The Northern Elders Forum has endorsed the Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, and Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, as the northern consensus presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party.
This was made known in Minna on Friday by Ango Abdullahi who spoke on behalf of the Elders.
Abdullahi stated that the two aspirants chosen by the elders should work together and decide on which of them would be the consensus candidate.
“For the purpose of this exercise, it is hereby resolved that Governor Bala Mohammed from the North-East and former Senate President Bukola Saraki from the North-Central be presented as the northern consensus candidates for the moment.
“The successful aspirants are hereby urged to work together to make allowance for further consultations to foster understanding among themselves and the PDP community to ensure a rancour-free primaries in which all eligible candidates would be free to exercise their right.”
Abdullahi added that of the four aspirants from the northern extraction that presented themselves for the consensus including Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Governor Bala Mohammed, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and Mohammed Hayatu-Deen, Saraki and Bala were picked.
He revealed that he was mandated to come up with criteria for selecting the consensus candidate which was conducted in three stages which included candidates assessment, zonal assessment, and PDP previous experiences.
“In the first phase, the opinions of six distinguished persons each from the three geo-political zones were sought with regards to each of the four aspirants.
“Each of the zonal delegates was allocated two votes to choose the first and second choice making a total of 36 votes overall.
He also revealed the outcome of the consultation was as follows “Aminu Tambuwal had 7 votes, 10 votes for Bala Mohammed, 10 votes for Bukola Saraki, and 5 votes for Mohammed Hayatu-deen.”
“One of the elders deferred his votes on grounds of continuing consultations with traditional rulers and other major stakeholders.
“Two members did not cast their second ballots bringing the total to 32 votes cast out of 36,” he said.
The Governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed, said they would meet to come out with the best for the unity of the North.
“We have reached an agreement to seek consensus so that we can close rank and build unity for the North and Nigeria. we are happy that after due process and due consultation, involving the PDP Northern Elders Forum, I and Saraki have been chosen as northern consensus candidate. We will go ahead and consult more among ourselves and bring out one candidate.”
He also said the selection process was transparent and accepted by all.
“The criteria used are transparent and acceptable to all of us. We are not proud or arrogant about this outcome, we are taking it with humility and we will make sure we reach out to others to make sure the PDP comes up with a consensus candidate free of rancour and division so that we can give Nigerians the leadership they dearly need at this time,” Bala said.