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OBJ, govs scheme over V-P

* Ex-president nominates Nyako, Lamido, Shagari

* Govs prefer Yuguda, Babangida, Lamido

By Jide Ajani, Deputy Editor & Henry Umoru

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is piling pressure on President Goodluck Jonathan to look in the direction of Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State, Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State and Alhaji Muktar Shagari, deputy governor of Sokoto State in picking his deputy.

The Governors Forum, on the other hand is rooting for Governors Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, Sule Lamido and Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State.

The race for Jonathan's V-P hots up

Sunday Vanguard gathered that Chief Obasanjo has been piling pressure on President Jonathan to make a choice from his proposals on the strength of his knowledge of their ability and integrity.
He is a strong backer of the President and wants him to seek the PDP presidential ticket for next year’s election.

Gen. Obasanjo said recently that PDP has no zoning policy.

Murtala Nyako, a retired naval officer served under Obasanjo’s military regime as the first military governor of Niger State, while Lamido and Shagari were members of his cabinet.

Governors’ nominees
On their part, governors elected on the platform of the PDP reportedly nominated three.
Their nominees are Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, Sule Lamido of Jigawa State and Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State, representing each of the three northern geo-political zones viz: north central, north west and north east.

Sunday Vanguard learnt yesterday that the PDP governors as stakeholders would meet this week to further deliberate on the issue of who becomes the vice president.

The sources said the governors are favourably disposed to the emergence of a vice president who can work with Jonathan.

The position of the governors that one of them should become the vice president appears to be a pointer  that they are opposed to the emergence of the secretary of the government of the federation, SGF, Alhaji Yayale Ahmad and the national security adviser, NSA, Lt. Gen. Aliyu Gusau as  the nation’s number two citizen.

The sources said that, left to the governors, none of  Ahmed and Gusau will scale through for the
position of vice president, and recalled that  former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s choice of  governor-elect in the person of ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar must be the guiding principle, adding that Yar’Adua  through the machinery of the PDP also  picked a governor, Jonathan, as the vice presidential candidate before the 2007  election.

Jonathan weighs all options
There were indications, yesterday, that Murtala Yar’Adua, son of the founder of the Peoples Democratic Movement and former Chief of Staff Supreme Headquarters between 1976 and 1979, late General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, is top on the list of contenders for the number two spot. Murtala is minister of state for defence.

A presidency source said yesterday, “President Goodluck Jonathan has not told anybody that he wants to contest the presidential elections of next year.

“Even on the issue of nominating somebody for the number two spot, remember that we are still in a mourning mood so it would not be too appropriate to be waxing pontifical on who the choice of vice president would be.
“But talks are on-going and anything can happen”.

Sunday Vanguard, however, can confirm that one of the key factors that would determine the choice of who emerges as vice president would be interest in the 2011 presidential contest.

The thinking in Jonathan’s camp is one which favours a vice president who would not have his eyes focused on 2011 as a successor in Aso Rock.

This, it was gathered, is because there is a gathering momentum and pressure on Jonathan to quickly fill the slot of the South South by contesting after which the North can then have a fresh tenure.

A dependable source in the Presidency informed Sunday Vanguard that the dilemma now is whether “Jonathan should just contest next year and a northerner comes in by 2015 to do a fresh set of two terms.
“Or, conversely, whoever emerges next year as President of Nigeria but of northern extraction would merely throw the constitution at you if you say he shouldn’t go for a second term of office.

“What that would mean”, the source continued, “is that the north would be having more than the two terms of eight years.

“And that is why it may even be more pragmatic for the man there now to contest the presidency, contrary to the doomsday some politicians are already predicting.  Why stockpile wood for tomorrow’s bonfire when you can tackle the issue head-on”, the source opined.

Meanwhile, in line with its quest to continue the control of the presidency, the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, “would likely be making a presentation to President Jonathan very soon on this issue,” a source in Kaduna informed Sunday Vanguard.


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