Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has distanced itself from the arrangement that produced former Senate President Bukola Saraki and Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed as North’s consensus candidates in next month’s primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In a statement by its Director, Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, yesterday, the Forum said: “It has become necessary to address the impression created in part by mischief and in part by genuine confusion over the role of the convener of NEF in the effort to create consensus among four aspirants for the presidential ticket of the PDP.
“The idea to attempt to engineer a consensus among the aspirants was that of the aspirants themselves. Governors Aminu Tambuwal and Bala Mohammed, former Senate President Bukola Saraki and Mohammed Hayatudeen had informed President Badamasi Babangida of their intention and requested elderly intervention and advise 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. Abdullahi concluded that assignment and released a detailed report and recommendation, signing it in his individual capacity.
“It is important to make clear that the entire process did not involve NEF as a group and is not a product of the group. Abdullahi is free to undertake any lawful activity as a citizen, and genuine misinterpretations of his role are understandable.
“NEF 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 that 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.”