By Chioma Gabriel/Henry Umoru
THE Mallam Adamu Ciroma-led committee charged with the responsibility of picking a Northern consensus candidate ahead of the PDP Presidential primaries has invited the four aspirants involved in the deal to a crucial meeting tomorrow in Kaduna.

General Ibrahim Babangida, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, General Aliyu Gusau and Governor Bukola Saraki are to be briefed by the committee on the selection of one of them as consensus candidate.

It is expected that the final announcement of the successful aspirant will be made on Tuesday, even as 32 political parties constituting the Patriotic Electoral Alliance of Nigeria, PEAN, vowed to check the “excesses,”of the ruling PDP.

Tomorrow’s meeting, Saturday Vanguard gathered will take a second look at the report of the selection sub-committee.

The four aspirants have pledged to support whoever carries the day.

The winner will then face President Goodluck Jonathan in seeking PDP’s presidential ticket for next year’s election.

Other members of the committee include a former Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji M.D. Yusuf; one-time national chairman of the PDP, Chief Audu Ogbeh; former Senate President, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu and Prof Ignatius Ayua.

Opposition ready for showdown

Meanwhile, spokesmen of the 32 political parties that constitute the Patriotic Electoral Alliance of Nigeria (PEAN), have declared that the decision to present common candidates at all levels is designed to check the excesses of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

The opposition parties, including All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Congress for Progressive Change , CPC, All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA,  have expressed optimism  that with credible aspirants like  Nuhu Ribadu, former Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission , EFCC, and presidential aspirant of Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN;  General Buhari, former military head of state and presidential aspirant of Congress for Progressive Change, CPC; Ibrahim Shekarau, Governor of Kano state and presidential aspirant of All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP; the PDP stands no chance.

Speaking in an encounter with Saturday Vanguard, an associate of General Buhari and Deputy Chairman, Board of Trustees of  Congress for Progressive Change, Dr. Sule Hamman said what Mallam Adamu Ciroma’s Committee is doing is no  threat to  the aspirations of General Buhari or the opposition  parties’ proposed alliance.

“We are talking about credibility here and tell me who amongst the consensus aspirants that can  contend with General Buhari ?” Dr. Hamman expressed optimism that the alliance of the opposition political parties in presenting   common candidates at all levels would put to rest moves by the PDP to continue to remain in power after 2011 general elections either through Jonathan or a consensus candidate.

“Our alliance is based clearly on programmes, principles and other things that are designed to effect positive change in the entire democratic culture in the country. It is not the same thing with consensus candidacy of the PDP. What we are doing is much stronger.

“CPC is concerned about creating synergy and developing a common candidate in opposition that would be promoted and driven by all the parties in alliance. This will be the basis of contesting election and countering power in the country.

“Forget the hype of the Ciroma committee. It is not the entire North that is talking  about consensus.  Consensus is not a northern regional position. An alliance of the opposition is stronger and  national in outlook. The hype about consensus does not concern us. It is not the only thing happening in the north.

It is just one of the things from the  north. The strong thing happening now is that there are political parties that are in contention to contest election and such parties are represented by strong candidates as we have in our party in the person of General Buhari.”

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