Northern Elders of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP have endorsed a former Senate President, Bukola Saraki; and Bauchi State governor, Bala Muhammed as consensus candidates for the region.
Elders statesman, Ango Abdullahi made this known after a meeting with former Head of State, Ibrahim Babangida in Minna on Friday.
Four PDP presidential aspirants had visited the former ruler and “gave him the mandate to lead the process for a consensus, and agreed to abide by the outcome of the decision”.
The aspirants are Bukola Saraki, Bala Muhammed, Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal and Mohammed Hayatu-deen.
YANS.NG gathered that the aspirants were accessed based on a three-phase approach.
In the first phase, the opinions of six distinguished persons each from the three geopolitical zones were sought with regards to each of the four aspirants.
Each of the zonal delegates was allocated two votes to choose the first and second choice making a total of 36 votes overall.
At the end of the consultations, Aminu Tambuwal had seven votes, Bala Mohammed got 10 votes, Bukola Saraki had 10 votes and five votes for Mohammed Hayatu-deen.
The second phase of the exercise involved zonal assessment based on regions which was concluded as follows: a. North Central – (Eight); b. North East- (Seven); c. North West – (Two); One is still under consultation.
For the third phase of the exercise, the consultations involved looking into the past experiences of the PDP in terms of northern candidates.
Abdullahi said the two aspirants chosen are expected to work together and present one candidate for the north.
He said, “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.”
The report of the exercise was later submitted to the former ruler who accepted all recommendations made.
Meanwhile, the Technical Committee for the Actualisation of Atiku Abubakar’s Presidency in 2023, has dissociated the former vice president from the consensus arrangement.
The Committee in a statement said Atiku was never a part of the purported consensus arrangement and did not subject himself to this process.
“Therefore, he is not bound by any of the recommendations and conclusions of the purported report. Waziri Atiku Abubakar as a nationalist strongly believes that Nigeria has never been so divided as it is today, and any regional, zonal, ethnoreligious gang-up or consensus-driven in this manner will further deepen and widen the wounds that urgently require to be healed,” the statement added.
Also the Director of Organisation and Mobilisation for Tambuwal Campaign Organisation, Nicholas Msheliza in a statement said the Sokoto State governor was not part of the consensus arrangement.
The statement said: “The attention of Tambuwal Campaign Organisation (TCO) has been drawn to a news item that former Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State have emerged as consensus candidates from amongst the four of us announced at a meeting in Minna, Niger State. This is, to be candid and forthright, not correct.
“The correct situation is that the team met on Wednesday, April 20, 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.”
The PDP is yet to make a formal declaration on zoning.