President meets Babangida, Ciroma in counter-offensive
President Goodluck Jonathan - faced with the G-7 governors challenge and the uprising in the ruling party - has launched peace drive, reaching out to key Northern leaders.
The President has met secretly with former Finance Minister Adamu Ciroma, who is also the Chairman of the Northern Political Leaders Forum(NPLF), and the ex-Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida.
The President drove to Ciroma's place about two weeks ago. He met with Babangida at the Presidential Villa last Sunday before the intervention of some elders in the PDP on September 1.
The two meetings were kept under wraps.
Besides, the President has engaged businessman Dr. Raymond Dokpesi to reach out to strategic Northern leaders
But in spite of Jonathan initiative, there is pressure on ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo and other members of the PDP Peace Team to stop the President from seeking another term in office.
According to a highly-placed source, the President has opted to reach out to key Northern leaders to correct the misgivings about him by the G-7 governors, ex-governors and others in the Baraje faction of PDP.
The source listed the agenda as the need to preserve Nigeria's unity and avert plunging the nation into brinkmanship; 2015 presidential election and Jonathan's ambition; the crisis in PDP; and the NGF crisis.
A source said: 'Prior to the meeting with Ciroma and Babangida, the President had engaged the media mogul as an emissary to reach out to the North.
The major complaints against the President are non-consultation of opinion leaders of thought and elders; lopsidedness in appointments, unlike what obtained during Obasanjo's tenure; acting like a regional leader instead of a national leader; the 'desperate' bid by the President to spend 10 years in office instead of the statutory eight years; and bringing down the office of the President by dabbling in the NGF crisis
'The collation of the reports of the emissary led to the new rapprochement between Jonathan and the two leaders,' said the source.
Another source, who also spoke in confidence, said: 'The President discussed PDP crisis, unity and stability of the country and the nation's security with Babangida and Ciroma.
'Babangida advised the President how to go about the crisis since the aggrieved governors had earlier met with him in Minna.
'He was tactical in presenting his re-election bid. He sought for reconciliation in a manner that suggested that he should be given another chance.'
The President also met a former Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the UN, Alhaji Maitama Sule, a respected former member of the House of Representatives, Dr. Junaid Mohammed; Governor Sule Lamido and Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, among others.
The emissary pleaded that the North should allow Jonathan to run in 2015 (THE NATI