Yakubu Dogara, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, and some aggrieved leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have decided to support Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 presidential race.
The northern Christian leaders decided to work with their Muslim counterparts in the North, to adopt one of the presidential candidates in a bid to defeat the same-faith presidential ticket of the APC next year.
Presenting the report of the committee put together to appraise the presidential candidates in Abuja on Friday night, former Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Simon Achuba, said Atiku was adopted after due consideration of the report of the technical criteria committee put together by the leaders.
Northern Leaders at the meeting included: Dogara, Former Governor of Kogi State, Idris Wada, Former Minister for Water Resources, Barrister Mukhtar Shagari, among several others.
The report was signed by the chairman and secretary of the committee, former minority leader house of representatives, Mohammed Kumalia, and Barrister Mela Nunge.
Achuba said candidates evaluated were Atiku, Bola Tinubu of APC, candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, (NNPP).
According to him, the leaders took into consideration the existing structure of the party, capacity of the candidates, evidence of national penetration, religious and ethnic balance, among others to arrive at the decision.
He said it was observed that the APC and PDP are almost at par in terms of political structure, but the compounding albatross on the neck of APC is the “unfortunate self-inflicted divisive same-faith-ticket which cannot guarantee the desired peace, unity and cohesion in Nigeria.”
He explained that while the duo NNPP and LP may emerge as strong contenders in the political arena in the future, from all indications, PDP appears to be the best option to adopt and support.
Achuba said: “The seven and a half years of the APC government has engendered wide spread national perception of its inability to tackle security challenges and turn around the national economy.
“A further compounding albatross on its neck is the unfortunate self-inflicted divisive same-faith-ticket which cannot guarantee the desired peace, unity and cohesion in Nigeria, a decision that has been kicked against by a huge population of Nigerians.
“The perception that the APC Presidential candidate has some health challenges makes people very uncomfortable. There is the fear that it may precipitate a situation where unelected surrogates will be running the government while the president is left attending to his health.
“From the existing Structure of the Labour Party and even from the records of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as it stands for 2023 elections, even if all their candidates win in the 2023 elections, can the party still produce the President? Very unlikely indeed.”
On the NNPP, he said,” The NNPP on the other hand has similar characteristics with the LP and there is no need repeating the same except that ~ NNPP appears to be building a party for the future with – little or no impact in the 2023 elections.
The leaders, therefore said PDP, from all indications seems to be above board in every criterion as postulated.
The leaders also said the PDP ‘’is nationalistic in spread even though not free from internal crisis like each of the other political parties. If the momentum is aggressively sustained, it will be the party to reckon with.
“From the above evaluation and analysis, it is evident that the APC is heading for implosion and extinction; hence it cannot be the party for now and in the future because of its rejection to embrace inclusiveness in a diverse Country like Nigeria. After the 2023 elections, APC may be dead and buried as a political party.
“While the duo (NNPP and LP) may emerge as strong contenders in the political arena in the future, from all indications, PDP appears to be the best option to adopt and support.
“All it takes is to sustain and tackle some of the problems and challenges this Country is facing. Certainly, with proper consultations and inclusive appointments, mindful of the Federal Character principles with sincere consideration of diverse issues such as religious affiliation, geographical location and ethnic identity, which many believe will enhance justice, fairness and equity.
“After a careful evaluation of all the issues highlighted above, we hereby recommend for the adoption of the PDP, to all lovers of democracy in Nigeria, for the 2023 presidential election.
“However, this should be subject to getting the necessary assurance from the party to run an all-inclusive government, details of which shall be discussed with the leadership of the party in the nearest future.
Earlier, Dogara said: “This is a difficult moment for Nigeria. I know that some of us may not even find it easy. By the time we have made this decision.
“But if you are a student of history, you will know what division has done. I challenge us if there is anyone here, whether it is a professor or teacher, Beholder that can point to any human civilization ever attempted by divided people.”