Finally the Northern Wise-men for the selection of the consensus Presidential aspirant from the region have chosen former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar as the consensus presidential aspirant of Peoples Democratic Party to slug it out with President Goodluck Jonathan for the primary election. Other aspirants for the consensus congratulate him.
The wise-men under the platform of Northern Political Leaders’ Forum (NPLF), led by former Finance Minister, Alhaji Adamu Ciroma had set up a 17-member sub- committee to select a consensus aspirant when President Goodluck from the Southern part of the country signified his intention to contest for the Presidency in 2011 against the speculated agreement in the ruling party.
The contenders from the North as PDP Presidential aspirants include former President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, former National Security Adviser Lt.-Gen. Aliyu Gusau and Chairman Governors’ Forum who is also Kwara State Governor Bukola Saraki. The four aspirants, Economic Confidential gathered, had met with the committee on Sunday November 21, 2010 before the announcement of the consensus candidate.
In a statement by the Consensus Committee, jointly signed by Mallam Adamu Ciroma and the Secretary of the Committee Abdulkadir Bello states that “We thank all Nigerians, supporters and critics alike for their views over these past several weeks. While we note these views and respect each one of them, we insist that no individual, organisation or society dreaming of success and greatness can achieve these dreams without respect for others and honouring agreements voluntarily entered into.
“This is especially so where these agreements have been transformed into a binding document, a constitution, which governs the conduct of those who subscribe to it.”
The statement further added that: “We are pleased to announce that we have concluded our assignment of arriving at a consensus aspirant today (Monday) and one out of the four aspirants who submitted themselves to the process has emerged. He is Atiku Abubakar.
“We are glad and proud that we have finally arrived at this outcome after several weeks of hard work and wide consultations. We are proud because of the unusual honour and extraordinary privilege given us by the four gentlemen who placed their political destinies in our hands. We are humbled by the strength of their faith.”
The statement warned that “greatness could not be attained without respect for agreements.”
The committee expressed gratitude to all the four Presidential aspirants for their humility and appreciated the assurance given by all of them to to work together to ensure that Abubakar clinched the PDP ticket in the presidential primaries.
Atiku Abubakar: Former Vice President said he was humbled by his endorsement by the consensus committee and that the decision by Gusau, Babangida, Saraki to abide by the decision of the committee was a further testimony of their patriotism. He described them as ‘eminently qualified’ for the office of President, saying that “Nigerians would forever remain grateful to them for their contributions to the peace, unity and stability of the country.”
General Babangida: In a statement by the Director of IBB campaign organisation, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi, noted that the consensus process would go down in the annals of this great nation as historic and uniquely interesting. The statement added that “the IBB Campaign Organisation commits itself to all the elements of the Consensus Agreement and understanding. On behalf of His Excellency, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, GCFR, we wish to congratulate His Excellency, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, GCON as the Consensus Candidate. God bless Nigeria.”
General Gusau: The spokesperson of and the Director of Media and Publicity of General Gusau campaign office, Mr. Segun Babatope, promised to work with Abubakar. He said that Gusau’s belief that an electoral contest should not be a do-or-die affair, stressing that he went into the race to serve.
Governor Bukola Saraki: The Campaign Organisation of Governor Saraki through a statement by its Director-General, Dr. Udenta O. Udenta, said the aspirant had accepted the consensus committee’s decision in the spirit of peace, national unity and sustenance of democracy in our great country. Its statement further congratulated Abubakar and pledged to abide by the cooperative arrangement of the process that produced him.
President Goodluck Jonathan: The Goodluck/Sambo Campaign Organisation also issued a statement through its Director of Media and Publicity, Mr. Sully Abu. The statement said that the President is not rattled by the emergence of Abubakar as the consensus aspirant of the Northern political forum. It insisted that Jonathan would beat any aspirant picked by the consensus committee. The statement further questions the credential of other aspirants thus: “You also have to consider the credibility of all those who are running. Are they the kind of people who want to come and serve the people or themselves? What is their background like? These are the things you have to consider.”
Mallam Nuhu Ribadu: Strangely a presidential asprant of Action Congress of Nigeria and former EFCC Boss, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, also reacted to the selection of the consensus aspirant for PDP. He said he hoped that with the emergence of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the PDP would ultimately give consideration to a national imperative as a guide to all its processes.
PDP National Secretariat: Speaking on behalf of ruling party, its National Publicity Secretary, Prof. Rufai Alkali, said as elections approach, politicians are bound to adopt strategies to achieve their objectives. He said the party’s principle had always been to provide a level playing field for all aspirants. According to him: “The consensus approach is, therefore, an arrangement purely among individual aspirants within the party. The leadership of the party has no input in this, as it is a cardinal policy of the National Working Committee to remain neutral. Our primary concern has been and still is to provide a level playing field for all contestants at all levels.
To read the last Atiku’s interview with the Economic Confidential, click on Too Much Government in the Economy- Atiku