Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How ex-VP emerged consensus candidate

It was shock and bewilderment and suppressed anger among the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential aspirants following announcement of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the Northern consensus candidate for the party’s presidential primaries.

Details emerging from the camps of the aspirants, General Ibrahim Babangida, General Mohammed Gusau and Abubakar Bukola Saraki,  indicated that they were not pleased with the process leading to Atiku’s adoption but resolved to accept the verdict in good faith.

Efforts made to seek their reaction to the outcome of the meeting of the 17 wisemen entrusted with the task of choosing the consensus candidate proved abortive as they declined to make official comment other than that they have accepted.
Daily Sun gathered that all the four aspirants were to issue joint statement on the outcome of the screening for the consensus Presidential candidates.

Alhaji Atiku, it was gathered emerged through a secret ballot cast by the 17 men but it could not be ascertained what their scores were as at press time.
Sources close to the Screening committee had earlier decided to carry out open voting, but opted for secret ballot “so that the identity of who votes for who will not bring animosity.”
It was learnt that after the selection, the four aspirants were invited to Mallam Adamu Ciroma’s residence at Wuse 2, Abuja, where the choice was disclosed to all of them before it was made public.

A source from the camp of one of the aspirants that lost out, quoting the report of his principal on how Atiku emerged, said “the majority of the committee members chose Atiku during screening because of his political doggedness and sagacity, which they believe placed him far and above other aspirants.”
“They said the North will need a ‘real’ politician to tackle President Jonathan at the primary and that person is Atiku. One, they argued that for him to be able to fight former President Olusegun Obasanjo to a stand still when his office as the vice-president was declared vacant, using politics and judicial process, spoke volume of his doggedness.

“As a vice president controlling and having influence on virtually all the governors to the chagrin of the then president and a measure of influence, they still believed he could still muster, is an advantage which is required to trash President Jonathan at the primaries.
“Even in terms of acceptability and marketability, both within and outside the PDP, the committee members are of the view that Atiku stands tall having fought his way through to get the party’s waiver even when it was obvious he was to be denied by the powers that be within the party.
Other aspirants, Babangida, Saraki and Gusau were said to have scored low on the acceptability marketability to the delegates.
Meanwhile unofficial reactions from the camps of the aspirants other than Atiku’s showed that they really were not impressed with the choice made by the consensus committee. While a spokesman of one of them alleged that the committee members were influenced by their political interest and not necessarily on who is the best among them, another told Daily Sun that with the choice of Atiku, the North has automatically lost to Jonathan in the primaries.
When pressed further to give reasons for this position, “you don’t worry, you will soon find out”, is what he told Daily Sun.