- The consensus presidential arrangement of the Northern Elders Forum may have been waste of time after all
- The two politicians chosen by the northern elders are insisting on emerging as the sole aspirant after they were both selected
- The duo, Bauchi governor, Bala Mohammed, and former Senate President, Bukola Saraki are interesting in succeeding President Muhammadu Buhari
FCT, Abuja - A report by the Daily Sun newspaper indicates that Bauchi state governor, Bala Mohammed, and former Senate President, Bukola Saraki have refused to step down for each other ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The duo were chosen as the consensus candidates of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) recently as the preferred presidential aspirants of northern Nigeria.
According to the report, both of them have come under intense pressure as the northern elders intensify efforts to get one of them to step down, but they are yet to budge.
A highly placed source quoted in the report said the move being anchored by a former head of state, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd) is to ensure the aspirants' rally round the consensus candidate in the primary which comes up next month.
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He said the northern leaders have insisted that either Mohammed or Saraki must step down for the other to reduce friction during the primary.
He further said efforts are also ongoing to woo the Sokoto state governor, Aminu Tambuwal to accept the consensus deal, which he earlier rejected when the recommendations by the leaders did not favour him.
Speaking on the issue, Professor Ango Abdullahi, convener of the NEF said:
“The aspirants insisted on us choosing from among them but we told them it was not possible, so we consulted elders from across the northwest, north-central, and northeast before Tambuwal and Atiku Abubakar withdrew from the process.
“All elders voted for first and second choice and Bukola Saraki and Governor Bala Mohammed tied and both of them were asked to either pick one among themselves or do further consultation on the best among them and our recommendation was signed by me as Ango Abdullahi and not on behalf of NEF, a position I made very clear at a press conference I addressed in Minna.”
2023: Northern Nigeria may produce APC, PDP candidates during presidential poll
Recall that a recent report revealed that the north may produce the presidential candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC); PDP; and some of the top parties.
According to the report, with fewer northern aspirants, a division of southern votes at the presidential primaries could throw up northern candidates in both the APC and PDP.
A top northern politician quoted in the report said the north has 70 percent of the votes and would not give it to candidates who don’t understand the problem of northern Nigeria.
2023: Arewa elites applying divide-and-rule to stall power shift - Southern groups
Similarly, leaders of Afenifere, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and Middle Belt Forum (MBF), Pa Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Edwin Clark, and Prof. Bitrus Pogu, on Monday, April 25 accused the north of plotting to abort shifting power to the south.
The groups stressed that after eight years of Muhammadu Buhari’s presidency, nothing short of zoning the presidency to the southeast would resolve the restiveness in the country.
They, therefore, enjoined the two major political parties, the governing APC and PDP, to cede their presidential tickets for the 2023 poll to southeast geopolitical zone for peace, unity, and stability of the country.