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April elections: Presidency moves to check Arewa opposition

 

The Presidency has begun moves to contain the opposition of the apex socio-cultural group, Arewa Consultative Forum, to President Goodluck Jonathan’s ambition in the April election.

A splinter group had issued a communiqué after ACF’s Tuesday meeting in Kaduna, spurning Jonathan’s emergence as the Peoples Democratic Party candidate for the election.

Jonathan had emerged as the party’s candidate at its presidential primaries early January, after beating a former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar and Mrs. Sarah Jibril.

Before the contest, the Northern Political Leaders Forum led by Alhaji Adamu Ciroma had anointed Atiku as the consensus candidate from the North.

But shortly after the seeming rancorous ACF meeting, which described Jonathan’s emergency as “legally and morally wrong,” it was learnt that he went to his political drawing board with his deputy, Namadi Sambo, on how to neutralise its opposition.

Apparently, the Presidency’s counter-strategy seems to be paying off, as the Arewa group told Sunday Punch that it had made overtures to the president by writing him, and seeking dialogue even before the Tuesday meeting of the ACF.

Investigations on Friday showed that Jonathan had mandated Sambo to engage the aggrieved elements within the AFC and other power blocs in the North on the matter.

Since then, sundry talks had taken place at the presidential villa, involving the vice-president, zonal PDP power blocs and some influential personalities from the North.

One such meeting was between prominent PDP members from the North-East on Wednesday, which was also attended by the party’s governors from the zone.

A similar meeting had been held with the North-West bloc comprising Zamfara, Kebbi, Sokoto and Kano states, a zone that Jonathan could not edge out Atiku at the primaries.

A Presidency source said, “The vice-president has been quite busy since Wednesday after he received briefing from Dr. Hassan Adamu who was his eyes and ears at the meeting.”

Also, another PDP source at one of the meetings, told Sunday Punch that the need to take grass roots campaign seriously was emphasised.

He said, “We know that anti-Jonathan’s elements in the ACF may resort to parochial campaigns.

“We plan door-to-door campaigns to disabuse the minds of the masses; the target audience will be those who can easily be swayed by anti-Jonathan elements.

“We were told to put what happened at the presidential primaries behind us and unite for all the forthcoming elections. We will go from house to house to counter moves by anti-Jonathan elements.”

Also, a Presidency source said the vice-president had met with a former military dictator, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida , who seemed to have welcomed Jonathan’s emergence as he was one of those who congratulated him on his victory.

Babangida, along with Gen. Aliyu Gausau, had jostled with Atiku for the blessing of Northern political leaders as the consensus candidate from the area, but Atiku beat him to it.

Besides Sambo’s ACF containment initiatives, it was also gathered that Jonathan would soon meet with traditional rulers from the North to enlarge his support base.

Despite the ACF hard line posture against Jonathan, its spokesman, Mr. Anthony Sani, told Sunday Punch on Friday that it was ready for dialogue as it was prepared to shift grounds if the president was also willing to play ball.

He said, “We insist on dialogue because we believe that good reasons should prevail over bad reasons. We are willing to shift grounds because dialogue is about give and take.”

Consequently, Sani said the ACF had written a letter to the President on the need for a meeting, but it had not got any reply.

He said, “We are not against Jonathan, but we only fault the recently concluded PDP primaries. We supported him as a vice-president when he demanded that the President should hand over power to him.

“We have written a letter to see the President because we have a lot of respect for his office. So how can we hate him?”

Sani said the ACF condemned the outcome of the PDP presidential primaries, claiming that it was bereft of internal democracy.

He added, “We have always maintained that just as politics is too important to be left to politicians, so is the Nigerian Presidency too important to be left for the PDP as its internal affair.”

The vice-president had sent Adamu as his representative to the Tuesday ACF meeting.

A villa source said that the trajectory of the ACF meeting never showed that any anti-Jonathan communiqué would emerge at the point when Adamu departed the venue of the meeting as it was about to wind up.

A former Secretary of ACF, Mohammed Adbulrahman, who also attended the meeting had said Jonathan’s candidacy was not a product of the meeting, therefore disowned the communiqué that queried his emergence.

But Sani claimed that it did.

However, the resolve of the chairman of ACF, Gen. I.B.M Haruna (retd) to keep the body away from the murky waters of 2011 elections, has led to bids to remove him from office by some partisan elements in the organisation.

With the turn of events, it appears the partisan elements in the ACF do not enjoy the support of 19 Northern Governors Forum, whose scheduled meeting in Adamawa State ended in a fiasco.

The meeting could not form a quorum. Only the host governor, Murtala Nyako, the governors of Niger, Benue and Jigawa states attended, while four others sent their deputies.

