By Emeka Mamah and AbdulSalam Muhammad
There appears to be a major crack in northern solidarity against President Goodluck Jonathan’s supposed ambition to contest the 2015 elections as over 50 top politicians including former governors, ministers and senators from seven northern states met in Kaduna State weekend to strategise on how to neutralise the opposition All Progressive Congress, APC, in the area.
Those who attended the meeting said that they in full support of Jonathan and his Vice, Mohammed Namadi Sambo, and distanced themselves from the position of both the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, and the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, that the presidency must return to the North in 2015.
This was even as Kano State was almost thrown into crises yesterday afternoon following an attack on one of the supporters of the former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari, Abdul Majid Danbiliki Commanda at the popular Al Furqan Mosque shortly after the Juma’at prayers by unidentified persons.
The hoodlums invaded the Mosque and attacked Commanda was bloodied in the presence of the officiating Imam, Dr Bashir Umar Aliyu, former Governor Kano state, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, Dr Ibrahim Khalil, Malam Ibrahim Kankarofi, Abdullahi Sani Rogo among other top APC stalwarts.
However, among those who attended the meeting included Senator Saidu Kumo (Gombe), Abdullahi Gumel (Jigawa), Alhaji Rabiu Bako, Senator Zeego Azeez, Bawa Magaji Kufana, and Saleh Annur- all from Kaduna State.
Others included Senators Jubrin Donguwa and Hamisu Musa (both from Kano), while Alhajis Aminu Jambo and Abdullahi Garus came from Katsina State.
From Kebbi State were Bala Gwandu, Bala Kaoje, Samaila Sambawa, just as Ambassador Ladan Shuni, Yusuf Suleiman and Ahmed Mohammed Gusau came from Sokoto State.
However, Sherrif Abdullahi Gashua from Yobe also attended the gathering for Jonathan and Sambo even as those who attended from Zamfara State included Faruk Ahmed Gusau, Col Bala Mande, rtd; Lawani Zurmi and Hon. Matawallen Maradun.
Alhaji Ahmed Gusau, who spoke in an interview shortly after the meeting said that the North had benefited a lot from Jonathan’s presidency, pointing out that the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, would showcase such benefits when it was time for campaign.
He further said that the North did not belong to ACF or NEF alone as there other stakeholders, wondering where the north as a whole met and decided to vote against Jonathan as claimed by NEF leaders.
Hoodlums attack Buhari loyalist
Meanwhile, eye witnesses told Saturday Vanguard that “we are witnessing a wedding holding inside the mosque when all of sudden, thugs invaded the peaceful gathering and bloodied Commanda in the presence of distinguished guests.”
It was gathered that, “it took the combined efforts of the officiating Imam, and Hisbah Guards to rescue the APC chieftain into the private residence of the chief Imam inside the Mosque before the arrival of anti riot policemen.”
According to the sources, the ensuing mêlée caused pandemonium as the worshippers ran helter skelter for safety of their lives even as ‘’political temper rose to a boiling point in the ancient city.’’
In an interview later, the victim of the attack, Danbiliki Commanda said that former Governor Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano State was the mastermind, alleging that “those who attacked me are Malam Shekarau’s boys and I know them too well.’’
He further said, “I was in the front row where only one person separated Shekarau and I during the Juma’at prayers. I was attending to a wedding fatiha when some persons I knew to be close to Shekarau pounced on me.
“It took the combined efforts of the officiating Imam and Hisbah Guards to rescue me from the rampaging thugs. I lost my handset, personal diary and N100,000.’’
But, in a swift reaction to the accusation, Shekarau’s Spokesman, Sule Yau Sule distanced his boss from the violent encounter, stressing that “Malam Shekarau is a man of peace. Certainly Malam Shekarau has nothing to do with this because when we had the instrument of power to curb the excesses of Commanda, we ignored him, how much more now that we are out power.
’’You know who Dan’Bilki is and his excesses when Malam was in power, but we chose to ignore him because we were conscious that he had the right to his freedom of speech,” Sule stated
Sule then advised Commanda to look elsewhere and desist from dragging the name of his boss into the mud to curry cheap political favour.
Efforts to speak with the Police Public Relation Officer for Kano State, ASP Magaji Majia proved abortive as calls put to his telephone line could not go through.