2015: Jonathan splits North as nascent Northern Elders Council confronts NEF
The Northern Elders Council NEC, yesterday, dismissed the assertion by Northern Elders Forum, NEF, that the zone will not vote for People's Democratic Party, PDP, if it nominated President Goodluck Jonathan as its 2015 presidential flagbearer, describing the threat as the wishful thinking of a few privileged northerners.
Among the northern elements in NEC are former Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed Gusau; former Minister of Transport, Alhaji Yusuf Suleiman; Senator Garba Gada; a member of PDP Board of Trustees, BoT, Alhaji Bello Dange; a former Nigerian Ambassador to Morocco, Alhaji Abdullahi Ladan-Shinu and another former Deputy Governor of old Sokoto State, Alhaji Azika Tambuwal.
The Secretary-General of NEF, Professor Ango Abdullahi, said last week that the North had made its position on the 2015 presidency known to President Jonathan's emissaries that the zone would not support Jonathan's ambition.
Abdullahi further alleged that the Presidency's political tacticians have compiled a list of 151 key northern politicians and leaders with a view to wooing them to work for the President in 2015.
However, Alhaji Gusau said Abdullahi was on his own.
Rising from its meeting in Kaduna yesterday, Gusau advised any NEF leader, who had presidential ambition in 2015 to declare such, but not to beat the drums of war as Nigeria belonged to all.
Gusau spoke in a telephone interview with newsmen yesterday.
He said: “The North or Nigeria does not belong to NEF leaders alone. If any NEF leader wants to contest the 2015 presidential polls, let him come out openly and declare his interest.
“For instance, PDP, under the leadership of the Deputy Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Muktar Shagari, will win Sokoto State. It will be like that in some North-West and North-East zones.
“I do not know where the North met as a whole and decided who we shall support or not. Let us wait and watch.
“I do not know the premise under which Professor Abdu-llahi based his conclusion that the North has abandoned PDP.
“PDP has done so many good things for the North and we shall tell the North those things when the time for campaign comes. It is the only party that has national spread. The North cannot leave a known friend and for an unknown friend or enemy.”