The campaign team of PDP presidential aspirant Bukola Saraki yesterday said the attendance recorded during the declaration of President Goodluck Jonathan last Saturday was not a measure of popularity because it was made up of rented men and women from a section of the country.
In a maiden press conference in Abuja, Director General of the ABS Campaign Organisation Dr. Udenta Udenta said the rally had in no way intimidated Governor Saraki who is one of Jonathan’s major challengers for the PDP presidential ticket.
The DG who was responding to a question on why Saraki declared his presidential bid without the kind of fanfare and crowd that attended Jonathan’s declaration, and whether he was intimidated, said veterans of so many campaigns in Nigeria “understand the concept and philosophy of renting a crowd.”
Udenta said it would be a misnomer to judge the popularity of an individual through such rented crowds that is being identified with some politicians.
He said Saraki is not in any way moved by the declarations that have already taken place at the Eagle Square and he is not going to adopt the Eagle Square format simply because somebody else had done so.
“Saraki is coming unique. The kind of public presentation of His Excellency will be grand in a strategic and intellectual way. It will be a policy declaration where Nigerians will have the policy document to judge him when he becomes the president,” he said
Speaking on the ongoing effort to produce a consensus candidate from the north, the DG said Saraki will be bound by the decision of the “committee of the wise men” who have been mandated to come out with a consensus from among the four aspirants in the north.
“Our exchange with them is lively; it is robust on issues of transformation and not on individual. But at the end of the day his excellence is fully committed to the decision on the consensus candidate,” he said.
Corroborating Udenta’s statement, former Minister of Police Affairs Lame who is the Deputy Director General of the organisation said the “thinking or the objective of the discussion is not only to ensure that power is transferred to the north but the bigger question is about the stability of this country.”
“I want to assure you that any of the aspirants that is selected by the wise men will be supported by all the others and that is in the spirit of making sure that we attain stability in 2011 and beyond,” he said.