By Soni Daniel, Regional Editor, North
ABUJA — Strong indications emerged, yesterday, that the North has taken a resolute decision not to support the candidature of President Goodluck Jonathan should he decide to run in 2015.
Rather than give its blessing to Jonathan’s re-election, the north is now fine-tuning strategies to project one of its leading lights for the presidency in 2015 with Speaker Aminu Tambuwal increasingly winning the favour of some northern governors.
Vanguard learnt from reliable sources that influential Northern political leaders were deeply concerned about the deteriorating quality of life in Nigeria, particularly in the North occasioned by endless poverty and intractable security challenges that have continued to claim lives and property.
In addition, political gladiators in the region were peeved by the attempt by President Jonathan to dump the gentleman’s agreement he reportedly entered into with Northern governors in 2010 to serve for only one term of four years.
A Northern governor, who told Vanguard that he was part of the team that brokered the deal with the president, described as shocking the seeming rebuttal of an agreement he said would have seen the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, zone its presidential ticket to the North in 2015.
The governor, who pleaded anonymity, pointed out that the denial of the deal was a calculated attempt to ridicule the North.
Jonthan must honour agreement with the North
He said: “Look, an agreement is an agreement whether written or verbal. In this case, Mr. President cannot say that he did not plead with us to back him for only a term after which he would return power to the North.
”Our position is that he should be gentleman enough to honour that agreement and concede power to the North on moral grounds.
“But let me tell you that the North is not happy with the attempt by the President to jettison what he agreed with us even when he went to Addis Ababa.
”It was based on the firm belief by us that he would run for a term that we mobilised our traditional, political and religious leaders at all levels in the North to support the election of Jonathan in 2011.
“However, if the President wants to take us for a ride, let him wait and see what we can do in 2015. We have decided to take our destiny in our hands by forging ahead as a group in the next election,” the source hinted.
North considers Tambuwal
It was learnt that although the Northern political leaders were united on the need to dump Jonathan and back one of their own in 2015, the major problem confronting them at the moment, was how to decide on a presidential candidate.
It was also gathered that while no fewer than five Northern governors were jostling for the presidential post, political leaders in the region were seriously mulling the idea of drafting the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, into the race.
The decision to look in the direction of Tambuwal was borne out of the fear that the presidency could use the anti-graft agencies to scare the Northern governors, with eyes on the top post.
Those who favour drafting Tambuwal into the presidential race, argue that he possesses all the qualities of a good leader, who can take Nigeria to the next level, if given the opportunity.
Another northern governor, who is in support of Tambuwal said: “Not only is he very pragmatic and conversant with the Nigerian situation, he also possesses what the nation requires to move forward.
“In fact, I can tell you that the North is thinking seriously about the idea and we believe that at the right time it will be done,” the governor said.