- Category: Politics
- Published on Sunday, 15 May 2011 08:49
- Written by Admin
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The Abeokuta, Ogun state country-home of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, has become a Mecca of sorts for politicians across the country seeking various political appointments in the proposed new cabinet of President Goodluck Jonathan, Sunday Trust checks has revealed.
Last week, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) requested its 36 state-chapters to nominate persons as ministers in the next cabinet. The party’s chapters were also asked to suggest names of its members who could be considered for appointments into the boards of federal parastatals, ahead of May 29 presidential inauguration.
The letter written by Dr Bello Haliru Mohammed-led National Working Committee (NWC) asked each state to nominate three persons as potential ministers and seven others for likely appointment into the boards of federal parastatals.
But, checks at the Hilltop residence of the former president, who is also the Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the party, showed that since the release of the party’s letter, top politicians in and around the country have been visiting the former president’s residence for possible nomination.
Apart from personal visits by the who-is-who in the PDP to the Abeokuta residence, a close aide of the former president told our reporter that Obasanjo has been overwhelmed with numerous telephone calls through his aides. “Every ten minutes we received calls from persons who want favour from Obasanjo, both known and unknown politicians. They want appointments with Baba. Few days back, one of the callers could not even identify who he was speaking with, claiming that my number was only given to him through one of Baba’s contacts in the South-East region.”
It would be recalled that last week, the PDP’s South-West Caucus met to endorse a member of the House of Representatives, Muraina Ajibola, as possible Speaker.
Meanwhile, Vice President Namadi Sambo, stepped up the Presidency’s lobbying to ensure that Muraina Ajibola is voted as the next Speaker, when he visited the Seventh Assembly’s which held a closed-door meeting at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja yesterday to deliberate on strategies to put in place to beat the force of elements opposing to the PDP’s decision to ask the South-West to produce the Speaker.
The meeting may be an attempt to checkmate threats by members of the House of Representatives from the North-West and South-East, who, feeling frustrated by the party’s zoning formula, are making plans to elect a Speaker separate from the candidate of the PDP.
Among the lawmakers from the North-West who are being touted as possible candidates include Farouk Lawan (PDP, Kano) and Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (PDP, Sokoto State).
Our correspondent who was at Transcorp Hilton yesterday when Vice President Sambo met with the Seventh Assembly Group noticed that Sambo urged the meeting to keep party affiliations aside for the purpose of enthroning enduring democracy in the country. He told them that four years is more than enough to ensure party discipline.
The leader of the Seventh Assembly Group, Dr Abdulmumin Jubrin, told the gathering that, “the group will not compromise the unity of the country, integrity of the House in terms of the quality of its leadership. We must screen everybody who wants to lead the House and every candidate will tell us his agenda for the House, for the country and the newly elected members”.
ACN to support emergence of female Speaker
The battle of wits between the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and former President Olusegun Obasanjo may have shifted from the South -West region to the chambers of the National Assembly with the alleged endorsement of Rep Mulikat Akande-Adeola (PDP, Oyo State) for the coveted seat of the Speaker of the House of Representatives against former President Obasanjo’s alleged preferred candidate, Ajibola Muraino (PDP, Oyo state).
The ACN members of the House were said to have kicked against the adoption of Muraino, saying they would be more comfortable with Mrs Akande as they alleged that the former President may have undue influence on Muraino.
The ACN, according to one of its members-elect, acknowledges the constitutional provision stating that only a party with majority in parliament produced the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and the zoning of the position to the South West region by the PDP.
The ACN members-elect said its members may not be too comfortable with Obasanjo’s choice, pointing out that the former President is out to control the House of Representatives following his defeat by the ACN in the South West.
The ACN members-elect who confided in Sunday Trust said the party and their preferred candidate had started reaching out to some influential members-elect from the various regions for support.
According to them, Mrs Akande would be more acceptable to the people especially in the northern part, as her background as a Muslim who grew up, schooled in Kaduna and can speak Hausa with ease, would allay the fear of marginalization by the North.
Meanwhile, Senator Smart Adeyemi last night explained why the North Central senators decided not to contest the position of Senate Presidency and rather support the candidature of Senator David Mark. Speaking to Sunday Trust, Adeyemi said, “since the return of democracy in 1999, there’s been no Senate President who has led without crisis. But during the tenure of David Mark, there’s been peace and stability. There’s been no move for impeachment, so we’re not just supporting him blindly. We’ve had discussions with him on how to improve on the activities of the Senate and he has agreed to tackle some of the issues we raised.”
Reacting to criticisms that under Senator David Mark, the Senate had done whatever the Executive asked it to do without asking questions, Senator Adeyemi said, “he’s a listening person. We’ve told him that we need radical reforms and he has agreed to ensure that.”
Contenders for PDP national chairmanship race
The expanded National Caucus of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) last Tuesday endorsed the proposal for the emergence of a new National Chairman of the party, who should be a Muslim, from North-East geo-political zone.
But Dr Bello Haliru Mohammed-led National Working Committee (NWC) will hold their office till March next year when an Elective Special National Convention will take place to elect new PDP National Chairman.
As the caucus decision on the zone to produce National Chairman awaits further meeting of the party’s Board of Trustees (BOT) and final approval by the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting, interested stakeholders from the North-East geo-political zone have started declaring their interest in the exalted seat.
They include: Aliyu Modibbo Umar (Gombe), Adamu Mu’azu (Bauchi), Danjuma Goje (Gombe), Ambassador Hassan Adamu (Adamawa), Adamu Maina Waziri (Yobe), Malam Murtala Aliyu (Gombe) and Rufai Ahmed Alkali (Gombe). They are believed to have commenced underground campaigns to lead the nation’s ruling party, PDP. (Sunday Trust)