By Emmanuel Oloniruha
People’s Democratic Party (PDP) stakeholders from 19 northern states and the FCT have denied endorsing any candidate as the party’s preferred candidate for the 2023 presidential election.
The stakeholders said so in a statement after their meeting in Abuja on Monday, which was read out by the former Governor of Jigawa, Mr. Sule Lamido.
Lamido said the PDP presidential candidate will walk out of the party’s national convention which was to be held May 28-29.
“We would like to affirm from the beginning that there is nothing called the Northern PDP.
“Our meeting as key stakeholders from the Northern States is only intended to demystify any notion or impression that may have been created by Professor Ango Abdullahi’s statement on the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) having shortlisted PDP presidential candidates by consensus.
“The PDP as conceived by its founding fathers is and remains the premier national political platform in which the democratic aspirations of its many members can be actualized without any sectorial consideration.
“Our party is neither in the north nor in the south, but in Nigeria,” he said.
Lamido said stakeholders were pleased that the NEF, through its secretary, Dr Hakeem Baba Ahmed, has dissociated itself from Ango’s statement.
“They made it clear that this was Ango’s personal opinion.
“The aspirants informed us that they were discussing among themselves. They consult with other seniors in order to create better understanding and unity between them.
“Their ultimate goal is to build a national consensus that will produce a national candidate for the Party.
“We urge them to continue this commendable effort,” he said.
Lamido hailed the efforts of the PDP presidential candidates, while assuring them of their support for the PDP to win the 2023 presidential election.
“Our meeting today is to reinforce the press release issued on March 23 by me.
“We maintain that all of our aspirants are qualified to hold the Nigerian presidency under the PDP banner.
“We will continue to support, promote, campaign and win the presidency by the candidate produced by our national convention scheduled for May 22-29,” he said.
He called on all aspirants to exercise restraint in their speech and work to promote harmony and better understanding within the PDP family.
“We also want to assure all members of the PDP and indeed all Nigerians that we are aware of your pains, your prayers, your expectations and hope for relief.
“Your unwavering faith in the PDP will set us free in 2023. By the power of the Almighty, we will not disappoint Nigeria,” he said.
Former Senate Speaker, Bukola Saraki and Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State have reportedly been shortlisted as preferred candidates among four aspirants seeking a consensus candidate for the PDP.
The four midshipmen were Saraki; Mohammed; Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal and former FSB International Bank Managing Director Alhaji Mohammed Hayatudeen.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)