Stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party representing the 19 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory Monday in Abuja rejected the consensus arrangement by the Prof. Ango Abdullahi-led Committee convened by former Head of State, Ibrahim Babangida.
They discounted the arrangement as sectional and an attempt to unfairly narrow the search for the country’s next President to some regions of the north.
According to them, every aspirant had the liberty to run for office no matter their region of origin.
In an earlier report, The PUNCH had revealed that former Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, had emerged as consensus candidates; a development which sparked a bitter rift among the four parties who had earlier subjected themselves to the process.
Asides from Saraki and Mohammed, the two other participants include Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State and ace banker Mohammed Hayatu-Deen.
Rising from a meeting on Monday evening in Abuja, the stakeholders rejected the entire arrangement.
Speaking on behalf of the stakeholders, a former Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido maintained that a “Northern PDP” as mentioned in Ango Abdullahi’s report does not exist.
Lamido, who read out the communique issued at the end of the meeting, said, “We would like to state from the onset that there is nothing called the Northern PDP. 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 People’s Democratic Party 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 Nigerian!
“We are happy to note that the Northern Elders Forum has, through its secretary, Dr Hakeem Baba Ahmed, disassociated 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 in order 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.”
Lamido said Monday’s meeting was meant to reinforce his position made public on Saturday that all PDP Presidential aspirants are qualified to run.