The Northern Elders Forum has endorsed former Senate President, Bukola Saraki and incumbent Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, as northern consensus presidential candidates for the Peoples Democratic Party.
Ango Absullahi disclosed this on Friday in Minna on behalf of the Elders.
According to Abdullahi, four aspirants from the regioj had availed themselves for a consensus screening.
He gave the candidates to include Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Governor Bala Mohammed, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and Mohammed Hayatu-Deen.
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However, Saraki and Bala were picked by the elders as Northern consensus candidates.
He said candidates assessment, zonal assessment, and PDP previous experiences were used as criteria to determine the aspirants.
Abdullahi emphasized that the selection process was transparent and accepted by all the aspirants.
“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.”
“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.
Abdullahi urged the two aspirants chosen by the elders to work together and decide on which of them would be the consensus candidate.
On his part, Governor Bala Mohammed, said another meeting would be convened in a bid to pick the best candidate 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.”
“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.