A former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Abubakar Kawu Baraje, has revealed how the northern leaders of the party arrived at Iyorchia Ayu as their consensus candidate ahead of the national convention.
Mr Ayu, a former Senate President and minister, was announced as the region’s candidate after a stakeholders’ meeting in Abuja on Thursday.
The governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Fintiri, who doubles as the chair of the PDP National Convention Organising Committee, announced after the meeting that Mr Ayu emerged from the three aspirants presented by the three geopolitical zones.
The main opposition party will hold its elective national convention on 30 and 31 October.
Speaking as a guest on “Politics Today” a programme on Channels Television on Thursday evening, Mr Baraje said the north-central, where Mr Ayu comes from, agreed to the decision after an agreement that the region could also contest for the party’s 2023 presidential ticket when the time comes.
“Presently, I can beat my chest, that the north-central people ranging from number one to the last, we are very comfortable with the decision. They are very comfortable with the choice of Iyorchia Ayu. The party has given us the consideration of what we believe will work out very, very beautifully for not only north central but for everybody at the party.
“And what does that mean? The proviso, which we crave for has been given to us, not only the north-central but the entire country, that no matter where the national chairman of PDP emerges, it does not preclude anybody from that particular zone and indeed the entire members from contesting the position for the presidential ticket when the time comes.
“That is the part that is the decision of the party. And we are home and dry with that decision. We are comfortable. The fears of everybody have been allayed,” he explained.
Mr Baraje admitted it was the tradition of the party to zone the chairmanship position and the presidential ticket to different regions but that it may no longer be so because, according to him, “this is an abnormal time.”
He said: “That was our tradition. So, that was our fear. And since this is not the usual time, many things happen when times are not usual, when situations are not normal. This is an abnormal time. Nigerians have suffered a lot. We are still suffering, and they need a party to deliver. We need a party to deliver Nigeria and the answer is PDP.
“So we need to do some alignment in order for us to be able to give the people what they want. The yearning of the people has to be satisfied. So this is not in our time, that tradition has to be, you know, adjusted to suit. And that is why you see us add the clause that no matter where the chairman comes from does not preclude anybody from that region from contesting the presidential seat.”