Why northern PDP consensus for presidency bid collapsed, by Atiku, others
By TUNDE JOSHUA
Efforts by a committee led by former Vice- Chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University, Prof Ango Abdullahi to select best out of four presidential aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as consensus candidate of the north came under heavy knocks over the weekend as the consensus deal obviously crashed.
Recall that out of the 17 presidential aspirants of the party, 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 consensus candidate among themselves.
The committee had in a report tagged ‘Report of Consensus Efforts Among Four Northern Aspirants in the Peoples Democratic Party’ signed by Prof. Abdullahi on Friday in Minna, Niger State had recommended both Bauchi State governor, Bala Mohammed and former Senate President, Bukola Saraki as consensus candidates from the north.
In the report cites by The Trumpet, the Ango Abdullahi committee based its assessment on two major parameters; one of which is candidates 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 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 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”.
But in a swift reaction to the report, two of the key actors in the consensus deal, Tambuwal and Hayatu-Deen denied being part of the report and consequently rejected the recommendation of the Ango Abdullahi committee. In a statement titled ‘Consensus Drive Failed, I’m Not Part of Any Agreement’, late Friday night the 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.” Issued by Nicholas Msheliza, Director Organization and Mobilization for TCO, the statement narrated what it 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 of 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 on 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.”
Following suite, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen did not only rejected the recommendation but described the Abdullahi committee as faceless while saying the criteria applied in reaching such recommendation was subjective. A statement from the media office of Hayatu-Deen said “for the record, we would like to state that the process of arriving at a consensus candidate had collapsed.
The candidates involved could not reach a compromise amongst themselves, resulting in the decision of our principal, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen, and Governor Aminu Tambuwal to discontinue the process.
“The announcement we witnessed yesterday was not based on the principles of equity and transparency, which we believe should lead the country and the party into the future. The committee constituted by Prof. Ango Abdullahi is completely faceless and the evaluation criteria is totally subjective.
“It seems to us that this entire charade was designed to achieve a preconceived outcome.” Consensus is regional, ethno – religious gang up, says Atiku Though not part of the PDP presidential aspirants consensus group, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar said since he did not subjected himself to the charade, he cannot be bound by recommendation of such committee. The Technical Committee for the actualization of Atiku Abubakar’s Presidency in 2023 (TEECOM), in a statement authored by its chairman, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi urged supporters of the Waziri Adamawa to remain focused and be united in their efforts at seeing Atiku clinching PDP presidential ticket.
The statement by TEECOM read “Waziri Atiku Abubakar MA,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,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 “Finally, we urge our supporters to continue with consultations and townhall meetings with delegates across the country as the party prepares for the presidential primaries scheduled for Saturday/ Sunday May 28 and 29, 2022. Also concerned PDP stakeholders in the North reacted to the Ango Abdullahi committee report. Former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido said “the position of the Northern Elders is not only injurious to the North but equally injurious to the Northern Aspirants”.
Lamido in a statement in Saturday said “the attention of key stakeholders of the PDP in the Northern States is drawn to reports in the media that some Northern Elders have shortlisted two of our prominent and deserving aspirants as consensus PDP presidential candidates.
“Having widely consulted party leaders across the 19 northern states and FCT, it is hereby stated to our teeming party members and the general public that what is reported in the media is only the personal opinion of those who issued the statement and not the position of the PDP members in the north!
“Discussions are ongoing with all the aspirants in our party with a view to having a national consensus if possible or a least working towards having a smooth acrimony free National Convention.”
However, the selected consensus candidates commended the Ango Abdullahi committee for striving to minimize contest in the party. Speaking for the former Senate President,Bukola Saraki, his media adviser, Yusuph Olaniyonu said the recommendation is a welcome development.
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In a statement Sunday, he said “the process that eventually led to this decision cannot be faulted. It was pain-staking, thorough and transparent. One needs to commend and appreciate the elders who worked to actualise the process. May Allah bless them all, The Trumpet gathered.
“Their decision was based on equity, justice, and need for inclusion of all. Yes, one consensus candidate has not emerged but they have initiated a process which can help the party later on.
The process is a work-in-progress. One person will still emerge from the ongoing process here in the North. “The South also has an example to emulate in deciding on the aspirants that should proceed to the primaries considering the zones that have not produced a President before like the South East.
“A nation like Nigeria with all the current problems needs consensus building as a way of healing the nation and enlarging grounds of co-operation, unity and understanding.” The Bala Mohammed Presidential Campaign Organization expressed eternal gratitude to former President Ibrahim Babangida, and the entirety of Northern Elders who assisted him in reaching the decision for their labour of thankless patriotic duty and uncommon leadership in attempting to bring order and coherence to bear in a condition of acute political uncertainty and fractured political process.