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General News of Sunday, 24 April 2022


2023: PDP NEC meets Wednesday, Atiku, Lamido reject consensus

Lamido, Atiku and Ayu Lamido, Atiku and Ayu

The former Vice President and the aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, ex-governor of Jigawa State, Lamido Sule, have rejected the consensus arrangement of northern elders for the party primaries.

Northern Elders Forum, led by Prof Ango Abdullahi, selected consensus candidates, former senate president, Dr Bukola Saraki, former Managing Director, FSB International Bank, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen, out of the four governors, which included Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, and Governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed, through the NEF report in Minna on Friday.

This is as the National Executive Committee of the PDP prepares to meet on Wednesday in Abuja to take a decision on the zoning of the presidency.

This was made known through a notice signed by the party’s National Secretary, Samuel Anyanwu.

Speaking on the consensus arrangement by the northern elders, Atiku notified his supporters that he did not subject himself to such deal organised by the NEF, and was therefore not bound to their selection of a candidate for the PDP.

Atiku spoke through a press statement by the Chairman of the Technical Committee for the Actualisation of Atiku Abubakar’s Presidency in 2023, TEECOM, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, on Saturday.

TEECOM’s statement read, “It must be stated categorically and equivocally that; Waziri Atiku Abubakar, the Vice President Federal Republic of Nigeria (from) 1999-2007 was never a part of this purported consensus arrangement, neither did he at any time nor in any place, subject himself to any purported consensus process.

“Therefore, Waziri Atiku Abubakar is not bound by any of the recommendations and conclusions of the purported report.”

It stressed that Atiku never believed in any consensus arrangement because it would further widen and deepen the regional, zonal, and ethno-religious “wounds that urgently need to be healed,” in the country.

Consensus by Northern Elders injurious-Sule Lamido

Similarly, ex-Jigawa State and chieftain of the PDP, Sule Lamido, said the selection of two consensus candidates by the NEF was not the position of the party, but “a personal opinion of those who issued the statement.”

The PDP chieftain lamented that “the position of the northern elders is not only injurious to the North but equally injurious to the northern aspirants”

A statement made available to one of our correspondents by Lamido on Saturday, said due consultations with members of the party across the 19 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory showed that the recent consensus arrangement did not represent the North.

He said there were current engagements by aspirants of the party to have a possible “national consensus” or an acrimony-free contest at the national convention.

Others were consulted on your behalf, Bauchi gov replies Lamido

But reacting, the Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, said it on his behalf.

Lamido had in a terse statement obtained by our Sunday PUNCH in Bauchi on Saturday said that it was a pity that Lamido wasn’t consulted before the endorsement.

“I have tremendous respect for Alhaji Sule Lamido as a former governor and as one who is leading former governors; he’s entitled to his own opinion. I don’t know what the northern elders used or who they have contacted to come up with the consensus and it is a pity if he was not consulted or if he was not contacted.

“However, he is not the only person in northern Nigeria and those that have been contacted have done the job on his behalf because such responsibility is always done on behalf of others but he is entitled to his own opinion. We respect him but even if he doesn’t endorse us, others have endorsed us,” he said.

“The choice of Saraki and I is for us to consult with other aspirants and come up with a candidate that will win the election for the PDP, a candidate that will rescue this country from the present maladministration we are experiencing.

Afenifere rejects arrangement

However, the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, has said the decision by some northern elders to endorse Saraki and Bala Mohammed as consensus candidates beat their imagination.

The group stressed that no group or section of the country was greater than Nigeria and her corporate existence.

In a statement sent to Sunday PUNCH titled “Northern Elders And Their Consensus Conundrum”, the group’s Secretary-General, Dr Sola Ebiseni, said the ‘‘abysmal failure of the Buhari regime, accentuated by sectional interest should have been enough lesson that the fortunes of any region are not necessarily directly proportional to having its people in power.’’

“They are deliberately oblivious of the indubitable history of Nigeria that the first executive ruler of Nigeria, Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa, August 1957 to January 1966, was from the North-East and specifically Bauchi State and that most of the military heads of the Nigerian state were of the north Central origin.

“They are obviously not as perceptive as the leader of the Afenifere who has insisted, in spite of the preponderance of aspirants from his zone, that the net of equity be widely cast to fish from the sea that has never produced the ruler in the real sense.

“It beats the imagination that the northern elders would fervently seek to execute their northern agenda in the PDP which controls only five of its 19 States. The nation weights in the wings to see the outcome of this gerrymandering,” he wrote.

According to the group, the resolve of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum that the next President of Nigeria, after Buhari’s eight years full term, should be a person of southern Nigerian origin, in the interest of equity, national sense of belonging and cohesion is the national consensus.

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