A presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party and Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, has said the PDP consensus was not a party affair but a communal responsibility.
Mohammed stated this while fielding questions on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.
Asked about Governor Aminu Tambuwal’s grievance over the emergence of Mohammed and former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, as the PDP’s consensus candidates, Mohammed said the responsibility of choosing a consensus candidate was put on a Northern elder.
He said, “I am not easily given to this kind of situation where I retort or I join issues with my colleagues that I have very high regard and respect for. But certainly the issues of politicking and politics, behind the scene discussions and permutations, and meetings being held before they come out to the public; it takes a lot time and a lot of issues to be discussed.
“Yes, we had discussed earlier on that this thing (choosing a consensus candidate) was taking long and we’re almost getting to the point that each aspirant will submit his form and the rest; the thing is not working as we wanted, because what we did was to come together out of our free volition…and we thought we would reduce rancour, close rank and give one of the elders, not the PDP elders, one of the elders of the North; it is not a party affair. It is not a party responsibility. It is a communal responsibility that we decided to put on our elder who is well respected in the North, and we agreed that General Babaginda is eminently qualified because he has no personal interest, he can also do it for other parties. He’s a bi-partisan person, he’s a stateman.
“So we went to him and said he can choose between (among) the four of us because we couldn’t really agree to leave it to anyone of us.”
Mohammed said the former Head of State, General Ibrahim Babaginda (retd.), involved the Northern Elders Forum but not on partisan basis.
He said the aspirants expected Babaginda to take a unilateral decision, which they believed would be accepted by them all, but Babaginda decided to involve the Ango Abdullahi-led NEF in the process.
He stated that a voting process was adopted to ensure the credibility of the exercise.
Mohammed said, “On his (Ango Abdullahi’s) own part, he reached out to other elders within the three geopolitical regions of the North and, of course, they did some voting. We did not know this. I did not know the people he involved. So, at the end of the day, he had to be working behind the scene too, so that this thing would have credibility. This thing would have acceptability.
“It is not a party issue. It is a community responsibility given to him and he decided to use the elders to do it.”
Mohammed further said the step they took was a pre-primaries effort made to reduce rancour and close rank, adding that, “To me, this endorsement that Babangida and his group did is the most credible, is voluntary, and we have accepted it in good faith.”