Northern Elders deny endorsing Saraki, Mohammed as consensus candidates

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The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has denied the reports that it has endorsed former Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed as consensus presidential aspirants of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) from the North.

The announcement of Mohammed and Saraki as northern consensus presidential aspirants of the PDP by Prof. Ango Abdullahi over the weekend, had continued to raise serious dust among Northern political elites.

While Tambuwal and Atiku Abubakar had since distanced themselves from the arrangement, declaring that the consensus plan had failed, former Jigawa State Governor Sule Lamido described it as a ruse and unacceptable.

Meanwhile, a statement by Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, NEF Director of Publicity and Advocacy, said the attempt to engineer a consensus among the aspirants was that of the aspirants themselves and not the forum.

He said, “Governors Aminu Tambuwal and Bala Mohammed, former Senate President Bukola Saraki and Mohammed Hayatudeen had informed for head of state, Badamasi Babangida, of their intention, and requested elderly intervention and advice in the event that their efforts failed to produce consensus.

“Babangida in turn requested Prof. Ango Abdullahi in his individual capacity to design and manage a process that could improve a consensus agreement among the four aspirants. Prof. Abdullahi concluded that assignment and released a detailed report and recommendation, signing it in his individual capacity,”

He said the entire process did not involve the Northern Elders Forum as a group, and was not a product of the group.

“Northern Elders Forum is not affiliated to any political party or aspirant, and is strongly committed to the creation of a level-playing field which will allow the emergence of the best leaders in the 2023 elections.

“It has also remained consistent in its conviction that all parts of the country should play their parts freely, unhindered by restrictions which offend principles of inclusion and fairness. The forum believes the North has excellent candidates whose fate should be left to party delegates and voters to decide,” he said.

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