The quest by some Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidates for a consensus standard-bearer for the party ahead of their presidential primaries looks more like a failed mission, with former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and two others ( Dele Momodu and Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa) insisting that all aspirants must face party delegates in “democratic primary elections”.
The four leading candidates in the consensus campaign – former Senate President Bukola Saraki; Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State; Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal and former FSB International Bank Managing Director Mohammed Hayatudeen have crisscrossed the country in recent weeks promoting the idea of the consensus standard bearer.
Only last Wednesday, the pro-consensus aspirants led by Saraki met Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, where the issue of the consensus standard bearer was high on the agenda and strategies to actualize the mission. drawn.
Wike, speaking after the meeting, said their interest was to ensure the consolidation of unity in the party.
He said they are developing a terrific strategy that will bring the PDP coast to victory in the 2023 presidential election.
Atiku was however absent from the meeting.
The pro-consensus presidential aspirants had earlier met Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State on the matter.
A source close to the former vice president told THISDAY on Friday night that Atiku would never be part of a consensual deal for the PDP presidential ticket.
The source said some of the pro-consensus presidential aspirants, led by Saraki, met Atiku at his house in Abuja last week and the former vice president told them bluntly that what they were clamoring for was undemocratic, couldn’t work and that he would never be part of it.
Atiku reportedly advised all aspirants to go face the party delegates at the National Convention.
Another source close to the former VP told THISDAY: “The push for consensus is by people aiming to exclude a particular aspirant. Are they saying that the 13 aspirants who took forms would sit down and choose one of them as the consensus standard bearer? Does that make sense? Who will quit for whom? The aspirants must meet and sell their ideas to the delegates; not to meet on the consensus candidate. This is Atiku’s position.
Newspaper publisher and fellow presidential aspirant Dele Momodu told THISDAY on Friday night that the move for the consensus PDP standard bearer was dead on arrival.
Momodu said, “I see a very dangerous kind of desperation in our career politicians in Nigeria as our country prepares for the presidential election of 2023. It is unfortunate that some of our leaders are toying with the hard-won democracy whose most of them have never been part of it.
“At a time when our country is in its worst shape in decades, career politicians are only interested in misappropriating power for themselves and are utterly disinterested in engaging voters on how they plan to save our country and its long-suffering people on the edge of the abyss. total collapse.
“The concept of consensus as practiced in Nigeria is anathema to democracy as it is based on everything that democracy is not. It denies merit, consecrates illegality and enthrones mediocrity. Moreover, it encompasses corruption, intimidation and other invisible evils and threats. How are consensus supporters different from President Muhammadu Buhari who practically took control of APC as Alpha & Omega?
“How are they going to enforce their consensus on someone like me when I’ve bought my nomination form and am ready to argue all the way? They should please conserve and preserve their energies and let people make their choices in free and fair competition. This is the essence of democracy. We must save unfortunate Nigerians from this unnecessary distraction.
Another PDP presidential aspirant, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, questioned the principles that would govern the choice of a promoted consensus presidential candidate.
He said, “When I see Bukola Saraki moving around the country looking for a PDP consensus candidate for the presidency, he reminds me of his father many years ago, moving around the country saying that it was the North’s turn to present a candidate for the presidency.
“However, what are the principles governing the choice of a consensus presidential candidate? It is worth considering when the consensus is anchored on the principle of fairness, justice and fair play, and not on the indignant saga, to which APC was forced to submit recently by Mr. President. Consensus doesn’t have to come close to a storyline or arm-twisting drama.
“Why are we talking about consensus at this time when the demand for a Nigerian president of southeastern origin has reached critical mass at the national level? Someone brought the idea of this consensus to my attention, to join. When 10 people are arguing or vying for a position, you are not ruling out nine for the benefit of one person. Consensus must be a collective decision of everyone involved in this game. Period.”
Meeting with Makinde, Okowa
At the meeting of pro-consensus PDP presidential aspirants with Makinde, the governor said the party would work to ensure the success of a consensus presidential candidate arrangement for the PDP.
“We discussed behind closed doors the matter of the consensual arrangements that we are trying to put in place. We did this at our last party convention, and it was the first time the PDP managed to bring in a national president for the party through a consensual deal,” Makinde said.
During the meeting with Makinde, Saraki said, “Of course, we all have our individual interests in becoming president, but we have decided in our meetings that we are ready to submit to a consensual agreement. It is not only for a part of the country, but for the PDP as a party.
In another meeting with Okowa, Saraki also pleaded for a consensus candidate: “It’s important because we think the country needs unity. We are all eminently qualified to lead this country, but we believe that only one person will lead and that person needs everyone to improve Nigeria and fix this country.
The former governor of Kwara said the interest of the aspirants was secondary to that of the country, adding, “It also shows that this consensual agreement is not just about the issue of the North but about Nigeria.”
Saraki said that each of them was qualified to lead the country and that they had reached a consensus agreement to elect the party’s presidential flag bearer.
Furthermore, Saraki, during an advisory visit to Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State last month, said some of the northern PDP presidential aspirants were ready for a consensus candidate.
He said: “At the end of the day, only one person will lead this country in 2023; and we also decided that we were going to work closely together to make sure that we reached a consensual agreement between the three of us on how to move forward to lead this country.
The aspirants who bought the PDP presidential forms are Atiku, Saraki, Wike, Anyim Pius Anyim, Governor Mohammed, Governor Tambuwal, Hayatudeen and Dele Momodu.
Others are US-based doctor Nwachukwu Anakwenze; former Anambra State Governor Peter Obi; Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel; a pharmacist, Sam Ohuabunwa and an unknown politician from Imo State, Mrs. Oliver Tareila Diana.