Nigeria's former Senate President, Bukola Saraki has denied reports that he has stepped down for ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar ahead of the 2023 presidential election.
The campaign council of Senator Bukola Saraki made the clarification on Wednesday.
It described untrue reports that he and some other aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party for the 2023 elections have stepped down for former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
An online newspaper had, on Monday, March 29, 2022, reported that Saraki, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State and his counterpart in Bauchi, Bala Mohammed, have stepped down for Atiku.
But the Director-General of the Saraki Campaign Council, Osaro Onaiwu, in a statement, dismissed the report as “sheer mischief, and planted by those who want to gain the PDP presidential ticket by deceit.”
He said, “Our attention has been called to an online Newspaper that our candidate alongside their Excellencies Governors Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto and Bala Mohammed of Bauchi States have stepped down for former Vice President Atiku Abubakar for the PDP presidential ticket.
“The report is sheer mischief and planted by those who want to gain the PDP ticket by deceit. For clarity purposes, our candidate and three other aspirants met with Vice President Atiku on Monday with the sole objective to inform him of their push towards a consensus candidate for the party.
“At that meeting, there was no talk of any of the aspirants stepping down as it is yet premature. To, therefore, find a planted story smacks of desperation and ill-intention.
“For the avoidance of doubt, our candidate is eminently qualified for the PDP presidential ticket as a former two-term governor, chairman of the Governors Forum, the most engaging and result-oriented Senate President and a former presidential aspirant.
“Also, Governor Aminu Tambuwal as former Speaker of the House of Representatives and a serving two-term governor is also qualified to be considered for the ticket.
“Last but not least is Governor Bala Mohammed, a former senator, ex-minister and a serving governor is qualified for the ticket. So, let no other aspirant hide under some nebulous assumption that he is overly qualified than others to be stepped down for.
“When and if there is a concrete agreement on a winning consensus and others step down for whoever, it will be done openly, but until then, Senator Bukola Saraki, Tambuwal and Mohammed are still in the race.”