7th September, 2012
Barely three years to the next general elections, the battle line for the 2015 presidential race appears drawn as talks have started among the 19 Northern governors about who succeeds President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015.
Though the incumbent president is yet to declare his intention to seek re-election, each of the second-term governors, Sule Lamido, Jigawa State; Murtala Nyako, Adamawa State; Isa Yuguda, Bauchi state; Ibrahim Shema, Katsina State and Babangida Aliyu of Niger state are allegedly pushing their agenda surreptitiously.
It is only the governors of Benue State, Gabriel Suswan; Taraba State, Danbaba Suntai and David Jang of Plateau State that have not let out their intention among the northern governors who are in their second terms.
Laying credence to this claim, Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu, at a recent Northern Governors’ Forum meeting held in Kaduna, counselled that the North should not allow the 2015 presidency to elude it.
The recent endorsement of a Lamido/Ameachi Presidential ticket by former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida has further raised the ante and possibly heightened the debate on who will succeed President Jonathan among the Northern governors.
Political Platform reliably gathered that the frequent travels of some northern governors across the country are part of the subtle moves in the race for the Presidency.
Though three of the five governors are believed to be members of the Obasanjo camp, they are scrambling among themselves. Not so fierce, it seems for now. However, nobody knows who the last man standing will be when the curtain is raised in 2015.
Recently, Murtala Nyako visited his counterparts in Kano, Sokoto, Bauchi and Taraba to discuss issues related to the 2015 presidential contest, with a view of having the North united politically by 2015 and perhaps himself as the standard bearer.
The retired naval officer is working assiduously and making contacts to actualize his presidential dream. The Adamawa governor has also been visiting traditional rulers, leaders of thought and retired military officers in this respect.
Jigawa State Governor Sule Lamido has persistently said that he will retire to his village, come 2015 after the expiration of his second term in office but the media reports credited to Obasanjo last week that he endorsed Lamido/Rotimi Ameachi ticket in 2015 has punctured that stance.
Of late, Lamido’s body language and flurry of activities organised by the state government in Dutse are indicators that he is strategically positioning himself for 2015 presidential election as the North hopes to fight for its turn.
Right now, it is evident that Lamido is indeed interested in the 2015 presidential race as a candidate, should President Jonathan keep to his promise of running for only one term in office.
Barely a fortnight ago, Obasanjo was reported to have told journalists that he endorsed Lamido/Ameachi ticket for 2015. In addition, the same Obasanjo while as a guest of Governor Lamido in Jigawa during the Democracy Day celebration, chided President Jonathan over his failure to tackle the security challenges in the country.
He recently rolled out the red carpet for ex-military President, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, as part of the celebration of the 21st anniversary of the creation of Jigawa State.
Most political watchers in Jigawa saw it as part of the move for the governor’s 2015 presidential ambition. The climax of Babangida’s visit was marked by his public endorsement of Sule Lamido for 2015.
The waves of subtle manoeuvres that characterised the politics of 2015 have seen Lamido, like his other co-governors organising social events, forums and political meetings as well as hosting prominent Nigerians. Between April and May 2012, Lamido has hosted a number of high-powered delegations in the state.
Though, Niger State Governor, Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, has never made any public pronouncement on whether he is nursing the ambition to vie for the country’s Number One job, by looking at his actions one can deduce his stance and conviction.
Aliyu is capitalising on his vantage position as the Chairman of Northern Governors Forum, NGF, to make himself the spokesperson of the region.
His recent outburst in championing the cause of the region, by calling for a revisit of the issue of onshore/offshore dichotomy takes a populist line.
Political Platform reliably gathered that the re-election of Aliyu as the chairman of the NSGF did not only indicate his firm grip on the forum but also shows the level of his popularity among his colleagues.
It is becoming more glaring that plans are in the offing for him to declare his ambition in no distance future, considering not only his frequent attendance of public functions, but also his sponsorship of live coverage for such occasions across the country.
Although there has never been a time Governor Ibrahim Shehu Shema mentioned his political ambition to contest for presidency in 2015, going by his body language, there are huge indications that the governor would want to contest for the presidency when the time comes.
Shema is among the three Northern governors believed to be members of the former President Obasanjo camp.
It was learnt that if the consensus from the Obasanjo camp is that if the PDP agreement was to produce a Hausa/Fulani president in 2015 then the ticket should go to the Katsina State governor.
Of late, Bauchi State Governor, Isa Yuguda, has been courting the political spectrum of the South West in what seemed to be a veiled move to register himself as a contender for the presidency in 2015.
Though the Bauchi State governor, like his other colleagues, who are nursing the same aspirations, has kept sealed lips regarding his plans to contest for the presidency, observers say he is playing the wait and see approach.
The soft-spoken and calculative Yuguda has taken some latent, but pragmatic positions recently especially on matters relating to North/South political dynamics.
He broke away from the ranks of 19 Northern governors who clamoured for the review of the controversial onshore/offshore dichotomy and the disproportionate allocation of funds from federation account.
However, there are mixed feelings among Bauchi political stakeholders over the governor’s purported ambition to contest the country’s number one seat.