Apparently buoyed up by his political maneuverings which had led to a major division between some Yoruba leaders and other stakeholders, President Goodluck Jonathan who is also the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has now moved to the north with the aim of whittling down opposition from some core northerners to his re-election on March 28.
The South West geopolitical zone which had earlier appeared impregnable was split weekend over whether to vote for Jonathan or the presidential candidate of the main opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, Major General Muhammadu Buhari, rtd, in the March 28 presidential polls after the seeming siege the President laid in the South West. .
Divided into two groups, the leaders held parallel summits in Ibadan and Lagos Thursday and took divergent positions on what the Yoruba should do in forthcoming elections.
While those at the Ibadan gathering were mostly for Buhari, the Lagos group rooted for Jonathan.
In the same vein, Jonathan has begun to woo some of his die-hard critics and other stakeholders from the north in the last couple of days.
Saturday Vanguard gathered that as part of moves to get the support of the leaders ahead the election, Jonathan decided to undertake private visits to plead with some of the aggrieved founding fathers, leaders, stakeholders and members of the PDP, just as he was said to be placating them to put behind them some of the problems of the past.
A source told Saturday Vanguard that Jonathan, in company of the Director- General, PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, PDPPCO and former National Chairman, Dr. Ahmadu Ali visited one of the four founding members of PDP and former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mallam Adamu Ciroma at his Abuja residence.
Although Ciroma had not been politically visible for some time now, he had in the past criticized Jonathan publicly over what he regarded as his political sins.
The last time he was in public glare, was prior to the 2011 Presidential primary election of the PDP where he headed the Northern Political Elders Forum, NPEF to get a consensus candidate for the north who would eventually emerge as the party’s candidate.
From the pool of the group with the likes of General Aliyu Gusau, General Ibrahim Babangida, Senator Bukola Saraki, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, Atiku finally emerged as the northern candidate who contested with President Jonathan but lost.
However, Saturday Vanguard gathered that during Jonathan’s visit to Ciroma at his Abuja residence, the former Minister of Finance was said to have told him that it was really bad and unfortunate that he as President and as leader of the party allowed things to go bad, culminating in five Governors dumping the PDP for the APC.
He was also said to have told Jonathan that those who came later to PDP refused to respect the founding fathers and members which explained why he decided to adopt the Sidon look approach.
President Jonathan who was said to have pleaded with him to support his re- election bid, promised him that there would be total reform of the party if re- elected, just as he also promised to address his kitchen cabinet, his aides and ministers on the issues raised.
Jonathan who had earlier, visited the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar in Yola, would visit Kano State today as part of his campaign tour. We gathered that he would use the opportunity to resolve some lingering problems with former Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN and now the Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi, just as he would meet with former Nigeria’s Permanent Representatives to the United Nations, Dr. Maitama Sule, among other northern elders and stakeholders.
President Jonathan’s wooing of Northern leaders and elders would be a follow up to series of meetings he held with South West leaders and elders.
It was gathered that Jonathan had been pleading with the northern leaders to support him for a second term in office to enable him hand over power to the area instead of allowing Buhari, who would govern the country by proxy through some selfish Yoruba leaders.
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