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Jonathan, PDP divide northern govs

BY UMAR YUSUF
YOLA—DISCORDANT tunes trailing the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF’s reported call on President Goodluck Jonathan to abandon his presidential bid are yet to die down. The issue resonated at a meeting of the Northern Governors in Yola, the Adamawa State Capital, last night, with the helmsmen failing to reach a consensus on it, sources said.

President Goodluck Jonathan

The governors at their regular consultative meeting, which was sparsely attended, could not agree with the candidature of the PDP presidential candidate.

The meeting earlier scheduled for the Banquet Hall of Government House, Yola was hurriedly relocated to Sebore Farms, Governor Murtala Nyako’s private farm, owing to the reported disagreement. Sources at the meeting which was held behind close doors told newsmen that as the tempo of the discussion got hotter, the governors hurriedly adjourned and relocated to Sabore Farms, to enable more governors to arrive.

6 govs in attendance

Only six of the 19 governors were in attendance. They are Murtala Nyako, Adamawa; Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, Niger; Bukola Saraki, Kwara; Shehu Shema, Katsina; Gabriel Suswam, Benue; and Sule Lamido, Jigawa. Most of the other states sent representations.

Three governors of the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP-controlled states of Yobe, Kano and Borno were absent as well as Bauchi State Governor, Isa Yuguda, because of a security issue in Balewa Local Council of the state.

From left: Governors Murtala Nyako of Adamawa, Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu of Niger and Chairman, Northern Governors Forum, Bukola Saraki of Kwara, at the Northern Governors Forum in Yola, Adamawa State, yesterday.

Kano State Governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, who is the ANPP presidential candidate was summoned to Abuja by his party’s leadership. The opposition governors were also said to be avoiding the meeting in recent times because the parleys were increasingly being dominated by PDP matters.

One source at the meeting said the disagreement got to a level that the leadership of the forum could not control the meeting.
An aide to one of the governors regretted that the Forum had never witnessed a division like this on burning issues affecting the North, adding that unless urgent  measures were adopted, the Northern Governors Consultative meeting might collapse.

At the parley, another source said the governors endorsed the candidature of Dr. Haliru Abubakar as the next national chairman of the PDP, following the exit of Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo.

At the PDP presidential primaries of January 13, President Jonathan lost in five northern states – Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Niger and Kano to his main opponent, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. Of the five, only Kano is a non-PDP State.

There have been  mixed views concerning Jonathan’s ambition to contest the 2011 polls especially in the North, where some political leaders insist that the North (under the PDP) should produce the president in 2011 in line with  PDP’s constitution and power sharing arrangement.

The mixed feelings led the Mallam Adamu Ciroma-led Northern Political Leaders Forum, NPLF, to pick Atiku Abubakar as the Northern consensus presidential candidate ahead of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, Gen. Aliyu Gusau and Dr. Bukola Saraki.

It also informed ACF’s reported call on Jonathan to jettison his ambition, which elicited mixed responses from prominent northerners with Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State assuring Nigerians that the North would back the President.


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