How PDP northern elders picked Saraki, Bala Mohammed as consensus candidates

Bukola Saraki

Former Senate President Bukola Saraki and Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed have emerged as northern consensus candidates for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential ticket.

Their emergence was part of the recommendations made by a committee which is made up of northern leaders and presidential aspirants in the party.

Saraki, Mohammed, Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal and Mohammed Hayatu-Deen were the four aspirants who took part in the consensus arrangement.

They met former military president, Ibrahim Babangida, who advised them on how to arrive at a consensus candidate.

Former vice-chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Ango Abdullahi, stated the recommendations in a communique.

In phase one of the exercise called “candidates assessment,” the leaders sought the opinions of six persons from the three geo-political zones in the north. They were asked to also cast their votes.

“At the end of this phase, Saraki and Gov. Mohammed scored 10 votes each while Tambuwal and Hayatu-Deen got seven and five votes respectively,” the communique said.

In phase two, “zonal assessment”, Saraki got eight votes, while Mohammed and Tambuwal got seven and two votes respectively. And no vote was recorded for Hayatu-Deen.

In the third phase, Abdullahi said resort was made to the historical antecedents of the PDP with regards to previous northern aspiration and the following conclusion was reached.

“That the North-west has had the opportunity of contesting and even forming government in 2007.

“In 2011, a consensus was made among the four northern candidates, which North-east got but lost at the primaries. In 2019, it got the slot again though the party could not form the government.”

The panel also noted that the north-central has not had a single opportunity to get the PDP ticket since the inception of the current fourth republic.

“For the purpose of this exercise, it is hereby resolved that Gov. Bala Mohammad from the North-east and former Senate President Bukola Saraki from the North-central be presented as the northern consensus candidates for the moment,” he said.

Meanwhile, the PDP is yet to decide whether to zone the Presidency to a particular region.