegates not to allow any aspirant who would later defect with the party’s mandate to emerge as its presidential flag bearer.
Wike, therefore, urged PDP delegates to vote for him during the party’s convention because he lacks the propensity to defect with the party’s mandate to another party if he wins the presidential election.
A statement by his Special Media Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, quoted the governor as stating that the advise became imperative because of the defection of some governors, including that of Ebonyi State, David Umahi and lawmakers from the PDP to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
“I have never left this party for one day. When PDP was in problem, I stood firm and I said PDP would not die. Don’t give (presidential) ticket to the person who will run from the party tomorrow. I am the only person Nigerians know will not run from the party,” he said.