From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
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.”
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