Less than a week after the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Northern consensus candidate arrangement failed, Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, yesterday held a secret meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The meeting, which the governor described as a private meeting, however sparked insinuations over a possible plot by Tambuwal to dump the PDP for a second time.
Tambuwal, who is one of the contenders for the PDP presidential ticket for next year’s election, had lost out in the consensus arrangement which saw Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State and former Senate President Bukola Saraki emerge winners of the controversial selection process midwifed by the chairman of Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Prof Ango Abdullahi.
Besides Tambuwal, other PDP presidential aspirants involved in the controversial consensus arrangement are Bala Mohammed, Saraki and former managing director of FSB International Bank, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen.
The Sokoto State governor, when accosted by State House correspondents after the meeting, declined to make comments on the outcome of his meeting with the president, who is a member of the APC, saying his visit to the villa was a private matter.
Tambuwal, who is the current chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, has a history of changing political parties.
In 2003, he was elected into the House of Representatives on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) for Kebbe/Tambuwal Federal Constituency.
Few months to the 2007 general elections, he defected to the Democratic People’s Party (DPP), alongside the former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa. But when the DPP denied return tickets to former ANPP legislators, Tambuwal swung back to the ANPP, where he eventually succeeded in picking up a ticket for the election.
And when the ANPP governorship candidate for Sokoto State in the 2007 election, Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko, dumped the party for the PDP, Tambuwal also followed him to the PDP.
On October 28, 2014, in the build-up to the 2015 general election, as the Speaker of the House of Representatives Tambuwal left the ruling PDP for the opposition APC and won the governorship seat in Sokoto. He returned to the PDP in the build up to the 2019 election and contested the presidential ticket of the party.
But reacting to the outcome of the meeting amidst speculations of the governor’s possible defection from the PDP, Tambuwal’s media adviser, Mohammed Bello, dispelled the insinuation, saying he was invited by the president which shouldn’t be interpreted to mean he wants to defect.
Bello told LEADERSHIP that the governor’s visit to the villa had nothing to do with the collapse of the consensus candidate arrangement in the PDP.
Bello said, “Well, the issue is he is a sitting governor and if he is summoned by the president to come and see him, that should not be interpreted that he wants to defect.
“The presidential system of government is a bi-partisan system; anybody that is governor under any dispensation is likely to meet across party lines with his colleagues and his superiors. So that is the way I see it. I do not want to interpret the meeting in party terms.”
When asked about the coming of the meeting barely days after the consensus deal collapsed, Bello said, “Like I said, the consensus arrangement didn’t pan out well. But he is a politician and he is used unexpected circumstances cropping up but that does not mean he will just jump like that.
“If there is going to be any such movement in the nearest future, I think time will tell. My own permutation is, what is it going to be like; he is a presidential aspirant in PDP and then he wants to leave from PDP to APC, on what ground?
“If he forfeits his aspiration in PDP, then what is APC offering him. He knows why he met with the president in camera. You and I can only speculate on that.”
Meanwhile, former governor of Imo State and presidential aspirant on the APC platform, Rochas Okorocha, has said President Buhari would not impose outsiders like former President Goodluck Jonathan, Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele or Africa Development Bank (ADB) president Akinwunmi Adesina on the party.
He further said the prospects of a consensus presidential candidate for APC would not work.
Okorocha stated this on Channels TV programme, Politics Today, while responding to a question that an outsider in the mould of Jonathan, Emefiele and Adesina could be favoured by Buhari for the party ticket.
He also insisted that the only consensus or zoning arrangement that would make any sense is if it chooses a South East aspirant as the party’s candidate,
He said, “What will be the reason not to get a candidate from the South East? Is it that we do not have anybody that qualifies to do that job or it is that they are not smart enough?”
He also said the president will not just handpick anybody and impose on the party as candidate.
“I’m telling you about the President Buhari that I know, except if it is a new President Buhari that will now say this is my candidate and this is the consideration.
“I can see that things have changed for this coming election. The delegates we have now are quite different from what we used to take in the past. It is just to make consultations and make people see the reason why it should be,” he said.
Zone Presidency, Lose Our Votes, Northern Youths Threaten APC, PDP
Meanwhile, Northern youth organisations under the umbrella of Arewa Youths Consultative Forum (AYCF) yesterday warned the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) not to zone the presidency ahead of the 2023 polls.
In an interview with LEADERSHIP in Kaduna, AYCF president, Yerima Shettima, said the forum will mobilise against any political party that zones the presidency to any geopolitical zone.
AYCF, while describing zoning as undemocratic and unconstitutional, said all presidential aspirants must test their popularity at the party primaries and the general elections, adding that those canvassing for zoning are lazy politicians.
“We are saying this for politicians to hear, if APC zones President to any region, we will mobilise against the party. We will equally mobilise against PDP if the party zones its presidential ticket to any geopolitical zone. What we want is let Nigerians decide who to lead them in 2023.
“The presidential ticket must be thrown open for all and Nigerians should choose the best person that can move this country forward. Zoning is undemocratic and unconstitutional ” AYCF said.
Commenting on the alleged planned defection of former President Goodluck Jonathan to the APC for the presidential ticket, AYCF told Jonathan to be careful.
“It will be difficult for former President Goodluck Jonathan to make it under APC in 2023. Our advice is, let him be careful because we don’t see him getting the presidential ticket in the APC. How can those who laboured for APC receive him and work for him,” Shettima asked.
Yahaya Bello Picks N100m APC Presidential Form, Ayade Declares
Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, has become the first presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to pay for the party’s expression of interest and nomination forms ahead of the party’s presidential primary billed for May 30-June 1, 2022.
Bello paid the required N100 million for the purchase of the forms yesterday.
The director, media and publicity of the Yahaya Bello presidential campaign organisation, Yemi Kolapo, disclosed this in a statement yesterday.
She recalled that Nigerians from all walks of life came the Eagle Square, Abuja, on Saturday, April 2, to witness the official acceptance of Bello to vie for the 2023 presidency.
She urged Bello’s teeming supporters to rest assured that with the payment for the forms, the Kogi governor would be on the ballot paper in the 2023 presidential race.
She stated, “We are highly encouraged by the number of APC governors, leaders and stakeholders who have demonstrated their strong support for the candidacy of our principal.