While he is publicly seeking the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential ticket, the governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed, secretly obtained the nomination form and has been cleared to contest in his state’s governorship primary, PREMIUM TIMES can exclusively report.
Mr Mohammed will serve out his first term as governor of the state in 2023. He is eligible for reelection.
There have been speculations over who will emerge as his successor in 2023 after he declared his intention to run for Nigeria’s presidency.
One of such speculations suggested that the Secretary to the Government of the state, Ibrahim Kashim, entered a pact to act as placeholder for the governor.
According to the claim, 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 Mr Mohammed is not successful in his bid to be the party’s presidential candidate, he will step down and be replaced by Mr 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 told this newspaper that Mr Mohammed has not only secretly purchased the form for the state’s gubernatorial primary but has 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, Mr 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.
When reached for comment, the 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.
“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,” he said.But our sources said the purchase of the gubernatorial form by Mr Mohammed is beyond rumours and that he would most likely withdraw from the presidential race before long.