From Chuks Okocha
Ahead of the 2011 presidential election, some prominent northern leaders under the auspices of the G15 Northern Leaders Forum met in Abuja yesterday to discuss President Goodluck Jonathan’s purported presidential ambition and alleged plan by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party to dump its zoning arrangement.
Investigations revealed that the G15 members met in the home of former vice president Atiku Abubakar in Abuja and after several hours of deliberations agreed to have a wider consultation before taking a position on both issues.
“The G15 held a meeting in Abuja to discuss and strategize on how to ensure that the presidential flag bearer of all the major political parties emerge from the north. The meeting was emphatic that the presidential candidate of the PDP must remain in the north till 2015,” a source at the meeting said. The source also said the politicians from the north were worried about “plans to rubbish” the gentleman agreement reached on power rotation between the north and south.
Specifically, the northern leaders are unhappy that the gentleman arrangement, which produced former president Olusegun Obasanjo for eight years and now zoned to the north by the PDP till 2015 is about to be dumped. “Article 7(2) (c) of the PDP is clear on our party’s rotation policy. It says in pursuance of the principle of equity, justice and fairness, the party shall adhere to the policy of rotation and zoning of party and public elective offices and shall be enforced by the appropriate executive committee at all level,” said one of the northern leaders who attended the meeting.
Participants at the meeting, it was gathered, said they would galvanize all resources within their means to ensure that the north does not suffer from some “hawks that want to deny it of its constitutional provision since the south has taken its eight years under Obasanjo.” It was gathered that the group plans to meet the National Working Committee of the PDP and also take their complaints to the National Executive Committee of the party for “justice and fair play.” Sources said five members represented each of the three geo-political zones in the north.
The Northwest members that attended the meeting were Alhaji Lawal Kaita, Gen Aliyu Gusau, Magaji Dambatta, retired General Mohammed Magoro and Alhaji M.D Yusuf. Those from the North-central were General Ibrahim Babangida, Dr. Solomon Lar, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, and Dr. Tom Adaba who stood in for retired General David Jemibewon.Adamu Ciroma, Bello Kirfi, Dr. Shettima Mustapha, Prof. Sa’ad Abubakar, and Atiku represented the Northeast.
There have been intense speculations about the presidential ambition of Jonathan in 2011, though he has not come out to say that he would contest. Obasanjo had during a visit to the United States denied being aware of the rotational policy of the PDP, urging Jonathan to contest if he so desires. A presidential aide, Cairo Ojougboh has also recently come out to say that his boss is free to contest.