Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State says former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar is qualified to be president, but age is not on his side.
Although Atiku. 75, is yet to declare for presidency, there are signs that he is interested in the race.
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One of his campaign groups headed by Chief Raymond Dokpesi, media mogul, had last week said Atiku would do a single term of four years if elected.
When he received the report of a Contact and Consultation Committee, which he set up for his presidential ambition, Mohammed said Atiku had tried for Nigeria but age is no longer on his side.
The Committee, which is headed by Senator Adamu Gumba, was inaugurated August last year.
It toured 16 northern states and met with various stakeholders.
Mohammed said, “I am aware that even in Bauchi, people are divided, my elder brother, Bala Hadith, had the courage to tell me that people of Bauchi don’t want me to go to the center and I appreciate him.
“This is because this is the opinion of Bauchi which is the appreciation of what we are doing together. Bauchi can be better if I’m at the center. I told my younger brother and my colleague (deputy governor) that he should not be happy to send me forth so that he will take over the governorship, I will do the two together.
“One of my brothers, a formidable and astute politician, Matawalle Sokoto (Aminu Tambuwal) did it before, so we are going to also test it. And I will not give (the governorship seat) to hold forth, such a big man, he will not give me back when I come back, but if he will give me, I will give it to him.
“There is no need for us to be greedy; of course, my presidency will not cause division. You can see that at the heat of the time that my elder brother, Malam Adamu was going round, we invited our elder statesman, the one that we respect so much, the Waziri Adamawa (Atiku Abubakar), we named a road after him.
“We invited him to Bauchi and we interacted and I told him that in this game, I know he’s the most senior, he’s very qualified but because of his age and fatigue that he has suffered so much for Nigeria, he should allow his younger brother to be his spare tyre not to take over just like that.
“But if Nigerians prefer him, I will support him. I am not too desperate but he should know that Nigerians like me too. And whatever he wants, I will do it for him, so this is our agreement, he has the highest respect from me.”