By Jide Ajani & Emeka Mamah
KADUNAâ€”BARELY 24 hours to the National Assemblyâ€™s confirmation of the Kaduna State Governor, Muhammed Namadi Sambo, as the Vice President, Vanguard can reveal that President Goodluck Jonathan was not disturbed by the subtle resistance from some quarters about his choice.
A meeting between Governor Sambo and the political elite in Kaduna State, yesterday, was said to have been cordial with agreements reached on staving off any possible crisis arising from the choice of Sambo as Vice President.
It was gathered that one of the important decisions reached was that of the choice of who would become the new Deputy Governor of the state.
Vanguard was informed that some of the major players in the polity who had piled considerable pressure on President Jonathan to pick their wards as the vice presidential nominee â€œwere still kicking.â€
A source at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja, however, informed Vanguard that â€œPresident Goodluck Jonathan has made his choice after very wide consultations and no one who mattered would say he or she was treated with scorn while consultations were still on.â€
The source added that Jonathan was said to have insisted that â€œthe time has come in Nigeria where decisions to be taken should be based on altruism and not unproductive pragmatism.â€
Consultations by Jonathan
He said: â€œIn deciding who should be put forward as Vice President, President Jonathan ensured that the consultations were wide and at no time did he give any guarantees to anybody or any group of persons. The choice he has put forward is his and that is a definite sign that the President can act in a presidential manner.â€
The meeting in Kaduna between Sambo and a section of the political elite in the state was said to have focused on the way forward after Saturdayâ€™s threat of protests.
Vanguard was informed that the ambience of the meeting was very â€œcool and cordial and representation cut across those who mattered in the politics of the state.â€
Meanwhile, a source in the National Assembly told Vanguard that the expected confirmation by the National Assembly tomorrow â€œshould go without any incident,â€ adding that the presence of Governor Sambo would not be required.
Meantime, Alhaji Muhammed Sambo, has described his choice by President Goodluck Jonathan as an act of God.
Sambo said he did not expect to be chosen for the position by Jonathan as he never lobbied for it, adding that the nomination came to him as a surprise.
The Governor spoke through his Special Assistant on Media and Public Affairs, Alhaji Umar Sani, against the backdrop of grumblings by some indigenes of the state against the imminent take-over of the reins of government by the state Deputy Governor, Mr. Patrick Yakowa, in the event that Sambo’s nomination was confirmed by the National Assembly.
Security was beefed up by the police in Kaduna, weekend, following reports that some Muslims were planning to foment trouble following the nomination of Sambo on the pretext that Sambo was not a â€œprominentâ€ Muslim.
The major grouse of the fundamentalist Muslims was said to be their opposition to the imminent swearing in of Yakowa, a Christian as the successor to Sambo in line with constitutional provisions on the matter.
However, Sani said: â€œHis Excellency, Sambo, received this news of his nomination with humility and dedication to serve and what is more, he perceived this as an act of God. It came to him as a surprise because he never vied for it and was only busy helping the possibility of another contestant, until it dawned on him that he was the choice of President Jonathan; which makes it an act of God.â€
On the Deputy Governor, Mr. Yakowa, Sani described him as â€˜competent and loyalâ€™ adding that he would take the state to greater heights as the substantive chief executive of the â€˜crocodileâ€™ city.
Sambo who stressed that Yakowa had age, wealth of administrative experience and exposure to his credit, called on the people of the state to support Yakowa when he was sworn-in as governor.
He said: â€œPatrick Yakowa is very loyal and dedicated; he is competent and as deputy governor, he will continue from where Namadi stopped. He has the experience and capacity and his elderly nature will, as well place him in a good position to run the state effectively. His Excellency, Sambo, holds him in high esteem and above all he is composed, sound and experienced.â€
Commenting on the legacies being left behind by Sambo, Sani said his boss â€œachieved a lot in the area of security, and we have not recorded any crisis in the state since Sambo assumed office.”
He said: â€œAlong the Kaduna-Abuja road, life is now safe unlike before when gangs of armed robbers harassed people on daily basis. He is leaving a sound legacy in the state. Look at the electricity projects he was executing in the state. In the health sector he has also done well, if you also take into consideration, the 300 bed-specialist hospital project going on at the new Millennium city, among many other positive things.
â€œSambo will miss so many things from the people of Kaduna State; particularly the cooperation he has been receiving from them. In Abuja his priority would be to assist his principal in carrying out the roles assigned to him. He is in high spirits and looking towards contributing his quota to the overall development of the country.â€
Meanwhile, sources said that three names were being considered to take-over Yakowaâ€™s position as deputy governor. They include a senatorial aspirant, Alhaji Hamisu Abubakar,Â Mairago; Alhaji Hussaini Jallo, who doubles as the Deputy Chairman of the PDP and Special Adviser to Governor Sambo on political matters and one Alhaji Yakawada.