The Presidency has begun moves to contain the opposition of the apex socio-cultural group, Arewa Consultative Forum, to President Goodluck Jonathan’s ambition in the April election.

A splinter group had issued a communiqué after ACF’s Tuesday meeting in Kaduna, spurning Jonathan’s emergence as the Peoples Democratic Party candidate for the election.

Jonathan had emerged as the party’s candidate at its presidential primaries early January, after beating a former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar and Mrs. Sarah Jibril.

Before the contest, the Northern Political Leaders Forum led by Alhaji Adamu Ciroma had anointed Atiku as the consensus candidate from the North.

But shortly after the seeming rancorous ACF meeting, which described Jonathan’s emergency as “legally and morally wrong,” it was learnt that he went to his political drawing board with his deputy, Namadi Sambo, on how to neutralise its opposition.

Apparently, the Presidency’s counter-strategy seems to be paying off, as the Arewa group told Sunday Punch that it had made overtures to the president by writing him, and seeking dialogue even before the Tuesday meeting of the ACF.

Investigations on Friday showed that Jonathan had mandated Sambo to engage the aggrieved elements within the AFC and other power blocs in the North on the matter.

Since then, sundry talks had taken place at the presidential villa, involving the vice-president, zonal PDP power blocs and some influential personalities from the North.

One such meeting was between prominent PDP members from the North-East on Wednesday, which was also attended by the party’s governors from the zone.

A similar meeting had been held with the North-West bloc comprising Zamfara, Kebbi, Sokoto and Kano states, a zone that Jonathan could not edge out Atiku at the primaries.

A Presidency source said, “The vice-president has been quite busy since Wednesday after he received briefing from Dr. Hassan Adamu who was his eyes and ears at the meeting.”

Also, another PDP source at one of the meetings, told Sunday Punch that the need to take grass roots campaign seriously was emphasised.

He said, “We know that anti-Jonathan’s elements in the ACF may resort to parochial campaigns.

“We plan door-to-door campaigns to disabuse the minds of the masses; the target audience will be those who can easily be swayed by anti-Jonathan elements.

“We were told to put what happened at the presidential primaries behind us and unite for all the forthcoming elections. We will go from house to house to counter moves by anti-Jonathan elements.”

Also, a Presidency source said the vice-president had met with a former military dictator, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida , who seemed to have welcomed Jonathan’s emergence as he was one of those who congratulated him on his victory.

Babangida, along with Gen. Aliyu Gausau, had jostled with Atiku for the blessing of Northern political leaders as the consensus candidate from the area, but Atiku beat him to it.

Besides Sambo’s ACF containment initiatives, it was also gathered that Jonathan would soon meet with traditional rulers from the North to enlarge his support base.

Despite the ACF hard line posture against Jonathan, its spokesman, Mr. Anthony Sani, told Sunday Punch on Friday that it was ready for dialogue as it was prepared to shift grounds if the president was also willing to play ball.

He said, “We insist on dialogue because we believe that good reasons should prevail over bad reasons. We are willing to shift grounds because dialogue is about give and take.”

Consequently, Sani said the ACF had written a letter to the President on the need for a meeting, but it had not got any reply.

He said, “We are not against Jonathan, but we only fault the recently concluded PDP primaries. We supported him as a vice-president when he demanded that the President should hand over power to him.

“We have written a letter to see the President because we have a lot of respect for his office. So how can we hate him?”

Sani said the ACF condemned the outcome of the PDP presidential primaries, claiming that it was bereft of internal democracy.

He added, “We have always maintained that just as politics is too important to be left to politicians, so is the Nigerian Presidency too important to be left for the PDP as its internal affair.”

The vice-president had sent Adamu as his representative to the Tuesday ACF meeting.

A villa source said that the trajectory of the ACF meeting never showed that any anti-Jonathan communiqué would emerge at the point when Adamu departed the venue of the meeting as it was about to wind up.

A former Secretary of ACF, Mohammed Adbulrahman, who also attended the meeting had said Jonathan’s candidacy was not a product of the meeting, therefore disowned the communiqué that queried his emergence.

But Sani claimed that it did.

However, the resolve of the chairman of ACF, Gen. I.B.M Haruna (retd) to keep the body away from the murky waters of 2011 elections, has led to bids to remove him from office by some partisan elements in the organisation.

With the turn of events, it appears the partisan elements in the ACF do not enjoy the support of 19 Northern Governors Forum, whose scheduled meeting in Adamawa State ended in a fiasco.

The meeting could not form a quorum. Only the host governor, Murtala Nyako, the governors of Niger, Benue and Jigawa states attended, while four others sent their deputies.

-Punch

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Posted by on Jan 30 2011. Filed under Arewa House, Goodluck Jonathan (2010-present), Presidency. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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