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Saraki polarizes Govs, North

By Dayo Benson
LAGOS—UNFOLDING intrigues over the 2011 presidential ticket of ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, thickened, yesterday, as Kwara State Governor, Bukola Saraki’s presidential ambition further polarised the ranks of state governors and leadership of the party.

Apart from President Goodluck Jonathan, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar camps, Governor Saraki’s entry into the race has also created a new tendency within the party hierarchy favourably disposed to the Kwara governor.

However, a source revealed that Saraki’s emergence as a presidential aspirant on PDP platform was another design by powerful northern forces to make the party’s presidential ticket difficult for Jonathan to pick.

It was further gathered that other presidential hopefuls such as National Security Adviser, NSA, Lt. Gen. Aliyu Gusau and former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, boss Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, were part of the strategies to cause division in the North while at the same time rallying support for Babangida.

The source said: “What the North is trying to do is to divide the governors so that Jonathan will not be able to secure block votes from the area at the party primary and this will pave the way for Babangida to eventually emerge as the party’s presidential candidate.”

The intention of the North, the source said, was to field a candidate with clout to challenge Jonathan at the poll.

It was also reliably learnt that the division already created among governors had made it difficult for them to meet as a forum as they are now meeting only in groups. This, the source also said, explained the reason Niger State Governor Babangida Aliyu was made the chief speaker at today’s declaration of Babangida.

The source revealed further that all these happenings pointed to a brewing crisis in PDP, saying that today’s National Executive Committee meeting of the party was convened to discuss the election time table and preparations for the party’s primaries but part of the motive was to manage the brewing crisis and prevent possible implosion in the party.


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