By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—FORMER Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd) said, weekend, that he was not prepared to join issues with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo because the former President was his senior in the military.
According to him, all the former Presidential aspirants will accompany the consensus candidate — Alhaji Atiku Abubakar — during the campaigns before the primaries until a candidate emerges for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, ahead of the 2011 Presidential election, adding: “We will be accompanying him to campaigns.”
Ben Obi is D-G Atiku campaign organisation
Answering questions from newsmen after a meeting of the four northern Presidential aspirants on the platform of the PDP and the Directors-General of the Campaign Organisation, Babangida also disclosed that Atiku’s running mate in the 2007 Presidential election under the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Senator Ben Obi now becomes the Director-General of Atiku Abubakar’s Campaign Organisation.
Before the emergence of Atiku as the consensus candidate, his Director-General was Chris Mammah while Senator Ben Obi was the Director-General, Aliyu Gusau Campaign Organisation, Chief Raymond Dokpesi was that of IBB 2011 Campaign Organisation and Udenta Udenta for Saraki’s Organisation.
The meeting which took place, weekend, at the Asokoro residence of Atiku was held for over three hours with Babangida; former National Security Adviser, General Mohammed Aliyu Gusau; Kwara State governor, Dr. Bukola Saraki; Atiku Abubakar; Udenta Udenta; Senator Ben Obi; former Kwara State governor, Shaaba Lafiagi; Yakubu Lame, among others in attendance.
Asked to comment on former President Obasanjo over his laughter on the choice of Atiku as the preferred candidate for the North by the Consensus Candidate Committee, Babangida, who wore blue Babaringa and drove in a black Mercedes car CLS 350 with number plate Niger AE 396 SRP, said: ‘’Iam a Junior officer, by tradition, I am not suppose to comment on what a senior officer said.”
When pressed that he was now a politician and Obasanjo also a politician, Babangida said: “He is still a general.”
On why the meeting, Babangida said: ‘’We have come for consultations with the consensus candidate.
After the announcement of the consensus candidate, we have not been able to formally meet as a body and that is why we are here.
‘’We approved the appointment of his Excellency, Senator Ben Obi as the Director-General of the Campaign Organisation.”
On running mate
On whether the issue of running mate for Atiku was discussed, Babangida said: “No, not yet.”
Asked if he was going to address the nation, he said: “You can go and read the speech, I never mentioned any address to the nation.”
Meanwhile, the new Director-General of the Campaign Organisation, Senator Ben Obi, who said he could not say who has been made his deputy, however, disclosed that there would be a meeting of the organisation in the next 24 hours.