Governor Babangida dumps IBB …Northern Governors Split

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Niger State Governor and Chairman of Northern Governors Forum, NGF, Alhaji Babangida Aliyu, an arrow head of pro-Northern Presidency has made a last minute change of heart. He has dumped General Ibrahim Babangida's presidential campaign, preferring to pitch his tent with President Goodluck Jonathan ahead of the 2011 presidential election.

Governor Aliyu was hitherto a die-hard supporter of General Babangida who had boasted that Niger State will produce the next civilian President in 2011.

More Northern Governors are expected to jump ship before Saturday's declaration date for President Goodluck Jonathan's presidential ambition.

The Northern Governors Forum is currently divided because of Governor Aliyu's new position and Governor Bukola Saraki's ambition to contest the 2011 presidential election, was reliably informed.

Sources hinted that while Governor Saraki is not seen as a Northerner by some northern Governors even though he belongs to the Northern Governors, Governor Aliyu's volte face, is considered a betrayal of the forum's agitation for a Northern Presidency in 2011.

“Saraki is not a Northerner so if he is running, he represents the South-West but for Aliyu, he has just betrayed us once again, a Northern Governor told

Governor Aliyu's new romance with President Jonathan's camp is a boost to the incumbent's desire to contest the 2011 Presidential election going by the stiff opposition his ambition is receiving in northern Nigeria.

General Babangida was said to been shocked about the Governor's change of heart. He quickly dashed over to Governor Aliyu in what was termed an “idil Filtri visit” and was assured all was well. But sources close to the Governor insisted that “he has switched camp and I can assure you this is real and concrete.”

Sources told that Governor Aliyu's last minute change of heart may not be unconnected with his fears of losing his return ticket ahead of the Governorship election.

“You know the Governor wants to run for a re election and IBB cannot guarantee that. The only person who can guarantee his return ticket is Jonathan so you can understand where he is coming from,” a source in Niger State who would not want to be named told

The source added “In politics, there are no permanent friends but interest and so the Governor has an interest and whoever can guarantee his interest that is where his allegiance lies and there is nothing illegal or wrong about that politically.” sources hinted that in the last couple of weeks, Governor Aliyu and some Northern Governors have been paying frequent visit to the president in what was described as “an assurance of support” for President Goodluck Jonathan's presidential ambition.

The Northern Governors forum, chaired by Governor Aliyu has also become divided following the decision of some of the Governors to back down on their agitation for power to be retained by the North.

According to a source “all is no longer well with the Northern Governors because everyone is now fighting for his interest and survival. This is a very critical time and from the look of things, the division will remain until after the elections in 2011