New Telegraph

PDP Primaries: Why Bala Mohammed didn’t step down for Atiku – Source

Felix Nwaneri

 

Facts have emerged on why Bauchi State governor, Bala Mohammed, did not yield to pressure for him to withdraw from the presidential primary election of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) held at the weekend.

 

A source close to the Bauchi State governor disclosed to New Telegraph that Mohammed refused to step down for former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who eventually won the ticket of the main opposition party, due to what he described as “nationalist sentiments and unity of the PDP.”

 

 

He added that Governor Mohammed also loathed the possibility of the PDP going into the 2023 presidential election fractionalised, a development that will give the ruling APC a roller coaster to retain the presidency in arriving at his decision. He said this informs why Atiku, who understands the implications of a divided PDP, has quickly swung into action to douse tension in the PDP in order to restore a semblance of unity ahead of the general election.

 

Atiku, who was PDP’s presidential candidate in the 2019 elections, polled 371 votes to defeat his major challenger, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, who garnered 237 votes. A former President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, polled 70 votes to place third, while Governor Mohammed polled 20 votes to place fifth after Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom State, who took the fourth position with 38 votes.

 

The PDP presidential primary election was characterised by high level politicking that pitted the aspirants as well as claims of financial inducement of delegates, but most of the losers, including the Bauchi State governor, congratulated Atiku on his victory.

 

They also pledged to work for his victory in the main election. The high-level horse trading saw some northern political leaders, led by a former National Security Adviser, General Aliyu Gusau, prevailing on PDP presidential aspirants from the region – Governor Mohammed, GovernorAminuTambuwal (Sokoto) and a former President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki – to step down and back Atiku in the interest of the North.

 

However, New Telegraph gathered that the Bauchi State governor, who shunned the entreaty, reasoned that given the fact that each of the aspirants had a personal agenda, stepping down would presuppose that their respective agenda would have been discussed and aligned before such a decision was taken.

 

The source, who spoke with our correspondent, said: “Bala Mohammed’s position was that In line with the agreement by those who participated in the search for a consensus candidate – Mohammed Hayatu-Deen, Tambuwal, Saraki and himself – each aspirant had his own agenda driving him. “This explained why he argued before theGeneralAliyu Gusau group that stepping down would presuppose that the various agenda would have been discussed and alignedbeforesuchadecision.

 

“According to him, to simply step down peremptorily wouldmeanacceptingwholesale, the agenda of the beneficiary of such a decision.” The source further said that the Bauchi State governor further argued that “apart from representing a vision, no aspirant comes to an election alone.

 

“It would amount to disrespecting members of one’s team and indeed betraying them, to mount the podium, as Tambuwal did, to announce stepping down, without any discussion with key stakeholders of one’s team.” He described Governor Mohammed as a team player, who genuinely carries members of his team along, say  ing: “If anyone expected him to act like Tambuwal, such a person would be wrong.”

The source also cited wrong timing and belief in principle for Governor Mohammed’s decision not to withdraw from the race to back Atiku. “With pressure on the aspirants from a certain section of the country, in the full glare of the public to step down for Atiku,

 

Bala saw it as offending everything he has stood for as a nationalist and constitutionalist. “Though no section of the constitution was breached, to him, such a public show would further polarise the country as it has indeed done. “Areviewof BalaMohammed’s celebrated nationalist role in the ascension of President Goodluck Jonathan to the presidency will explain why, under the circumstance of Wike’s push, it would have been very difficult for him to step down in a manner that couldbeinterpretedascheckmating an aspirant because of his origin.

 

“For the avoidance of doubt, Bala Mohammed had moved against opposition to Jonathan’s ascension to the presidency by moving the historic Doctrine of Necessity Motion that gave Jonathan the legitimacy to step into the officePresident, firstinacting capacity and subsequently, in substantive capacity.

 

“One only needs to see the protests of Wike, to appreciate the damage done to party unity and the unity of the country by such a brazen display of parochial political strategy.”

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