22nd November, 2010
The four Northern aspirants to Nigeriaâ€™s presidency will not honour PresidentÂ Goodluck Jonathanâ€™s invitation to a parley in Abuja today, P.M.News learnt thisÂ morning.
According to sources close to the campaign secretariat of the four aspirantsâ€”IbrahimÂ Babaginda, Atiku Abubakar, Aliyu Muhammed Gusau and Bukola Saraki, the quartet areÂ sending separate letters to the President on why they would not be able to make theÂ meeting.
One of the reasons they are declining the invitation for now is because the MallamÂ Adamu Ciroma panel saddled with the task of picking a consensus candidate for theÂ Northern Zone, is scheduled to unveil its choice tomorrow, formally. The chosenÂ candidate will slug it out with President Jonathan at the PDP primary elections, aÂ date for which has not been announced.
â€œThe timing of the invitation is not proper,â€™â€™ a campaign chief for one of theÂ aspirants told P.M.News this morning.
Besides, P.M.News gathered that the panel has summoned all the four aspirants forÂ another round of discussions today. The panel will meet each aspirant separately.
It was not clear whether the panel will use todayâ€™s meeting to brief each aspirantÂ about the decision it will announce Tuesday.
The meeting is a follow up to Sundayâ€™s meetings with all the aspirants, where theyÂ were questioned about their programmes for the nation. They were also asked to signÂ an undertaking to accept the verdict of the body and work with the chosen candidate.
The nine-man panel is scheduled to round up its assignment today and announce theÂ chosen candidate at an elaborate ceremony Tuesday.
Members of the panel were said to have criss-crossed the nationâ€™s geo-politicalÂ zones, to find out who of the four aspirantsâ€”Ibrahim Babaginda, Atiku Abubakar,Â Aliyu Muhammed Gusau and Bukola Sarakiâ€”is most acceptable and electable.
The committee, which comprised Adamu Ciroma, David Jemibewon, Audu Ogbeh, MohammedÂ Dikko, Yussuf Shaba Lafiagi, Ricky Tarfa, Iyorchia Ayu, Magaji Dambatta Mohammed,Â Anka Bello, Kirfi Sule Lamido, Babangida Aliyu and Danjuma Goje, has kept itsÂ findings secret, but speculations are rife that the panel may not be favourablyÂ disposed to Babangida and Abubakar, because of their antecedents. According toÂ sources, the decision is being zeroed in on either Gusau or Saraki.