PLOTS TO COUNTER BABANGIDA IN SOUTH EAST
The recent alliance between some Northern politicians and South East political big shots has forced loyalists of President Goodluck Jonathan back to the drawing board on how to retain the support of the South East.
As part of perceived efforts to clear the coast for Jonathan, governors of the South East states had declared that they would not contest or be running mate to any presidential candidate in 2011.
This came on the heels of a fraternal visit by the leadership of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) to the Igbo apex socio-political group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, seeking understanding and cooperation on the 2011 Jonathan presidency project.
However, the recent meeting convened in Abuja by former Military President, Ibrahim Babangida, was said to have thrown the Jonathan camp off balance. Sources said the counter-strategy is still being kept under wraps because Jonathan is yet to organize his home front.
According to the source, Jonathan needs to take charge of the political situation in the South South before his camp launches any counter strategy to neutralize the North or else it would fail.
Except for Governors Liyel Imoke of Cross River and Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom states, who have been assured of a second term ticket on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta), Timpre Sylva (Bayelsa) and Chibuike Amaechi (Rivers) are facing threats of being upstaged by political foes claiming to have the backing of Jonathan.
Sunday Sun investigation revealed that Jonathan needs to quickly intervene and calm the political situation in the three states before his counter-strategy against the Babangida camp can be effective.
Checks also indicated Jonathan had realized this, prompting him to intervene on behalf of Sylva when some PDP chieftains from the state, in connivance with the national leadership of the PDP, attempted to substitute the candidate for Bayelsa State House of Assembly bye-election seat.
Although the actual strategy has not been revealed, retaining the support of the South East governors and that of Ohanaeze is definitely in the same camp. President of the INC, Dr Atuboyedia Obianime, in an interview with Sunday Sun, said there is no cause for alarm over the reported meeting between Northern and South East politicians. He noted that since the meeting between INC and Ohaneze Ndigbo, the former has not issued any statement contrary to what the two groups have agreed on.
Obianime explained that ahead the 2011 elections, there would be a lot of political drama but that there is need for circumspection on the part of people going about galvanizing support for their candidate. 'In times like this, there would be a lot of political drama and groups should be circumspect in their networking and go about their activities with diligence and self-respect for each other,' he added.