As a new political bloc emerges in PDP, the former president’s associates regroup for the next political battle
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who saw to the nomination of President Goodluck Jonathan as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate in 2011, may have kept a distance away from groups advocating for Jonathan to run for a second term in 2015, checks by Sunday Trust have revealed.
Sunday Trust learnt that the former president is disenchanted with many political and administrative steps taken by President Jonathan and that may have prompted his decision to thrown in the towel as the Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees. Apart from resigning as the BOT chair, Obasanjo was absent at the recent Council of States meeting held in the Presidential Villa on June 11, 2012, which discussed strategies for tackling the insecurity in the country. Also absent at the meeting were former President Ibrahim Babangida and former Head of State Muhammadu Buhari.
Already, a bloc is emerging in the PDP which tend to have the support of Obasanjo. Members of the bloc include governors who may take a shot at the Presidency in 2015, and they include Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State, Governor Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State, Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State and Governor Musa Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State. None of these governors, who are known associates of Obasanjo, will run for a second term, and have been engaged in subtle moves to contest for the PDP presidential ticket in 2015.
One associate of Obasanjo and former Governor of Nasarawa State, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, has declared that the 2015 Presidency is for the North. According to the senator, who was Obasanjo’s secretary in the BOT, “the PDP has no choice but to give the presidency to the North in 2015. I believe that everybody is saying the same thing – a northern president for 2015; I believe that the north should have a crack at it again. I believe that it is no sin… Take it or leave it, the country is divided; it is North and South. This is a fact; it’s either North or South.”
This statement by Senator Adamu is in consonance with what a former minister in Obasanjo’s cabinet told our reporter last night. Though he didn’t want to be quoted, he revealed that, “Obasanjo is not involved in any campaign for Jonathan for 2015. Rather, what we have is that those of us who worked with him during his years as President have begun to regroup to form a new power bloc within the PDP. As you can see, even many serving governors don’t tend to agree with Jonathan, and may not support his re-election. Obasanjo is disposed toward a president from the North, and there are several possible candidates. From the South-South, he is likely to support Governor Godswill Akpabio as Vice President. A clear picture of the situation will emerge by the middle of 2013. But you’ll realise from Obasanjo’s recent comments on several issues that he’s not on the same page with the president.”
In an interview published by Sunday Trust on September 2, 2012, Obasanjo had made allusion to the clear division in the country, and his discontent with the squandering of money he left in the foreign reserve. He said, “When I came in 1999, we only had $3.7 billion in our foreign reserve. And we were paying $3 billion yearly to manage the debt of about $35 billion. By the time we left in 2007, we had over $45 billion in foreign reserve while the total debt left behind was less than $3 billion. We also saved $25 billion in what we called Excess Crude Account for the rainy day. And when we left, they said the rain had come. They spent the money.”
Also, Obasanjo declared his opposition to the ongoing plans by the Jonathan administration to introduce N5,000 note when he lamented that the move would hike the cost of production for the manufacturing sector. Previously, he would have reserved his position and, perhaps, made his discontent known to Jonathan personally.
Recently, the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), a political organisation in which Obasanjo, the late Shehu Yar’adua, and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar belonged was resuscitated. Sunday Trust learnt that its structure would become an alternative to the PDP if the emerging bloc in the ruling party is shoved aside.
In spite of this political development, some elements in the South-South have insisted that President Jonathan must seek re-election in 2015.