Home » Elections 2011 » Jonathan visits Ciroma at home •Contact committee put in place

Jonathan visits Ciroma at home •Contact committee put in place

There are indications that some key members of the Atiku Campaign Organisation and key officers of the Alhaji Adamu Ciroma-led Northern Political Leaders

Forum (NPLF) would soon be incorporated into the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) of President Goodluck Jonathan, following reconciliation talks held in Abuja late on Friday between President Goodluck Jonathan and the pro-zoning NPLF members.

A committee was said to have been set up after a meeting with some key men in the Atiku team and chieftains of the NPLF after President Jonathan surprisingly showed up at Ciroma’s Abuja home on Friday.

Sources close to the meeting told Sunday Tribune that the president decided to visit Ciroma and leading members of the pro-zoning caucus in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) because of the belief that no member or segment of the party should be left out of the campaign train.

The president has been consistent in his declaration that he will ensure he carries every member of the party along in the process that followed his victory after the January 13 presidential primaries.

He had also offered olive branch to Atiku Abubakar and other contenders in his speech after the presidential primaries.

A source said President Jonathan had given indication of his decision to meet with Ciroma and other Northern leaders who are concerned about zoning, but that situation before Friday had not permitted him to do so.

It was, however, gathered that the president decided to bridge the gap between himself and the Ciroma-led group on Friday when he asked only a few trusted aides to follow him to Ciroma’s house.

It was reasoned that some political analysts could misread the peace move, if the president had asked Ciroma and his team to meet him at the villa. It was also learnt that Jonathan told his aides that he should play the father figure by visiting Ciroma, who he said was older than him in age.

Sources confirmed that the president agreed to the setting up of a committee to look into the grievances of the Ciroma/Atiku Abubakar team.

A source said that some of the top coordinators of the Atiku Abubakar campaign could be co-opted into the just inaugurated Jonathan/Sambo Presidential campaign Committee.

Jonathan, Shekarau, Buhari fight over 18m N/W votes

Meanwhile, it has also emerged that President Goodluck Jonathan, presidential candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) presidential standard bearer, General Muhammadu Buhari, are in hot contest for the votes of the seven Northwestern states, which amount to 18 million.

The zone registered the highest number of voters in the just-concluded voter registration exercise, leaving the South-West in a second position with 15 million voters.

It was gathered that Buhari has largely relied on religion as a tool for his campaign in the zone so far.

A source, however, said the reliance on religion by Buhari appeared to have backfired, following his decision to pick Lagos cleric, Pastor Tunde Bakare, as his running mate.

Many Northerners view Bakare, who was born a Muslim, to have committed something close to sacrilege when he converted to Christianity. They believe that Islam views such behaviour seriously and that the choice of the pastor has tainted Buhari’s campaign.

It was gathered that Buhari is also being confronted by a stunted campaign in Kano and Katsina states as a result of his failure to resolve the crisis that erupted over the gubernatorial primaries in the two states.

While Shekarau is said to be strong in Kano, sources confirmed that the scenario that made Jonathan to lose in Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi during the presidential primaries had changed.

A top political leader in the zone confided in Sunday Tribune that the internal wrangling which led to the failure of the governors to deliver the states during the primaries had been wiped off, and that party men were now resolutely working together in the said states.

For instance, the threat posed by forces loyal to former Governor Adamu Aliero in the CPC in Kebbi State was said to have forced members of the PDP to work together.

A source also said that the state is set to make a statement on behalf of the acting chairman of the party, Dr. Haliru Bello, who hails from the state, in a bid to secure the post on a permanent basis for the zone.

The fear of a bandwagon effect of votes working against the governors at their election, which comes up after that of the president, is also said to be working in favour of Jonathan in Sokoto, Zamfara and other core Northern states.

It was gathered that rather than rate Buhari as the leading contender in the North-West, Shekarau is seen as the main contender because of his hold on Kano, while Jonathan is said to be posing a strong challenge in the zone.

-Tribune

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