- Category: Politics
- Published on Tuesday, 14 December 2010 09:53
- Written by National Daily
- Hits: 1316
FORMER military president Ibrahim Babangida may again vindicate those who insist that he is yet to repent from his wily unpredictable nature.
His traducers leaned on the widely refrained proverb: “Leopard does not change its spots,” vowing that Babangida will soon make another deft move and eventually score yet another Maradonic goal in the nation's dinghy political arena.
Paying lip service to consensus
National Daily recently in an edition captioned, “How Atiku upstaged IBB” reported that the last may not have been heard from the gap-tooth retired armour general who lost to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar in the contest to determined the Northern consensus candidate who will eventually square up against President Goodluck Jonathan at the PDP presidential primary.
Relying on our competent sources, we had reported that despite his public stage managed posturing; Babangida is really embittered over his rejection by the north and may have recourse to a plan B in his desperation to contest the 2011 presidential election.National Daily hinted that the man also known as IBB may dump PDP and try to actualize his ambition in a rival party. Unfolding events since the public pronouncement of Atiku as the winner of the Adamu Ciroma panel screening exercise has not only confirmed our earlier intelligence report but has furthermore revealed the hitherto hidden crisis growing in the north and among the consensus aspirants over the choice of Atiku Abubakar as the region's flag bearer.
For instance, to tactically avoid public opprobrium especially among his Arewa brothers, Babangida has allowed Senator Ranti Bello, the Deputy Director-General of his Campaign Organisation to speak his shadowy mind in his numerous utterances soon after Atiku was unveiled as the Consensus candidate, Bello reportedly described his choice as “irrational” and inferred that the looming discontentment may spell doom for the evasive victory at 2011 polls.
Babangida then tickled frail nerves when he addressed the media to attempt to stir national sentiment on the reason for his seeming political ostracism. Babangida reportedly lamented that despite his self-acclaimed adherent, during his tenure as military president between 1985 and1993, Nigerians are only willing to romanticize the annulment of June 12, 1993 presidential election won by late Bashorun MKO Abiola as well as the allegation that he (Babangida) institutionalized corruption in all facets of our national life. Babangida reportedly alleged that his predecessors may have enriched themselves millions time over giving instances of their corrupt practices.
Sources disclosed that Babangida was devastated by his failure to clinch the northern consensus candidate endorsement despite his high expectation and intensive effort towards that objective.
Babangida according to sources has been remonstrating over the implication of his rejection by the Adamu Ciroma panel which had screened himself and three others.
“IBB worked so hard to emerge as the northern consensus candidate. He spent about N10 billion including contact and mobilization expenses. He also spent huge sum of money as public relations “PR” gifts for influential northern leaders. He was sure of clinching the endorsement even 24 hours to the formal announcement,” our source said, adding: “IBB felt betrayed by the north who have benefited from his economic and political policies such as the IOC (Organisation of Islamic Countries) issue. He thought they would be swayed by the need to have another former military Head of State from the north get elected as civilian president like Obasanjo from the South.
IBB from his grievances gave the impression that he would have preferred to lose to Jonathan at the PDP primary than to be rejected by his own Arewa brothers. He has expressed his regrets to members of the Adamu Ciroma panel and some northern Emirs.” National Daily learned that Babangida has not formally disbanded his campaign organisation neither has he permitted his Director-General Raymond Aleogho Dokpesi to make imputs in the new operation/strategy of the expanded Atiku Abubakar campaign organisation. “At a meeting where Senator Ben Ndi Obi was recommended as the new Director-General of the Atiku campaign organisation, Dokpesi was inexplicably absent,” a source said. It was further learned that contrary to his public approbation, Dokpesi is among those who are mounting unrestrained pressure on Babangida to shun the northern consensus group and decamp to an opposition party in order to effectively challenge President Goodluck Jonathan in the April 2011 presidential poll.
IBB caucus re-strategizes
Dokpesi and Babangida's Advisers were alleged to have held a crucial meeting few days ago in a secret location in Abuja where they reviewed events so far and allegedly agreed that Jonathan is likely to defeat Atiku at the PDP primary in January. They held that Babangida's image and political relevance has been adversely eroded by his rejection by the Adamu Ciroma panel. So there is a dire need for him to retrieve himself from the debris of obscurity as quickly as possible. The pro-IBB group was said to have visited their principal and allegedly impressed on him to dump the Peoples Democratic Party and defect to the All Nigeria's Peoples Party (ANPP), where he will clinch the presidential ticket with qualms.
Sources said Babangida has mandated a strategy team to discreetly discuss the possibility of his deflection with the ANPP national chairman, Ogbonnaya Onu and his team. Onu became governor of Abia State during the Babangida regime as one of his much taunted new-breed politician.
Our competent source disclosed that Dokpesi was overheard recently lamenting his ordeal during the Abuja bomb blast saga. He was quoted as saying he was humiliated by his arrest which he claimed could have smeared him locally and overseas as a terrorist. Dokpesi allegedly swore that he will do everything within the law to ensure that Jonathan did not covet PDP presidential poll ticket or emerge victorious at the 2011 general polls. Dokpesi was said to be among those working assiduously on Babangida's plan B which sources said may be unfolded immediately after the PDP presidential primary expected to be between Jonathan and Atiku.
Gusau also recants
National Daily learned that the Babangida group are not alone in anticipating Atiku's failure at the primary, former National Security Adviser, Gen. Mohammed Aliyu Gusau (retd) is said to be nursing his own ambition still albeit quietly despite official statements expressing support for the choice of Atiku as northern presidential candidate.
