2011: OPPOSITION MOUNTS AGAINST IBB IN ANPP
The perceived ambition of the former Head of State and Presidential aspirant, General Ibrahim Babangida to switch to All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) for the realisation of his dream in the event of losing out in the Peoples Democratic Party's (PDP) power game may have been dashed.
A group within the leadership of the party has perfected plans to frustrate such move.
One of the strategies being deployed by those who had the sympathy for the Nigeria's former leader was to lobby the national caucus of the party, which was meeting as at press time, to accede to an amendment of the party's constitution to pave way for a new entrant to aspire to any position in the party .
The specific area to be amended is the one bordering on the qualification of candidates contesting party offices which stipulates that a contestant for a party office must have been a member of the party for 12 months consecutively.
It was gathered that the deal was to ensure the emergence of a particular candidate among the six contesting the office of the National Chairman, who would then facilitate the entry of Gen. Babangida into the party to contest the Presidency.
Sources revealed that the opposition to this move was being spearheaded by one of the governors from the party in the North.
Out-going National Chairman of the Party, Edwin Ume-Ezeoke, told Daily Sun that such a move would never materialise and that the party constitution would be strictly adhered to at the National Convention of the party, holding on Saturday.
While also dismissing the claims that Gen. Babangida had made moves to the party leadership to use the party platform as his plan B, he said he had not gone into any agreement with anyone on the convention as being speculated.
'Much as we are not driving away members or those intending to join us, we will apply the rules as contained in the party constitution. 'We have no plan to alter the constitution because of anyone, whoever can interpret the party constitution very well will know if he is qualified to contest or not. But then the issue of party constitution amendment is not on the card now except party members decide otherwise.'
The issue of Gen. Babangida's use of ANPP to actualise his ambition, party sources said, had been a thorny issue among the party's governors and that the caucus meeting was expected to trash out all the issues that had been agitating the minds of party faithfuls for a smooth, free and fair convention.
A Lagos state governorship aspirant and ANPP stalwart, Yomi Tokoya, had called the Sun newspaper office earlier in the day raising allegations of plans being perfected to hoodwink the national caucus to agree to an amendment of the party constitution just because of Gen. Babangida's Presidential ambition.
He vowed that he would do all within his power to ensure the former Head of State never have his way.
National Deputy Chairman of the party for the North, Dr. Yussuf Musa argued that nobody would stop anyone from joining the party but certainly nothing will be done to confer an undue advantage on anyone over committed party members.
Musa, who is also eyeing the National Chairmanship position denied that the National leadership was into any alliance with any group including General Babangida. He added that such political permutation as being bandied could not be ruled out in politicking. Other candidates jostling for the party's topmost office include: Emmanuel Eneukwu, out-going National Publicity Secretary; Goerge Moghalu, former National Secretary of the Party, Harry Akande, John Odigie Oyegun, and Mr. Nya Asuquo