By EMMANUEL AZIKEN & HENRY UMORU
LAGOS — THE pathway to reconciliation between President Goodluck Jonathan and his foes in the Northern Political Leaders Forum, NPLF, has been articulated in a report of a joint committee constituted by both parties.
Both sides were evasive on the contents of the report which was to be submitted last night. It was, however, gathered that it contained provisions that would accommodate supporters of the NPLF and its presidential aspirant, Atiku Abubakar, in an enlarged Presidential Campaign Committee of the President.
News of the report which was being kept under close wraps came as President Jonathan, weekend, charged his top campaign aides to pursue former President Ibrahim Babangida and erstwhile National Security Adviser, Gen. Aliyu Mohammed Gusau (rtd), for the purpose of bringing them on board.
President Jonathan had, weekend, crossed the bridge when he paid a visit to Mallam Adamu Ciroma at his Abuja residence.
Vanguard learnt that the outcome of the meeting was a report that could forge permanent peace between the President and the NPLF.
Before the President visited Ciroma, the erstwhile Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the PDP, Chief Anthony Anenih, had played the role of peacemaker between the President and the NPLF.
Decision of NPLF
It was learnt that the option of peace with President Jonathan followed the decision of the NPLF to discard the two other options before it. The other options were to support the Presidential Candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, Major General Muhammadu Buhari or to frustrate President Jonathan’s election bid through the courts.
Sources in the Buhari camp confirmed last night that there had been no approaches from the Mallam Adamu Ciroma-led NPLF.
Buhari’s spokesman, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, said: “No approach has been made so far but Gen. Buhari has always maintained that he appreciates support from all sections of Nigeria and as far as we are concerned he is not a candidate of a section of the country.
His constituency is the Federal Republic of Nigeria and all the constituent units but he will not turn down support from any group of persons provided they are Nigerians.” Vanguard learnt last night, that the NPLF would in the next two days make a declaration on the development.
The marching order from President Jonathan to his campaign aides is coming on the heels of the President’s plan to heal the wounds that the pre and post PDP Presidential primaries inflicted on the aspirants.
This was the outcome of the meeting President Jonathan held with members of the just constituted Presidential Campaign Council 2011. The meeting which was chaired by President Jonathan, took place at the Legacy House, Saturday, with the major agenda of stock taking, the journey so far and where to go from there on the Jonathan/Sambo presidential campaign.
The meeting started at 10.00pm on Saturday and stretched till 2.30am on Sunday morning with the Acting National Chairman, Alhaji Haliru Muhammed Bello, Senator Dalhatu Sarki Tafida, Chief Tony Anenih, Senator Grace Folashade Bent, Senator Teslim Folarin, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, the Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Ogiadomhe, and others in attendance.
It was gathered that as soon as the meeting started, the President briefed members of efforts he made to reach out to Mallam Adamu Ciroma, Ibrahim Babangida, Atiku, Gusau, and others, just as he stressed the need to mend fences with his former contenders in the PDP presidential race including Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida and General Aliyu Gusau.
He then told members of the Presidential Campaign Council 2011 to work out modalities for a meaningful relationship with them.
A source at the meeting said President Jonathan saddled members of the council with the responsibility of reaching out to the former Presidential aspirants as well as open up discussions with them with a view to bringing them on board early enough against the backdrop that he is ready to have his former opponents join him in forming the next government after the April Polls.
It was also gathered that at the meeting after a brief proposal by Ojo Maduekwe who served as Secretary, members spoke on how to finance the 10 committees recently set up by the PDP and the Presidency to see to the emergence of Jonathan as President in the April Presidential election.
Ojo Maduekwe at the meeting stressed the need for creating a sub-committee for the Campaign Council, an indication that more prominent members of PDP would still be enlisted in the committee which holds its next meeting early this week. The meeting, it was learnt, also stressed the importance of the media in the campaign process and the need to properly fund the media committees in order for them to function effectively.
It would be recalled that the PDP brought in former President Olusegun Obasanjo on board of Jonathan’s Presidential campaign as he was named as a key member of Presidential Campaign Council 2011 in his capacity as the Chairman Board of Trustees of PDP.
Other members of the Presidential Council are the Senate President, David Mark, House of Representatives Speaker, Dimeji Bankole, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, House of Representatives Leader, Tunde Akogun, Ogun State Governor, Gbenga Daniel, Babangida Muazu, Bukola Saraki, among others.
Besides the Campaign Council headed by President Jonathan, other Committees include Presidential Campaign Directors, zonal co-ordinators which include Liyel Imoke, SouthSsouth; Martin Elechi, South-East; Gbenga Daniel, South-West; Gabriel Suswam, Middle Belt; Isa Yuguda, North-East and Ibrahim Shema, North-West.
Other Committees include Entertainment/Protocol Committee, Publicity Secretary which include Tony Iredia, Ojeifo Sufuyan, Ima Niboro, Doyin Okupe, Oronto Douglas, Raymond Dokpesi with PDP National Publicity Secretary, Ahmed Rufai Alkali as Chairman.
There is also the Finance and Fund Raising Committee headed by Oba Otudeko, while the Security Committee is headed by Mike Okiro, just as there is the Inter_Party Relations Committee and headed by Chief Ebenezer Babatope.
Another strategic Committee for Jonathan Sambo campaign include Monitoring/Strategic Committee headed by President Jonathan with PDP National Chairman, Bello Muhammed, David Mark, Anyim Pius Anyim, Shuaibu Oyedokun, Ojo Maduekwe and others as members.
The Donor Committee is headed By Alhaji Aliko Dangote while Mr Tony Elumelu, Alhaji Kashim Bukar, Chief Emeka Offor, Mike Adenuga, Femi Otedola, Jim Ovia, Sayyu Dantata, Kola Salako and late President Umoru Yar’Adua’s closest friend, Alhaji Dahiru Mangal as members.