The leader of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Professor Ango Abdullahi, has urged the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to jettison the discussion on zoning the presidency to a particular region.
He made this known on Thursday while speaking with the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) leadership who paid him a courtesy visit at his residence in Zarai, Kaduna State.
The elder statesman advised the PDP and other political parties toiling with the issue of zoning or power shift to forget the move and look for candidates who are competent.
Abdullahi pointed out that presidential candidates should be allowed to contest the election on the merit of their competence and not where they come from, adding that the issue of zoning or power shift is dead on arrival.
The NEF leader disclosed that over 11 presidential aspirants who cut across various political parties have consulted him regarding their presidential ambitions.
“The issue of zoning or power shift is dead and buried, candidates should be allowed to contest election on the basis of merit of their competence and not where they come from, hence the Northern elders’ forum is of the opinion that the presidential position should be left open for standard norms of the democratic process,” he said.
Abdullahi also revealed the process which led to the consensus that produced former senate president, Bukola Saraki and governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State as the northern consensus candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP).
He said: “They met the former military head of state, Ibrahim Babangida and told him they had concluded consultations on possible consensus candidates but failed to arrive at one person and requested him to assist and he called me and a few others.
“The aspirants insisted on us choosing from among them but we told them it was not possible, so we consulted elders from across the North West, North Central and North East before Aminu Tambuwal and Atiku Abubakar withdrew from the process.
“All elders voted for first and second choice. Saraki and Mohammed tied and both of them were asked to either pick one among themselves or do further consultation on the best among them and our recommendation was signed by me as Ango Abdullahi and not on behalf of NEF, a position I made very clear at a press conference I addressed in Minna”.