“You know Babangida and Gusau are two crafty old soldiers. They are playing political chess game with Atiku and northern consensus issue. They say what they do not mean in other not to rock the boat or give impression that they are desperate for power,” our knowledgeable source said, adding: “The two are really working on two theories: Atiku's presidential ambition could be a mirage as a result of the numerous allegation of corruption raised against him, he could be legally checkmated or he will eventually lose to Jonathan at the primary. IBB and Gusau are allegedly standing by to substitute Atiku or explore other available platform.”
National Daily gathered that Gusau has also not disbanded his own campaign organisation and none of his staff has been permitted to make inputs in the now inclusive Atiku campaign organisation. Sources said Gusau still believe that it is not over until it is all over.
Kwara State governor, Bukola Saraki is said to be the only one among the aspirants who has really surrendered his ambition to support Atiku's effort.
It was reliably gathered that Babangida's recent letter to President Goodluck Jonathan advising him to uphold the party's zoning principle according to the perceived declaration of an Abuja High Court threatening to leave the party if his request was not obliged was a strategic way of testing the waters before his speculated defection to another party, presumably the All Nigeria Peoples Party.
Sources said that Babangida's strategy team had advised him to capitalize on the controversy surrounding PDP's implementation of the party's zoning principle to move over to another platform with minimal public opprobrium and credibility damage. “IBB's main objective is to gauge the reaction of PDP hierarchy and party members to the possibility of his exit. He also wanted to feel the reaction of the entire electorates and the media. The statement on Abuja High Court ruling on zoning was intended to water the grounds before IBB's exit from PDP,” an informed source said.
“IBB believes that it is now or never. If he misses this opportunity to contest for the presidency in a civilian administration, he will never have the chance again. He desperately needed to become a democratically elected president to clean up his battered image position himself now as a born again democrat. He must run eventually. He is only waiting for the outcome of the PDP primary election between Jonathan and Atiku before he proclaims his plan B. He is even happy that the presidency advised him to quit the party if he cannot accept the court verdict on zoning,” our source said.
Meanwhile, it appears that the much talked about PDP presidential primary may have been won and lost as the party's recently released new order of primaries which may see Jonathan being endorsed as the national consensus candidate of the party by the expanded National Executive Committee consisting of serving elected Senators and members of the House of Representative.In the new order of the primaries, approved by the national working committee, the national caucus and Board of Trustees of the party, the National Assembly election is now slated for January 4 and 5, while the presidential primary will take place on January 9, the Governorship and State House of Assembly will hold on January 12.
It will be recalled that recently about 254 House of Reps members endorsed Jonathan as their Consensus Candidate. Sources said that as at last week about half of the Senators have tacitly endorsed Jonathan's candidacy, leaving the coast clear for his final emergence as the party's consensus candidate. This permutation according to analyst will make the anticipated PDP presidential primary a non issue. However, sources said that Nigeria Governors Forum and presidential aspirant, Atiku Abubakar are not happy with the recent change in the order of party primary and have allegedly began moves to forestall its implementation. The governors, according to sources, will meet in Abuja this week to deliberate on the situation while Atiku is said to be making frantic effort to convince certain governors and nonaligned national Assembly member to pressure for the retention of the previous order.
However, a new twist reportedly emerged during the week in the struggle by the northern geo-political zones to produce the president come 2011. Not ready to leave any stone unturned in its bid to retain the presidency, the north may have allegedly decided to explore more options than it is currently doing as the date for the 2011 presidential contest draws closer. In a move that appears to confirm our last week's story on the possibility of a 'Plan B' following the adoption of Atiku Abubakar as consensus candidate, eminent northern political leaders at a meeting in Kaduna last Tuesday approved the formation of a new committee to take another look at the region's chances of producing the president come 2011.
According to reports, the new committee, under the chairmanship of Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, prominent politician and critic, is saddled with the duty of looking beyond the Peoples Democratic Party in the North's presidential project.
The committee allegedly became necessary following the expression of doubts by leaders present about the ability of the region's consensus candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to snatch the PDP presidential ticket from the grip of incumbent president, Goodluck Jonathan.
“Following a heated debate among leaders present at the meeting that was actually called to review the events that followed the adoption of a consensus candidate, it became clear that there is need to look beyond the PDP ticket if the region is serious about its plan to retain the presidency for another term of four years.
Sources said that, aside from the political elders like Alhaji Adamu Ciroma, Lawal Keita, Iyorchia Ayu and others who attended the meeting, the four PDP presidential aspirant of North were well represented by the leadership of their respective campaign organizations. “In fact, the deliberations got to a point that mention were made of General Muhammadu Buhari, Alhaji Bashir Tofa and other presidential aspirants outside the PDP. The new idea is that, if the North must stop Jonathan, it should no longer be a party issue. Rather, we must make it a project that is beyond the manipulation of the presidency and the ruling party,” our source added.
“Consequent upon the deliberations, the Yakassai committee was put in place to start the process of involving other aspirants and politicians outside PDP in the project. To my own understanding, their duty is to let the people of the region know that the quest is not just a PDP affair. They are to let people know that irrespective of party affiliations, the North should be willing to work as one in 2011, regardless of the outcome of the PDP primaries,” he said.
The Yakassai committee, which is expected to be working underground for a while, will constantly furnish the larger house with its findings as it progresses in its task. Effort to reach Yakassai for confirmation proved abortive as he was not seen at his homes in Abuja and Kano while calls made to his phone were unanswered.
But a close associate of his, pleading anonymity, confirmed the development but added that it is still a mere suggestion.
“I don't know if the committee is in place already. What I am aware, however, is that there was a suggestion in that direction at their meeting. He is being touted as the leader of the committee,” the associate claimed. Nigerians are anxiously waiting to see Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida a.k.a Maradona, dribble himself out of this seeming cull de sac