By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
LAGOS—THE 17-man Committee of Northern elders to choose a presidential candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was, yesterday, preparing grounds to manage the crisis that it now fears would shadow the revelation of its chosen aspirant.

The committee, according to sources, is scheduled to meet with traditional rulers and some other stakeholders today in Kaduna in part to win their confidence preparatory to the announcement likely to occur anytime from this weekend.

The committee’s anxiety came as chairman of the committee, Mallam Adamu Ciroma, came under blistering attack from one of the Northern political leaders, Senator Uba Ahmed, who accused him of hypocrisy, saying that Ciroma had, all his life opposed consensus in the choice of presidential candidates.

Ahmed, a Second Republic senator who later became Secretary General of the defunct National Party Nigeria, NPN, told Vanguard how Ciroma stoutly rebuffed plans to adopt Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Alhaji Shehu Shagari as Presidential and vice_presidential candidates of the party in 1978.

He also accused Ciroma of failing to adhere to the consensus arrangement when he ran for the presidential ticket of the National Republican Convention, NRC, in 1992.

Vanguard learnt that the Ciroma committee was now faced with the challenge of how it is going to manage reactions of the four presidential aspirants, namely Atiku Abubakar, Ibrahim Babangida, Aliyu Gusau and Bukola Saraki.

Sources close to the committee told Vanguard that the members were meeting last night prior to an enlarged meeting with some traditional rulers and prominent stakeholders in Kaduna.

It was learnt that the meetings were aimed at preparing the committee on how it would manage the consequences of the decision taken. Though all four aspirants have said that they would abide by the decision of the committee, it is generally believed that some would go ahead with their aspirations if they are not chosen.
Uba Ahmed flays Ciroma’s stand on consensus candidature

Meanwhile, Senator Uba Ahmed, one of the most powerful and prominent men in the Second Republic era has thrown salvos at Mallam Ciroma and his committee describing the very idea of consensus as anti_democratic and against the grain of politics.

While accusing Ciroma of opposing the idea of consensus in his past presidential runs, the senator said: “Adamu Ciroma was opposed to the principle of consensus in 1978 when he was a presidential candidate and we wanted Zik to come. When we wanted to merge NPP with NPN and for Zik to be presidential candidate and for Shagari to be his running mate, did he concede? No, he didn’t.

“We had fixed the convention for December 8 to 9, 1978, he was the one who stood up and said never. During the NRC, SDP days, he was again a presidential candidate when we met the senators for a consensus candidate, he refused when he realized that he was not going to get it. How now does he expect someone else to do what he himself refused to do?”

Aiming to gain relevance

Noting that the elder-statesman was only aiming to gain relevance, Ahmed said: “All that he is seeking is to force social and national relevance, he is seeking relevance and he is not consistent.

“He fought Obasanjo during the nomination and supported Alex Ekwueme and as soon as Alex Ekwueme lost, he abandoned Alex Ekwueme and joined Obasanjo and became director of campaigns of Obasanjo.

“When Alex lost why didn’t he continue with Alex, why did he go to become director of campaigns of Obasanjo? And when he became minister (under Obasanjo) who did he recommend to succeed him as minister? His wife!

“Now it is his cousin that is serving as a minister (Adamu Maina Waziri). Is it his house that represents the North? Which northerner has he ever recommended to be a minister? When he starts talking, he talks of North but when the benefits are being distributed it ends up his

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