Former Senate President Bukola Saraki and Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed have been rejected by Afenifere as northern consensus candidates for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential ticket in 2023.
The Pan-Yoruba socio-political organization was reacting to the Northern Elders Forum’s (NEF) announcement that Saraki and Mohammed had been endorsed as the PDP’s northern consensus candidates.
Anaedoonline.ng notes that NEF Chairman Ango Abdullahi announced on Friday in Minna, Niger State, that the decision to choose Saraki and Mohammed was reached after they scaled the selection criteria.
These factors, according to the NEF chief, were candidate evaluations, zone evaluations, and PDP’s prior experiences.
The acceptance of the two candidates, Afenifere stated in a statement issued by its Secretary-General, Chief Sola Ebiseni, on Saturday, proves that the NEF was not fair and just in its evaluation.
He said that the NEF’s position does not reflect the views of all PDP members in the north, despite the fact that it is their unalienable right to pick anyone they choose.
The statement reads: “While we concede their inalienable rights of choice in this regard, the overriding interests of the continued corporate existence of Nigeria requires more reflective statesmanship.
“We observe that since the issue of succession to the office of the president assumed the front burner in the national discourse, some of the leaders from the north have orchestrated several schemes at keeping the office of the president in northern Nigeria after the eight years tenure of President Buhari from the zone contrary to the popular and prevailing mood of the nation in favour of the emerging political culture in favour of southern Nigeria.
“In another breadth, they condemned the decision of President Goodluck Jonathan to exercise his constitutional right to seek the maximum second term in office as a deliberate denial of the rotational turn of the North which they vow to recoup as if the Nigerian State is their estate.
“At another time, they canvass open contest in vain confidence in the undue advantage which the Nigerian military constitution bestows on a section of the north.
“In their present exercise, it is intriguing that the northern elders inconsistently set aside all their vaunted factors in preference for equity.
“In their sermons, they settled for aspirants from the North Central and North East against that of the North West only on the ground of adjudged equity that the zone had produced presidential candidates and presidents.
“They are deliberately oblivious of the indubitable history of Nigeria that the first executive ruler of Nigeria, Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa, August 1957-January 1966, was from the North East and specifically Bauchi State and that most of the Military Heads of the Nigerian State were of the North Central origin.”
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