Mark, Suswan, Doma, Jang, Idris, Others Ask IBB, Saraki To Withdraw From Race

Source: EMMA UCHE -

ABUJA, Oct 20, (THEWILL) – The presidential aspirations of former President Ibrahim Babangida and Kwara State Governor, Bukola Saraki today suffered a huge setback as Senate President, Senator David; Governors Gabriel Suswam (Benue), David Jonah Jang (Plateau); Aliyu Akwe Doma (Nasarawa); Ibrahim Idris (Kogi); and other political leaders from the North Central geo-political Zone asked the duo to withdraw from the presidential race. States in the North West zone include Benue, Niger, Kwara, Kogi, Nasarawa and Plateau States. The leaders thereafter declared their support for the Goodluck Jonathan/Namadi Sambo ticket.

But Senator Dahiru Awaisu Kuta (PDP, Niger) debunked the generalization saying the entire Niger State stands by General Babangida. “Our support is solidly behind him for the 2011 polls although we thank President Jonathan for his magnanimity in signing the HYPPADEC Bill into law last August and we would continue to pray for him to finish his tenure in 2011 safely.

A press statement by the Chief Press Secretary to President of the Senate, Mr. Paul Mumeh, said the Political Leaders who met behind closed doors in the Abuja Official residence of the President of the Senate, David Mark (from Benue State) on Tuesday night included Governors Gabriel Suswam, (Benue); David Jonah Jang (Plateau); Ibrahim Idris (Kogi); Aliyu Akwe Dona (Nasarawa); Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed and former Senate President Ameh Ebute.

Others are Deputy House Leader, Alhaji Baba Shehu Agaire; two former National Chairmen of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Barnabas Gemade and Senator Ahmadu Ali; Senator Tunde Ogbeha, Sports Minister Isa Bio, Minister of State for Information and Communication, Labaran Maku; his Niger Delta Ministry counterpart, Sam Ode; Interior’s Humphrey Abba, Comrade Abba- Moro and Director, Research, Planning and Strategy in the Goodluck Jonathan/Sambo Organization, Chief Mike Omeri. At the end of the meeting he said the host, Senator Mark declared that Majority of voters from the Zone have “resolved to support Goodluck/Sambo ticket as the best option for Nigeria.”

North Central co-ordinator for Jonathan/Sambo Campaign, Gabriel Suswam of Benue State stated that the zone was already looking beyond the Primaries, “because we have a President who is doing very well and we have resolved in the North Central to support Jonathan/Sambo ticket.”

Suswam said the group is looking beyond the Presidential bids of former military dictator Ibrahim Babangida and Governor Bukola Saraki because “we have endorsed Jonathan and we are strategizing for him to win the general election convincingly.” In his comment, governor Ibrahim Idris of Kogi State said, “The whole world knows that we are actually for Jonathan/Sambo and by doing this we want to make sure that our support base is solid and intact.”

Minister of State, Information and Communication, Labaran Maku, stated: “you can see the galaxy of dignitaries here. It is the nucleus of the North-Central otherwise called middle Belt Zone. We have once again decided to support Jonathan/Sambo for 2011.

“We have gone beyond this zoning or regional thing. The election of Goodluck Jonathan in 2011 is going to go beyond this and the election is going to turn a new page. After this period, Nigerians should be bold enough to unite this country for good,” Maku added.

For Ahmadu Ali: “This is to prove to the entire country that North Central Zone is solidly behind Jonathan/Sambo for 2011. We are going to turn 100 percent vote in the primaries and the general election. The middle beltans have always determined the direction of politics and we are out again to show the whole country where the direction is this time around. We are all for Jonathan/Sambo.”

Another former National Chairman of the PDP, Barnabas Gemade added that the leaders of North Central have decided and “we shall convey this message to our people that Jonathan/Sambo is the answer for 2011.”

In his reaction, Director in the Jonathan/Sambo Campaign Organisation, Mike Omeri said the endorsement has given them a boost, assuring that Jonathan would not fail Nigerians.

However, Senator Kuta who is a major player in the IBB Campaign reacted to the development and the report that the Niger State PDP chapter has endorsed President Jonathan.

He said: “We have a candidate in IBB. We have decided as a state and as a party to go with IBB. People of Niger State stand with him and he’s done it before and we are sure that he would provide good governance again. If this statement is coming from anybody in Niger State, then, that person, I’m sure was quoted out of context. Niger PDP has not endorsed Jonathan. We will continue to remain with him as a presidential aspirant of the PDP.

“Our support is solidly behind him for the 2011 polls although we thank President Jonathan for his magnanimity in signing the HYPPADEC Bill into law last August and we would continue to pray for him to finish his tenure in 2011 safely. Expressing gratitude to the President for signing the HYPPADEC Bill and the 2011 polls are two different things. We in Niger PDP restate that IBB is still an aspirant in the PDP.

“There is no crack in Niger PDP. IBB is our candidate up till the end.”