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CONSENSUS CANDIDATE:ONLY ACF CAN CHOOSE FOR THE NORTH — KACHAKO

By NBF News
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Former Military Administrator of Katsina State, Col Isa Kachako (rtd.), has insisted that only the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) can choose a consensus candidate for the North. He said the Adamu Ciroma team may not achieve the desired result in selecting a consensus candidate for the North.

The Peoples Democratic Party's (PDP) Northern Political Leaders' Forum led by Ciroma is due to announce a consensus choice to contest for the PDP ticket against President Goodluck Jonathan in the presidential primaries. Kachako, who is also a chieftain of the PDP in Kano State, told Daily Sun that the forum may pick a candidate of their choice after their consultations: 'But any of the aspirant who feels that he has the strength to win the polls, may not accept their choice if he is not the chioce.'

Noting that consensus, in the first place, has no place in the democratic norms, he said that left to him, everybody should be given the chance to participate in the primaries, so that the ordinary people will have the right to pick their candidate of choice.

He said the Ciroma-led body 'clearly lacked the mandate to undertake the assignment to pick the candidate of the North. Ideally, such a task should have been the direct responsibility of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF).' The ACF is the umbrella body of the North and most of the members of the Ciroma forum, including Ciroma himself are members of ACF.

Kachako also described as a pipe dream the insinuation by General Muhammadu Buhari and his supporters that they could rival the North's consensus candidate on the platform of the PDP. He stated that the Congress for Progressive Change's (CPC) presidential hopeful 'will not be a match to whoever the PDP picks as candidate in the 2011 polls as long as the candidate is of northern extraction.'

He said twice, Buhari was squarely defeated by the candidate of the PDP in the past, adding that nothing really has changed in the character and content of the General or his politics to shift the choice of Nigerians in his favour in less than four years of his last defeat.

Kachako, formerly of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) before his defection to PDP, held that 'the much-talked about popularity of Buhari may after all be a myth than a reality. It is worthy of note that while Buhari is relatively well-received in the North, he is extremely unpopular in the whole of the southern part of the country, compared to either Genral Ibrahim Babangida, Dr. Bukola Saraki, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar or General Aliyu Gusau.'

He contended that by the very nature of politics in Nigeria, nobody can come to the Presidency simply by amassing the support of his zone alone, noting that even in the North, 'what many have not observed is that Buhari is not popular among the elite class'. He described as 'nonsense the hurried conclusion held mostly by the admirers of the General that once the PDP settles for a northern candidate, the CPC has automatically won the 2011 presidential polls.'