- Former Senate President Bukola Saraki has not dropped his presidential ambition for former VP Atiku, his campaign council has said
- Earl Osaro Onaiwu, the director-general of the Saraki Campaign Council, added that Governors Tambuwal and Mohammed have also noted stepped down for Atiku
- The Saraki campaign council's DG said his principal and the other two governors only met with the former VP to discuss the possibility of having a consensus candidate in 2023
Abuja - The campaign council of Senator Bukola Saraki has dismissed a report claiming that he and some other aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have stepped down for former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
The report had alleged that the trio of Saraki, Governors Aminu Tambuwal and Bala Mohammed of Sokoto and Bauchi states, respectively, had stepped down for the former vice president.
However, Earl Osaro Onaiwu, the director-general of the Saraki Campaign Council, in a statement released on Wednesday, March 30, in Abuja dismissed the report as mischief, Daily Trust reported.
He added that the report was planted by those who want to gain the PDP presidential ticket by deceit.
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The statement partly read:
“Our attention has been called to report, that our candidate alongside their Excellencies Governors Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto and Bala Mohammed of Bauchi states have stepped down for former Vice President Atiku Abubakar for the PDP presidential ticket.
“The report is sheer mischief and planted by those who want to gain the PDP ticket by deceit."
Why Saraki, others met Atiku, Onaiwu reveals
Onaiwu said though Saraki and others met with Atiku on Monday, March 28, the meeting was based on the push towards having a consensus camdidate.
The statement added:
"For clarity purposes, our candidate and three other aspirants met with Vice President Atiku on Monday with the sole objective to inform him of their push towards a consensus candidate for the party.
“At that meeting, there was no talk of any of the aspirants stepping down as it is yet premature. To therefore find a planted story smacks of desperation and ill-intention.
“For the avoidance of doubt, our candidate is eminently qualified for the PDP presidential as a former two-term governor, chairman of the Governors Forum, the most engaging and result-oriented Senate President and a former presidential aspirant."
He said that Governors Tambuwal and Mohammed are also qualified to be considered for the ticket.
“When and if there is a concrete agreement on a winning consensus and others step down for whoever, it will be done openly, but until then, Senator Bukola Saraki, Tambuwal and Mohammed are still in the race,” Onaiwu added.
2023: Saraki meets Ortom, disclose details on consensus
In another related report, Saraki, on Monday, March 28 met with the governor of Benue state, Samuel Ortom over the issue of consensus candidacy and zoning.
Saraki who led a delegation of other top members of the PDP to Benue state said the introduction of consensus candidacy is to avoid acrimony within the party faithful.
He also stated that his visit to Makurdi was to intimate Governor Ortom of this development as a major stakeholder in the party.