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Despite publicly seeking the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bala Mohammed, Bauchi State governor, secretly obtained the gubernatorial nomination form and has been cleared to contest in his state’s governorship primary.
Mohammed who will serve out his first term as governor of the state in 2023, is eligible for reelection.
There have been speculations over who will emerge as his successor in 2023 after the governor declared his intention to run for Nigeria’s presidency.
One of such speculations suggested that Ibrahim Kashim, secretary to the Government of the state, entered a pact to act as placeholder for the governor.
The claim indicated that Mr Kashim secretly resigned and obtained the governorship nomination form of the party and would proceed to compete in the primary.
If he wins, and Bala Mohammed is not successful in his bid to be the party’s presidential candidate, he will step down and be replaced by Mohammed, those peddling the claim said.
But party insiders with knowledge of the goings-on in the state’s PDP secretariat have dismissed this speculation as untrue.
They said that the governor had not only secretly purchased the form for the state’s gubernatorial primary but had been screened and cleared to compete during the primary.
This revelation gives credence to the allegation by another contestant for the party’s presidential ticket, Nyesom Wike, the governor of Rivers State, that some of his rivals in the contest are not as committed as he is because they have secretly obtained nomination forms for other positions they hoped to fall back on.
Last month, Mohammed and a former senate president, Bukola Saraki, were controversially selected as consensus candidates of the northern region during the party’s primary. Other contestants from the region rejected that decision.
The governor’s spokesperson, Mukhtar Gidado, did not return calls and messages sent to his known mobile telephone number seeking comment for this story.
Reacting on the development, spokesperson for Mohammed’s presidential campaign, Udenta Udenta, described Mohammed’s clearance to run for the Bauchi PDP gubernatorial primary as a rumour and declined to comment.
Said he: “I don’t comment on mere rumours. What I know is that he had been screened to contest for the presidency and he has joined a long list of other candidates”.
But sources said the purchase of the gubernatorial form by Mohammed was beyond rumours and that he would most likely withdraw from the presidential race before long.