By Ben Agande
ABUJA—SENATOR Dahiru Kuta, PDP, Niger; said yesterday, that the decision of political leaders from the North Central geo_political zone asking former military president General Ibrahim Babangida and Dr. Bukola Saraki to withdraw from the presidential race was not binding on the Peoples Democratic Party in Niger State because the state was solidly behind General Ibrahim Babangida.
Speaking with newsmen on the decision of the leaders, Senator Kuta said the state believed in the capability of General Babangida as he had demonstrated that he was a reliable leader.
Kuta said that though the state was grateful to President Goodluck Jonathan for signing the Hydro_Electric Power Producing Areas Development Commission Bill into law, it would not support him for the 2011 election.
He said: “We have a candidate in IBB. We have decided as a state and as a party to go with IBB. People of Niger State stand with him and he’s done it before and we are sure that he would provide good governance again. Niger PDP has not endorsed Jonathan. We will continue to remain with IBB as a presidential aspirant of the PDP.
“Our support is solidly behind him for the 2011 polls although we thank President Jonathan for his magnanimity in signing the HYPPADEC Bill into law last August and we would continue to pray for him to finish his tenure in 2011 safely.”
Kuta who expressed gratitude to the President for signing the HYPPADEC Bill said the law and the 2011 polls were two different things, adding: “We in Niger PDP restate that IBB is still an aspirant in the PDP. There is no crack in Niger PDP. IBB is our candidate up till the end.”
Vanguard recalls that political leaders from the North Central zone met in the official residence of the Senate president and asked former military president, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida and Dr Bukola Saraki to step down for Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
The meeting had in attendance Governors Gabriel Suswam, Benue; David Jonah Jang, Plateau; Ibrahim Idris, Kogi; Aliyu Akwe Doma, Nasarawa; Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, and former Senate President Ameh Ebute.
Those in attendance
Others included Deputy House Leader, Alhaji Baba Shehu Agaire; two former National Chairmen of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Barnabas Gemade and Senator Ahmadu Ali; Senator Tunde Ogbeha; Sports Minister Isa Bio, Minister of State for Information and Communication, Labaran Maku; his Niger Delta Ministry counterpart, Sam Ode; Interior Minister, Humphrey Abba; Comrade Abba-Moro and Director, Research, Planning and Strategy in the Goodluck Jonathan/Sambo Organization, Chief Mike Omeri.
The North Central co_ordinator for Jonathan/Sambo Campaign, Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State, was quoted as saying that the zone was already looking beyond the primaries, “because we have a President who is doing very well and we have resolved in the North Central to support Jonathan/Sambo ticket. We have endorsed Jonathan and we are strategizing for him to win the general election convincingly.”
Kogi State Governor, Ibrahim Idris, was quoted as saying that “the whole world knows that we are actually for Jonathan/Sambo and by doing this we want to make sure that our support base is solid and intact.”