Obasanjo Positions Lamido for Vice President

By The Statesman
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As President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua's health status continues to generate tension and anxiety in the country, former president Olusegun Obasanjo has started lobbying for the Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido, to be the next vice president.

LEADERSHIP gathered that Obasanjo's move was informed by his conviction that Yar'Adua might not be able to continue with his official assignment as president of Nigeria because of failing health.

Sources told our correspondent last night that Obasanjo had relocated to Abuja on Monday night to enable him coordinate his political activities effectively in favour of Lamido.

However, LEADERSHIP gathered that some northern establishment figures are looking at the candidacy of former Minister of Finance, Malam Adamu Ciroma; former National Security Adviser, Gen. Aliyu Mohammed Gusau, and Ambassador Adamu Aliyu, a former Group Managing Director of Northern Nigeria Development Corporation, who is an ex-ambassador to Japan, who is widely regarded as a "man of integrity and an achiever".

But the Nigeria Governors' Forum, our source also said, is saying that in the event the President could not continue, the vice president must come from among its members.

Meanwhile, the National Democratic Party (NDP) has blamed Obasanjo over the anxiety and apprehension which the news of Yar'Adua's ill-health has generated in the country.

"With the apprehension gaining momentum by the day, we are aware of several permutations to the effect that Chief Obasanjo is allegedly lobbying for a Vice-Presidential slot for one of his lackeys", Prince Ademola Ayoade, the national secretary of the party, said yesterday in a press statement.

"We of the National Democratic Party are of the considered opinion that Chief Obasanjo should simply hide his head in shame for the selfishness and greed exhibited in the twilight of his administration, by putting the destiny of over 150 million Nigerians in the hands of a sickly President."

While sharing the sentiments being expressed by some Nigerians that the President needs prayers, the party said Obasanjo should be blamed for this political logjam, and so deserves to be ignored in the unfolding scenario.

"Even though we are not against the aspiration of anyone. It will be bad publicity to have Obasanjo marketing any candidate for a post that is yet to be vacant. Nigerians will forever live to regret Obasanjo's decision to this effect."

The party said the current crisis would have been avoided had Obasanjo had the interest of the country at heart during the 2007 electoral process, adding that at the height of the build-up to the 2007 elections, Obasanjo and his co-travelers in the PDP stage-managed the entire process and foisted Yar'Adua on the nation, knowing full well that the man had serious health challenges.

"After the death of his infamous third term agenda, he unveiled his greed and avarice and tried all he could to alter the apple cart, but God did not allow him. He went further to lobby a man who the whole wide world knew was not having the best in terms of healthy state of mind, and rigged him into office.

"For the past two years, the nation has been undergoing series of mind fluctuations due to the ill-health of Mr. President, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar'Adua. Even though we are aware that ill-health and death are in the realm of the Almighty Lord, there were some able bodied presidential aspirants who could have done better than what the nation is going through at this critical time of our political development."

While praying God to forgive Obasanjo for this "deliberate wickedness and selfishness quite unbecoming of a man who wanted the country and the entire world to see him as an elder statesman, NDP joined the swelling voices who are calling on the President to resign his position and allow the Constitution to take precedence.

"It is obvious that given the health condition of the President, he certainly cannot discharge his constitutional responsibilities any more, hence it is advised that he should simply tender his resignation and allows the nation to move forward. We wish him the very best as we pray for his soonest recovery".