•Insist consensus arrangement pathway to stability
By Dapo Akinrefon
There are strong indications that northern elders may throw their weights behind the North Central presidential aspirant to contest the 2023 election.
The move, Vanguard gathered, is geared towards placating the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum, who have been agitating that the presidency must be zoned to the South.
It was gathered that there are on-going moves by northern leaders to ensure that the candidate from the Peoples Democratic Pary, PDP, enjoys the support of majority of Nigerians.
It was further gathered that moves were intensified during the week to push for a candidate from the North Central bridge builder.
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One of the leaders involved in this latest move, who hails from the North West, disclosed that “what the PDP needs is a presidential candidate that can assuage certain fears and long-held apprehension which continue to sow division in the country.
“If the demography was that straightforward, nothing would have stopped our party from mobilising massively for a southern candidate but contemporary reality, as well as the game going on in the All Progressive Congress, APC, suggest that our candidate should be a person that will appeal to almost all Nigerians from the different zones.
“It is in view of this that some of us have started and we are making good progress, to ensure that the North Central Zone which has neither been given a vice presidential nor a presidential slot, produces our candidate.
“The South East, too, has never produced a president but it has produced a Vice President before.
“We are reaching out to leaders in Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum and Ohanaeze. It is about the votes in the general election and a North Central candidate would not make the North lose face while, at the same time, leaders in Afenifere and Ohanaeze with an alliance with the MBF may not be too alienated.
‘’We are in back end consultations, preparatory to ensuring that our candidate has the necessary mass appeal
“All our aspirants are sound and they can rescue this sinking ship that Nigeria has become. But in politics, you need to look at the numbers and weigh your options correctly.”
On the issue of consensus candidacy, that produced Bala Mohammed and Abubakar Bukola Saraki, he said: “Look at the aspirants and their track record as well as the issue of baggage.
‘’Is it in terms of being able to work with other colleagues or being sellable to Nigerians, especially the business community and the youth? Each person has a record and it is there for all to see. ‘’When you were a governor, a vice president or a legislator, what did you achieve and how will that help our party and Nigeria? These are the issues.”