ABUJA—EVEN with the declaration of President Goodluck Jonathan for the 2011 Presidential election, last Saturday, his immediate past National Security Adviser, NSA, General Aliyu Mohammed Gusau, vowed, yesterday, that the North would not give up on the Zoning arrangement of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP just as former Vice President Atiku Abubakar declared that incumbency factor will not work in favour of President Goodluck Jonathan in the forthcoming party presidential primaries.

Meanwhile, President Jonathan has thanked Nigerians for their support when he declared his intention to run for the office of the President in the 2011 general elections and  re-assured that his commitment to the transformation of the country was unwavering.

Director-General, Gusau Campaign Organisation, Senator Ben Obi, who addressed newsmen noted that the North was very serious in presenting the next President of Nigeria in 2011, saying that it was against this backdrop that all the presidential aspirants agreed on a consensus option ahead of the election.

The former vice presidential candidate to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar in the 2007 Presidential election, said that Gusau was aware of the seriousness of the matter, adding  that the Committee which is saddled with the responsibility of picking a consensus northern candidate would zero down on one option, and that this would be accepted by him, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Dr. Olusola Saraki.

He said that Gusau would abide by the resolution of the committee working for the emergence of a consensus candidate from amongst the aspirants from the North, just as he promised to be committed to the course.

Senator Obi said the former NSA’s coming out for the most exalted position in the country was both logical and strategic when considered against the backdrop of the turbulent political period he had to join President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to help stabilize the government.

He said: “It has been repeatedly stated by the respective parties to the talks that once a consensus candidate emerges, the other campaign organizations shall, readily cooperate and work together towards achieving our collective aspiration.

As the talks for a consensus candidate continue, please note for emphasis that we are relentlessly pursuing the cardinal objectives that will expectedly culminate in General Gusau clinching the Presidential nomination of the PDP. His rich antecedents evidently attest to his competence. The fact that no debilitating baggage associated with him over the forty years of untainted public service, speaks volumes about the moral and intellectual force of the of the candidate as a person and a presidential aspirant.”

Also, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar who submitted his nomination form, yesterday, declared that the incumbency factor will not help president Jonathan in the party primaries

North’ll present consensus candidate — Atiku

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, said in Abuja that the “North will present a consensus candidate for the 2011 presidential election.”

Atiku who made the remark when he went to the PDP National Secretariat to submit his nomination form, said he would run in the presidential election on the platform of  PDP.

Speaking with newsmen, Atiku said it was no longer an allegation, but a fact that the North would come up with a candidate for the forthcoming presidential election, noting: “It is not an allegation, there is a process for the emergence of a consensus candidate from the North. It will be an indication that the North is even more united if it can agree to come up with a consensus candidate.”

Atiku had picked the nomination form on September 16.  He is one of the 15 members of the PDP granted waivers by the party to enable them contest various positions in the 2011 general polls.

Top on the list of those granted waiver during the 53rd National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting of the PDP were Atiku, Abia Governor Theodore Orji and Deputy Governor of Imo Ada Okwuonu.

It was learnt that the former vice president, in spite of the opposition to his request for waiver from politicians from his home state of Adamawa, was able to strike a deal with the G-84, a group of state secretaries and chairmen of PDP on the eve of the NEC meeting.

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar also said that incumbencyfactor will not count in the forthcoming party presidential primaries. A statement issued by the Atiku Campaign Organisation in Abuja stated that incumbent presidents had been known to lose elections in the sub-region. He made the remarks at the end of a meeting with his North-Central coordinators in Jos, Plateau..

He further charged the coordinators to be committed, aggressive and diligent in courting party delegates. “Go out there and work hard, engage delegates one on one, visit them, call them and convince them that Nigeria will be safe in Atiku’s hands.

In their response, the delegates promised to do their best for the candidate. The statement noted that 30 coordinators from Plateau, Kogi, Niger, Benue, Nasarawa and Kwara States attended the meeting.

In a related development, Atiku told newsmen that he was the most acceptable candidate “if the North is to agree on a consensus candidate.” He made the statement during a visit to Wase to commiserate with the people over the demise of their Emir, Alhaji Haruna Abdullahi, adding: “We have all agreed to produce a consensus candidate and I believe I have the best credentials to be that candidate.”

The former vice president reaffirmed his belief in the PDP zoning arrangement, saying that it was enshrined in the party’s constitution. The aspirant, who was received at the palace by the Emir of Kanam, Alhaji Mohammed Babangida, had said that the demise of the monarch “would be felt by all in the country.’

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