From ISMAIL OMIPIDAN, Kaduna
Come 2015, President Goodluck Jonathan will run, Sunday Sun can authoritatively reveal, but the north will also field a candidate. Interestingly, indications that the north was ready and willing to stop Jonathan in 2015 first emerged in Kaduna, the political headquarters of the north, in May this year.
It came from no other than the chairman of the Northern States Governors Forum, NSGF and Niger State governor, Muazu Babangida Aliyu. He had while making his opening remarks at one of the governors’ forum meetings stated among other things that “we must also know that by 2015, we are going as united constituent group.
There were times when we went as constitutionalists and federalists, and some as regionalists, this time around, we must do everything possible within the time period to unite ourselves and to go that time as a united group.?“The interest of the people is paramount, we must understand that, and we must also understand that political parties are platforms and it is the interest of our own people that should guide our actions, our interests and our activities.”
However, the cacophony of voices among different groups within the region in recent times, Sunday Sun investigations reveal is not suggestive of the fact that the north was ready to present a “united and formidable” force against Jonathan’s 2015 ambition.
Yet, Sunday Sun further gathered that the plot to stop Jonathan from running was real, and that the various meetings going on in the north and Abuja, were indicative of the resolve by the north to stop Jonathan, at all cost, another source added. Last week alone, two gatherings went on simultaneously in Kaduna and Bauchi. Although, none had 2015 as part of its objectives, as the two gatherings put the quest to develop the north as the major agenda, Sunday Sun can authoritatively reveal that the two gatherings have the trappings of 2015.
For instance, while that of Kaduna was spearheaded by a coalition of northern groups, under the auspices of Arewa Research and Development Project, led by Dr. Usman Bugaje, a former Political Adviser to Vice President Atiku Abubakar, that of Bauchi was held on the platform of the North-East Alliance for Transformation, NEAT, spear-headed by Jonathan’s Senior Special Assistant on Energy Partnership, Mallam Ibrahim Shehu Njidda. Interestingly, when a similar gathering was held in Bauchi earlier this year by elders from the zone, under the auspices of North-East Forum for Unity and Development, NEFUD, which attracted the likes of General TY Danjuma,
Mallam Adamu Ciroma, Professor Jubril Aminu, Alhaji Mohammadu Bello Kirfi and Atiku’s representative among a host of other prominent personalities from the zone, almost all those who attended NEAT’s summit in Bauchi, last Thursday, including the governors, shunned it. Sunday Sun’s investigations however revealed that prominent northern leaders including General Abdulsalami Abubakar, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, former Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, Senator George Akume and Kaduna State governor, Patrick Yakowa, attended the Kaduna gathering.
Historically speaking, while incumbent governors lost nomination of their parties, and even lost during gubernatorial election where such incumbents decided to change party, no sitting President has either lost nomination of his party or the general election, since the country’s independence in 1960. Will Jonathan’s own therefore be different? “You may be right that history does not in any way support what we are planning to do. But I am one who believes that events and not personalities should shape history.
To that extent, we are of the firm belief that events would ultimately throw up the situation that will force Jonathan to bow to voice of reason, instead of allowing himself to be embarrassed and disgraced out of office, because we are resolved to do this. “Just take a look at the men around the President, tell me who among them can win election. The Vice President cannot deliver his base, Gulak (President’s Political Adviser) cannot win election in Adamawa, Anenih has been confined to the dustbin of political history and his Chief of Staff too, cannot win election.
So tell me who will do the job for him? “Come to the north, again I agree with you that no single politician has the type of mass appeal that Buhari has. But you and I know that Nigeria’s presidential election goes beyond mass appeal in the north. At any rate, the votes in the north alone cannot make him President. It might be impossible, but I also believe that if the likes of Buhari and Atiku can bury their ambitions in the interest of the north and join in the search for a credible and acceptable person from among us, I think Jonathan may even chicken out of the race,”.
One of those involved in the surreptitious moves to unseat Jonathan, but who is currently part of the present administration, volunteered. However, another prominent politician who was neither part of the two gatherings held last week, but who is also a prominent member of the PDP from the North-East geopolitical zone told Sunday Sun that except the north changes strategy, the presidency may still elude it in 2015.
“First of all I am also surprised about both meetings. I agree with you that the way the two meetings went on, all supposedly in the interest of the north did not show any unity of purpose on our part. For me, I see the Bauchi meeting as more of a government thing. Because when a similar meeting took place in the same Bauchi State in the past, none of the governors attended. “Now for a meeting of that nature that attracted the likes of TY Danjuma, Jubril Aminu, I think the governors made a big mistake by not attending, that is, if truly they are interested in developing the region.
Again, those who attended last Thursday’s summit did not reflect that it was peopled by persons who matter in the region. Don’t get me wrong, I know the governors are so powerful that they decide what goes on, but they need other stakeholders too. I think the Kaduna meeting had a better attendance in terms of prominent persons in the north”, the high ranking PDP member added. As part of the strategies to stop Jonathan, Sunday Sun further learnt that members of the opposition, especially from the South-West are also toying with the idea of presenting Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, as an alternative.
The belief in this group is that, it could repeat what it did on the floor of the House, where the Speaker and his deputy were elected to the chagrin of the PDP, through the support of the opposition parties. Sources close to the Speaker’s office however told Sunday Sun that the Speaker was not favorably disposed to such an idea.
He was quoted to have said he would not want to end up like two of his predecessors who were “used and dumped “and became irrelevant in the scheme of things. Those close to the Speaker were also said to have warned him to be wary of “ an unworthy project that will not fly”. “You know, they deceived Na’Abba, that he is the true leader of the representatives of the people, same goes to Bankole. But how many of these people in the House can win election without the support of their governors?
So this is why we are cautioning the Speaker. And thank God, he is the type that not only listens, but one who knows what is right and appropriate,” another source added.