SARAKI DEFENDS POSITION IN ATIKU'S DEFEAT AT PDP PRIMARIES
The defeat suffered by the former vice-president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar during the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential primaries in Abuja is still generating ripples within the camps of the four northern presidential aspirants in the consensus arrangement as the heat has been turned on the Governor of Kwara State, Dr. Abubakar Saraki who is being perceived to have sold out in the arrangement.
Immediately after the primaries, accusing fingers have been pointed at the direction of the governor by prominent members of the Northern Political Leaders Forum (NPLF) for his alleged non-commitment to the consensus candidacy and surreptitiously worked for the success of President Goodluck Jonathan at the primaries.
A top official of the defunct Abubakar Bukola Saraki Campaign Organization (ABS 2011) told Daily Sun yesterday that the former presidential aspirant had been under fire from some northern elements who were not impressed with the outcome of the primaries and felt, Dr. Saraki did not put in his best as the chairman of the influencial Governor's Forum.
The official explained that the suspicion of the northern groups was fuelled by the pattern of results of votes cast during the primaries held last January 13, where Kwara delegates voted for President Jonathan, while General Ibrahim Babangida, General Aliyu Gusau delivered their Niger and Zamfara states respectively to Alhaji Atiku.
Efforts by the governor to disabuse the minds of his accusers have fallen on deaf ears but the governor has continued to tell whoever cared to listen that his hands were clean in the defeat of Alhaji Atiku.
The Director-General of the defunct ABS 2011, Dr. Udenta Udenta, when contacted ,declined comments on any issue bordering on the PDP presidential primaries.
It is in the midst of series of bashings being received by Governor Saraki that the youth wing of Arewa cautioned the northern leaders against blaming the Kwara State Governor, Dr. Bukola Saraki for the former vice-president's failed bid.
The youths, on the banner of Arewa Youth Coalition (AYC) said in Abuja that the cause of the defeat of Atiku should be properly situated rather than pointing accusing fingers at the wrong direction.
The northern youths argued that Dr. saraki was not the issue because to all intents and purposes, 'the primary was never free and fair as people were made to believe.
In a statement issued in Abuja and signed by Mallam Yinusa Ahmed and Aminu Salihu, the Coordinator and Director of Mobilization respectively, declared that the process leading to the declaration of President Jonathan was a calculated political arithmetic designed to defeat the rule of law and to sweep the PDP zoning and rotation of power under the carpet.
'It was in the public view that the delegates were lorded, intimidated and deprived of their freedom of choice as the various state governors determined and watched over them like hard task masters when voting.
'The discriminating and uncivilized labeling of ballot boxes and state by state voting system were outright manipulations to rigmarole free, fair and transparent election in the said PDP presidential primaries. Indeed, the election winner was determined before actual voting.'
Noting that Governor Saraki played his role well in the consensus arrangement, the Arewa Youths urged that factors that led to the failure of Alhaji Atiku is what should be addressed and confronted headlong rather than buck passing. 'It is repugnant to natural justice for any person or group of persons to attribute and or link Bukola Saraki to Atiku's failure after all his monumental and unflinching support to ensure that the interest of the North is protected with Atiku candidacy.
'Saraki's struggle for the interest of the North is worth reckoning with. As the Chairman of Governors Forum, he was the arrow head who ensured that late Umaru Yar'Adua was not impeached or declared incapacitated as was being canvassed then.'
Besides, the youths maintained that governor Saraki was the first to congratulate Alhaji Atiku upon his announcement as the Consensus candidate by Mallam Ciroma committee and concomitantly swung into action campaigning and mobilizing supporters for him. History will not forgive us if we don't give honour to whom honour is due, Saraki does not deserve the attacks, he should rather be commended for buying into the consensus immediately' ?