Some former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors yesterday denounced the consensus candidacy being promoted by four presidential aspirants of the party.
They argued that such an idea was capable of causing disunity that could affect the opposition party’s chances of winning next year’s elections.
The former governors are Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Boni Haruna (Adamawa) and Ibrahim Idris (Kogi).
They gave the warning after a meeting hosted by Lamido at his Abuja residence, The Nation reports.
A former Police Affairs Minster, Adamu Waziri, Senator Dino Melaye and other stakeholders of the PDP also attended the parley.
Waziri and Lamido are supporters of Saraki and another presidential aspirant, Atiku Abubakar.
Saraki, who, however, insisted on consensus, continued his consultation with delegates to the May 28-29, 2022 primary of the PDP yesterday.
The former Senate President is one of the quartets comprising Governor Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State and Alhaji Mohammed Hayatu-Deen that initiated the consensus.
They had suggested that each of the two regions (North and South) should present one candidate for the National Working Committee (NWC) and National Executive Council (NEC) to pick one as a consensus candidate.
Aspirants from the South had earlier kicked against the option, insisting that power should shift from the North to their region.
Some of them were at the Greater Nigeria Conference (GNC) yesterday, in which the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG), Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and Middle Belt Forum (MBF) insisted that the office should be micro-zoned to the Southeast.
Northern Elders Forum (NEF) leader Prof. Ango Abdullahi sparked controversy at the weekend by announcing Saraki and Mohammed as the two PDP “consensus aspirants of the North.”
In the statement, the former governors and the stakeholders argued that what the PDP needed most now was a synergy that would result in producing Nigeria’s next President in 2023 and not an idea that could result in North-South divide within the party.
The group cautioned against profiling the 17 presidential aspirants along ethnic and regional lines and charged them to close ranks and work together for the success of the party in 2023.
According to them, the ripple effects of North-South profiling, if not checked, could also engulf PDP structures in the states and geo-political zones.
They argued that the disagreement generated by the controversial announcement of two “Northern consensus” presidential aspirants by Abdullahi was capable of causing disunity.
The statement reads in part: “Our coming together as key stakeholders from the Northern states is only for the purpose of debunking any notion or impression, which might have been created by Prof. Ango Abdullahi’s media statement about the Northern Elders Forum having shortlisted consensus PDP presidential candidates.
“The PDP, as conceived by its founding fathers, is and, remains the foremost national political platform wherein the democratic aspirations of its teeming members can be actualised devoid of any sectional consideration. Our party is neither Northern nor Southern but Nigeria!
“We are happy to note that the Northern Elders Forum has, through its Secretary, Dr. Hakeem Baba Ahmed, dissociated itself from Prof. Ango’s media statement. They made it clear that it is Ango’s personal opinion.
“The aspirants have informed us that they are discussing among themselves. They are consulting other senior citizens to create a better understanding and unity among themselves.
“Their ultimate objective is to build a national consensus that will produce a national candidate for the party.
“We urge them to keep up with this commendable effort.”
The elders maintained that all the 17 PDP aspirants are qualified to serve president under the PDP banner.
They promised to continue to support, promote and campaign for whoever might emerge the candidate at the primary scheduled to hold between May 28 and 29, 2022.
Two presidential aspirants of the party-Senator Saraki and Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike continued their consultations with delegates in three states.
Saraki was in Ondo and Plateau states while Wike visited Kaduna where he donated N200 million to victims of banditry.
In Akure, the Ondo State capital, the former Senate President asked the delegates to see him as their son and back his aspiration which, according to him, has been okayed by NEF.
He said, “The beauty is that the Northern Elders have spoken and I think we should go with that face.”
.At his meeting with Plateau State delegates in Jos, saraki said he should be supported because the Northcentral of which he is also a part of had been marginalised for long.
“When it is time to get something, they will call us, but once it is done they forget us. We need to unite this country, this country has been so divided. We need a man that has the capacity, not a man that will say I am not aware or somebody that does not know what is happening,” he said.
The presidential hopeful, who attributed the rising insecurity in country to continued lack of accountability and political will to punish the perpetrators, said he would end injustice in the country if elected President.
In Kaduna , Wike pleaded with the delegates to give him at least 80 per cent of their votes. He donated the N200million to victims of banditry and violent clashes in the state through the state PDP.
“I am here to say that this country needs rescue, we came here to say we must not take sentiment to 2023 election, we came here to tell you that what PDP requires now is to get somebody who is courageous, who can withstand this party and win this election in 2023.
“I am not here to tell you that am just a mere presidential aspirant, I want to win election if you give me the ticket on 29 and 30 of May 2022,” the governor said.
Former governor of the state and one time National Caretaker Chairman of the PDP Ahmed Makarfi said he would not hesitate to make Wike President if he had the power.
”If is it appointment, I would simply appoint you and you will go home and rest. But this is democracy, it is convention and the delegates know those who have been with them and will continue to be within them. The party people know. And I am vigorously working for it,” Markarfi told Wike.