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Northern Leaders, Atiku, in fresh plot against Jonathan

THE Northern Political Leaders Forum, NPLF, and its consensus candidate, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, have gone back to the drawing board to map out fresh strategies on the way forward, Vanguard can reveal.

Vanguard can also reveal that the possible outcome of consultations being made by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar do not point in the direction of a likely cessation of confrontation on the matter of zoning contrary to insinuations that he is under pressure to concede victory.

This is happening at a time President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential flag-bearer is intensifying reconciliation efforts meant to assuage the fears of party leaders who lost at the various congresses, as well as forge a more united front for the party ahead of the April presidential election.

Meeting on way forward for Atiku and the plot

Vanguard discovered that between 6:20 pm and 8:30 pm, Saturday, January 15, 2011, proponents of the zoning arrangement of the PDP met at the residence of Mallam Adamu Ciroma to discuss what an insider described as “the review of the presidential primaries of the PDP and to plan the next line of action.”

Among those in attendance at the meeting were former Inspector General of Police, IGP, MD Yusuf; Alhaji Bello Kirfi, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai and Ahmed Mohammed Gusau, among others. Ciroma told those in attendance that the rumour about a possible betrayal on the part of General Ibrahim Babangida who was also rumoured to have sent a congratulatory message to President Jonathan may not be true after all, but that the PDP state governors were the ones who swayed victory in favour of President Jonathan.

A Vanguard source, however, said that Mallam Ciroma suggested that part of the defeat of Atiku should be laid squarely at the feet of Atiku because he “did not listen and did not make use of the pieces of advice that were suggested to him.” In fact, Vanguard was made to understand that some of those in attendance agreed that an earlier suggestion to Atiku not to participate in the presidential contest was rebuffed by the latter.

The meeting, apart from resolving to continue with the pursuit of the litigation about the propriety or otherwise of a President Jonathan being presented by the PDP, also devised other further approaches to the matter of zoning.

One of such, Vanguard discovered, would be to thoroughly comb the PDP Constitution with a fine tooth comb with a view to ascertaining “what the law states in the event that should Mr. President (be) eventually disqualified by the court” and whether the PDP would be “allowed to nominate another candidate, or would the aspirant that came second at the PDP Presidential primaries be chosen”.

Interestingly, one of those in attendance insisted that the major plank of opposition on the zoning arrangement that was perceived as being flouted with the participation of President Jonathan should be the law courts. And whereas an enlarged meeting of the NPLF was earlier proposed for either last Sunday, January 16, 2011, or Monday, January 17, 2011, the plan was shelved because of the need for proper representation.

The meeting also noted that every member of the consensus quartet did his best in support of Atiku’s candidacy but insisted that the state governors held the ace. Vanguard noted that on Friday, January 14, 2011, the day after the PDP presidential contest, Atiku had held a closed door meeting with a few of his associates at his residence in Asokoro. In attendance at that meeting were Ciroma, Senator Ben Obi, the DG of the Atiku Campaign Organisation, Yakassai, Dubem Onyia, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, Mohammed Shaba Lafiaji and Bashir Yusuf, among others.

While reviewing the contest, the general consensus was that the “voting pattern at the primaries was done in such a way as to pave way for Mr. President to win.”

Jonathan intensifies reconciliation

Vanguard can also reveal that reconciliation efforts of President Jonathan have engaged a more purposeful gear. Feelers from Aso Rock Presidential Villa and some confidants of Mr. President suggest that the latter was not leaving any stone unturned in his bid to bring disparate interests together to work for the party at the April presidential elections.

A source said that at “formal and informal levels, the direct and indirect levels, the President has been holding consultations and re-assuring all that he would operate by the words he declared after his victory that there is no victor and no vanquished.

“If you look at the way the President was able to engage the state governors at last month’s NEC meeting, he kept his promise and was able to work well with the state governors. He is also promising the same thing and expects and believes that members of the party must come together, irrespective of earlier held positions before the presidential contest. And I can honestly tell you that Mr. President is making good progress.”

Vanguard has also been reliably informed that one of those playing a very significant role in the on-going reconciliation moves are former Board of Trustees Chairman, Chief Tony Anenih. Also said to be playing a pivotal role is Vice President Namadi Sambo, Senate President David Mark, Ogun State Governor Gbenga Daniel, among others.

There were, however, fresh indications that Atiku’s challengers for the NPLF consensus presidential aspirant may have resolved with him to remain within the party and pursue their plans without going to court.

This  it was learnt followed another meeting between Atiku, Babangida and Gusau on Sunday night where issues from the primaries were articulated.

-Vanguard

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