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Northern leaders give Atiku nod for court action

Northern leaders, operating under the auspices of Northern Leaders Political Forum, have given former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the nod to institute legal action against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the party’s presidential ticket.

Also, the group has resolved to adopt former Head of State and presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), General Muhammadu Buhari, as the consensus northern candidate in the April presidential election, in the event that Atiku fails in retrieving the PDP ticket from President Goodluck Jonathan.
Saturday Sun gathered that the group, led by ex-minister of finance, Malam Adamu Ciroma, which was instrumental to the presentation of Atiku as the northern consensus presidential aspirant, resolved this at a meeting held on Thursday, the first since the PDP presidential ticket was won by Jonathan.

Checks revealed that the Ciroma group, in the meeting, reviewed the outcome of the PDP national convention and came to the conclusion that its preferred aspirant did not lose fair and square. It therefore, resolved that the campaign for the emergence of a northern president should continue.

As one of its programmes to press for the emergence of the next president from the North, the group encouraged Atiku to talk to his lawyers, with the view to instituting legal action against the PDP.
It was gathered that in this regard, the group advised Atiku to ask the court to compel the PDP executives to enforce the party’s constitutional provision on zoning.

Checks revealed that the group is putting forward this prayer, since the PDP constitution, in approving zoning, stipulated that the party’s executives should enforce zoning at all levels.
Sources revealed that if Atiku eventually goes to court, his lawyers would argue that President Jonathan was not qualified to have participated in the PDP presidential primaries, by virtue of zoning and therefore, his victory should be quashed and the ticket handed over to the former vice president.
It was gathered that the decision for the legal option is also reinforced by an Abuja court’s earlier position that PDP zoning could only be an issue when the party submits the name of its presidential candidate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The source said: “The court earlier said that since PDP had not submitted the name of its presidential candidate, it had not breached any provision on zoning. Now that the name of President Jonathan, who is from the South, has been submitted as PDP candidate, at a time when a northerner’s name ought to be submitted, the group feels that the matter should return to court. By submitting Jonathan’s name, PDP has breached its constitution, as it concerns zoning.”

Saturday Sun gathered that the Ciroma group is looking for a window, where the court would order the PDP to enforce its provision on zoning, in accordance to the provision of its constitution. If this is done, the group hopes that Atiku’s name would then be submitted as substitute.
On the resolve to support Buhari in the April presidential election, it was gathered that the Ciroma group is determined to have a northern as president of Nigeria from May 29, no matter the political party the person comes from.
Sources revealed that northern leaders resolved that the dream to have a northerner as president this year would not die with Atiku’s loss at the PDP national primaries.

In assessing other presidential candidates from the North, it was gathered that the group expressed preference for Buhari, owing to his popularity in the North as well as his contacts across the country.
Saturday Sun gathered that soon northern leaders will officially endorse Buhari as their consensus candidate and ask northerners to support his candidature.
The group, however, has not contacted Buhari to make its decision known.
When Saturday Sun contacted Ciroma, he declined to comment on what was discussed at the meeting.

-Sun

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