….Yayale, Gusau, Maccido top pack
By Dayo Benson & Emmanuel Aziken
Key officials and members of the influential National Interest Group, NIG, in the Senate are meeting today to reappraise the groupâ€™s strategy in the face of increasingly desperate lobby by high-ranking northerners desiring the office of Vice-President in the post-Umaru Yarâ€˜Adua era.
Todayâ€™s meeting is coming against the background of mutterings on the perceived outspokenness of a key official of the group whose alleged actions were reported to have created division in the body.
A key organiser of the group, who confirmed the meeting, dismissed perceptions of division within NIG which two weeks ago mustered the will power to lead the Senate to the resolution endorsing Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as Acting President.
Todayâ€™s meeting, authoritative sources noted, would reappraise recent lobby efforts by some prominent northernersÂ seeking the office of Vice-President.
The seriousness of the considerations being put into the lobby flows from perceptions that Jonathan could decline participation in the 2011 presidential contest leaving the new Vice-President as a leading favourite.
Yayale, Shema, eye VP slot
Among those that have reportedly made contact with NIG on informal basis are a few members of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, including the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed and Governor Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State.
Besides, the outsiders who have reached out to the Senators, some senatorsÂ are also said to be canvassing the appointment of a senator or a former senator to fill the office of Vice-President.
Two first time senators from Kebbi and Sokoto states have also been reportedly thrown up at several times by NIG as possible vice-presidents.
The little known but learned 51-year-old Senator Umar Argungu from Kebbi State, according to very reliable sources within the group was the first choice of the group as a possible vice-president.
However, recently some in the group, according to Vanguard sources, are disposed to the 46-year-old Senator Ahmed Maccido, son of the late Sultan of Sokoto,Â Alhaji Muhammadu Maccido, as a possible non-controversial vice-president. Though not a member of NIG, Maccidoâ€™s calm dispositions and royal connections, it was learnt is weighing support among NIG senators towards his direction, it was learnt.
The appointment of a royal like Maccido, some within NIG say would help calm the polity in the event the Senate is forced to impeach Yarâ€˜Adua who is also from the Northern establishment.
ACF c’ttee backs Gusau
Meantime, the Political Committee of the ArewaÂ Consultative Forum, ACF, which was mandated to undertake a study of the North and come up with a possible vice-presidential candidate in a Goodluck Jonathan presidency has adopted former National Security Adviser, NSA, GeneralÂ Aliyu Gusau (rtd).
Information from ACF headquarters in Kaduna indicate that the Northern group has mandated some political leaders to get across to the acting President and relay the message that the North isÂ ready to back Gusau for the Vice President post.
Gusau, who was a frontline contestant in the last Presidential election, according to a source in the committee, is known to be loyal, humble and very dedicated officer who has effectively been democratised with wide security and international connection, especially in diplomatic circles.