There are strong indications that Vice President Namadi Sambo has a severe case of the jitters and mounting sleepless nights over reported pressures on President Goodluck Jonathan to drop him as running mate in the 2015 presidential election.
A Nigeria newspaper, The Nation, reported yesterday that Jonathan’s strategists have recommended that Sambo be dropped for one of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) governors in the North-West zone, as a strategy for grabbing the support of the three Northern zones.
It was also reported that Jonathan’s middlemen and pundits have submitted a comprehensive assessment of Sambo, in which he is dismissed as “politically light and with no electoral value or strong base”, capable of advancing Jonathan’s 2015 Project. The Project is led by Oronto Douglas, Jonathan’s Man Friday.
A competent source in the Presidency in Abuja confirmed to SaharaReporters that the jitters in the camp of Sambo, who nurses presidential ambitions of his own, are quite strong but that he is networking frantically in order to regain his relevance in the eyes of those that matter in Jonathan’s political calculations.
The source added that Jonathan may pick as his running mate any of the relevant PDP governors, excluding new Kaduna State Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, who like his political godfather Sambo, is still learning the art of the politics of the long knives and sharp blades.
The source affirmed that Jonathan’s main worry about Sambo is his inability to organize a strong political base in his home state of Kaduna and the North, given his serial electoral losses in previous elections. The Vice President, one source said, has been courting former President Olusegun Obasanjo and some prominent Northern politicians such as General Ibrahim Babangida, to get them to intervene to enable him to obtain a soft landing.
The task before Sambo, in terms of containing opposition in the North, is formidable, and his spokesman and political adviser, Umar Sani and Abba Dabo, are said to be overwhelmed by the dicey challenge confronting their principal.
Others, such as Senator Isaiah Balat, according to the source, have lost out in the volatile politics of Southern Kaduna where there is a serious feud between the youth and the elite. As Jonathan’s strategists have affirmed in their match-plan, the Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Sani Sidi; and the Minister of Environment, Hajiya Hadiza Mailafiya, both of them cronies of Sambo, also lack a strong base in Kaduna.