•Say convention’ll produce flag bearer
•Insist party neither South nor North
•Hayatu-Deen distances self from Northern consensus candidates
ABUJA—FOLLOWING last week’s adoption of former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and Bauchi State governor, Senator Bala Mohammed, as northern consensus candidates of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, by the Ibrahim Babangida-led group, leaders of the party from the 19 northern states, yesterday, said the PDP remained a party for Nigerians not an ethnic party for the South or North.
The leaders, made up of former governors, ministers and members of national and state Houses of Assembly, dismissed the Babangida/Ango Abdulllahi-led group that produced Saraki and Bala Mohammed, saying the founding fathers of the PDP created a party of national consensus where every zone or region had a sense of belonging.
In a joint communique by former Jigawa State governor, Sule Lamido, and former Minister of Police Affairs, Adamu Waziri, the PDP leaders urged all presidential aspirants to head to the convention to test their popularity.
The communique read in part: “We would like to state from the onset that there is nothing called the Northern PDP. Our coming together as key stakeholders from the northern states is only for the purpose of debunking any notion or impression, which might have been created by Prof Ango Abdullahi’s media statement about the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, having shortlisted consensus PDP presidential candidates.
“The People’s Democratic Party as conceived by its founding fathers is and remains the foremost national political platform wherein the democratic aspirations of its teeming members can be actualized devoid of any sectional consideration. Our party is neither Northern nor Southern but Nigeria.
“We are happy to note that the Northern Elders Forum has through its Secretary, Dr. Hakeem Baba Ahmed, disassociated itself from Prof Ango’s media statement. They made it clear that it is Ango’s personal opinion.”
The Lamido-led group noted that it had been informed that “they are discussing among themselves. They are consulting other senior citizens in order to create a better understanding and unity among themselves.
”Their ultimate objective is to build a national consensus that will produce a national candidate for the party.”
The communique further read: “Our meeting today is to reinforce the press release issued on 23rd April, 2022 by Sule Lamido.
”We maintain that all our aspirants are qualified to occupy the Nigerian Presidency under the PDP banner and we shall continue to support, promote and campaign and win the Presidency by the candidate produced by our national convention scheduled for May 28 – 29 2022.
“We appeal to all aspirants to be more temperate in their utterances and work to promote harmony and better understanding within the PDP family.
“We also want to assure all PDP members and indeed all Nigerians that we are aware of your pains, prayers, expectations, and hope to be rescued. Your abiding faith in PDP shall set us free in 2023.”
The meeting was attended by Sule Lamido, Adamu Waziri, ex-Minister of National Planning, Sanusi Dagash, former Kogi State governor, Ibrahim Idris, two-time governor of Adamawa State, Boni Haruna and a former lawmaker, Senator Dino Melaye, among others.
Hayatu-Deen distances self from PDP northern consensus candidates
In like manner, a Presidential aspirant on the platform of the PDP, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen, dissociated himself from the announcement of Governor Bala Mohammad and Senator Bukola Saraki as the preferred Northern consensus candidates for the PDP by the Prof. Ango Abdullahi-led committee.
In a statement by the Director-General, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen Campaign Organization, Senator Isa Galaudu, the politician said he could not reach an accord with Saraki, Bala Mohammed and Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal before they parted ways on the issue.
“For the record, it must be stated that the four candidates seeking a consensus had agreed that the process had collapsed prior to this announcement. The candidates could not reach a compromise resulting in the decision of our principal, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen, and Governor Aminu Tambuwal to discontinue the process.
“The purpose of the meeting yesterday (Saturday) was for candidates who participated in the consensus process to express their gratitude to the Northern Elders for their efforts in seeking a consensus.
“Unfortunately, one of the candidates had other plans which led to a press conference that misrepresented the outcome of the closed-door meeting.
“After this announcement, we consulted with the Northern Elders’ Forum and agreed that the campaign of Mohammed Hayatu-Deen would henceforth proceed independently to maintain the sanctity and integrity of the People’s Democratic Party.
“The sham news conference we witnessed yesterday reiterates the fact that Nigeria needs a new breed of leaders. We believe that true leadership should be built on the principles of truth, integrity, and equity.
“Going forward, the focus of our candidate, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen, is to prove to our great party and Nigerians in general that he is the best man for the job, as we proceed towards a truly democratic process at the PDP primaries.”