PDP Presidential consensus deal crashes

Tunde Joshua, Abuja 

 …as Tambuwal rejects Ango Abdullahi report 

Efforts by four presidential aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to present a northern consensus candidate have crashed as the Sokoto State governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal rejected the report of a committee led by Prof. Ango Abdullahi The Trumpet gathered.

Recall that Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, Bauchi governor, Bala Mohammed, former Senate President, Bukola Saraki and business mogul, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen have been meeting to find a presentable candidate among themselves.

The report tagged ‘Report of Consensus Efforts Among Four Northern Aspirants in the Peoples Democratic Party signed by Prof. Abdullahi which was said to have been endorsed by former military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida in Minna on Friday, had recommended both Bauchi State governor, Bala Mohammed and former Senate President, Bukola Saraki as consensus candidates.

In a swift reaction, Tambuwal clearly stated that he was not aware of such report as he was not part of the agreement.

In a statement titled ‘Consensus Drive Failed, I’m Not Part of Any Agreement’, late Friday night by Tambuwal Campaign Organization (TCO) declared that “a news item that former Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Gov. Bala Muhammad 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.”

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Issued by Nicholas Msheliza, Director Organization and Mobilization for TCO, the statement narrated what is believed to be the correct situation saying “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 Sen. 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 pm on the same day was aborted unilaterally by Sen. 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 Gov. 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 informed his colleagues of maintaining their agreed position that the initiative has collapsed.

“Members of the public should be reminded that what was canvassed for was a consensus candidate and not consensus candidates.

“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.

“This is in consonance with his acclaimed outlook as a pan-Nigerian candidate, with pedigree of national service as the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, life member of the Body of Benchers and now in his second and final term as Governor of Sokoto state.”

In the report cited by The Trumpet, the Ango Abdullahi committee based its assessment on two major parameters; one of which is the candidate’s personal assessment in which it scored, Bala Mohammed with 10 votes, Bukola Saraki with 10 votes, Aminu Tambuwal with 7 votes and Mohammed Hayatu-Deen with 5 votes.

On the Zonal assessment parameter, the committee rated the North Central high with 8 votes, North East with 7 votes and North West with 2 votes.

The committee went further to situate its assessment in PDP’s previous experiences and resolved that; “the North West has had the opportunity of contesting and even forming government in 2007; that in 2011, the North East got the slot but lost at the primaries while in 2019, the North East got the slot again, though the party could not form government.

“North Central has not had a single opportunity to get the PDP ticket since the inception of the fourth republic.”.

In its recommendation, the committee therefore 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 be required to make further concessions so that in the end one of them would be presented as the consensus candidate.

“For the purpose of this exercise, it was resolved that Gov. Bala Mohammed from the North East and former Senate President, Bukola Saraki from the North Central be presented as Northern Consensus candidates for the moment”.

Though Atiku Abubakar was not a party to the consensus move, he has also rejected the report and urged his supporters to remain focused.

In a statement Saturday morning, The Technical Committee for the actualization of Atiku Abubakar’s Presidency in 2023 categorically stated that “Waziri Atiku Abubakar,  GCON Vice President Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999-2007 was never a part of this 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,ethnic-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

“Finally, we urge our supporters to continue with consultations and town hall meetings with delegates across the country as the party prepares for the presidential primaries scheduled for Saturday/ Sunday, May 28 and 29, 2022.”

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