Bala Mohammed, a presidential candidate on the Peoples Democratic Party’s platform and the governor of Bauchi State, has declared that the PDP consensus is a communal responsibility rather than a party matter.
Mohammed made this statement while answering questions on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.
When asked about Governor Aminu Tambuwal’s displeasure with Mohammed and former Senate President Bukola Saraki emerging as the PDP’s consensus candidates, Mohammed stated the task of selecting a consensus candidate was given to a Northern elder.
“I am not easily given to situations when I respond or join issues with my colleagues whom I hold in great regard and respect,” he explained. But obviously, issues of politicking and politics, behind-the-scenes talks and permutations, and meetings held before they are made public take a long time and involve many issues.
“Yes, we had mentioned earlier that this (choosing a consensus candidate) was taking a long time, and we’re about to the point where each aspirant will submit his form and the rest; the thing isn’t functioning as we had hoped, because what we did was join together of our own free will… We decided to eliminate animosity, close ranks, and give one of the elders of the North, not the PDP elders; this is not a party matter. It is not the obligation of one of the parties.
We chose to entrust this communal obligation to our elder, who is well-known in the North, and we determined that General Babaginda is eminently competent because he has no personal stake in the outcome, and he can also do it for other parties. He’s a stateman and a bipartisan figure.
“So we went to him and told him he could choose from (among) the four of us because we couldn’t agree on leaving it to just one of us.”
According to Mohammed, the Northern Elders Forum was involved by the former Head of State, General Ibrahim Babaginda (retd.), but not on a partisan basis.
According to him, the candidates expected Babaginda to make a unilateral choice that would be welcomed by all, but Babaginda instead chose to involve the Ango Abdullahi-led NEF in the process.
He added that a voting mechanism was used to assure the exercise’s authenticity.
“On his (Ango Abdullahi’s) part, he reached out to other elders within the three geopolitical zones of the North, and they, of course, conducted some voting,” Mohammed said. We were completely unaware of this. I had no idea who he was involving. So, at the end of the day, he needed to be operating behind the scenes as well, in order for this to be credible. This is something that would be acceptable.
“This isn’t a partisan issue.” It is a community obligation that has been assigned to him, and he has chosen to entrust it to the elders.”
“To me, this endorsement that Babangida and his group did is the most credible, is voluntary, and we have accepted it in good faith,” Mohammed continued, adding that “this endorsement that Babangida and his group did is the most credible, is voluntary, and we have accepted it in good faith.”