ATIKU'S EMERGENCE: IBORI MAY GET REPRIEVE
There are indications that reprieve may be underway for embattled former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori following the emergence of former vice president, Abubakar Atiku as the northern consensus candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential primaries.
Ibori, a political ally of the former vice president fled the country months ago, to escape arrest from the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC). And efforts are ongoing to extradite him to Britain from Dubai, where he is currently taking refuge, to stand trial for alleged money laundering and other corrupt charges.
Source close to the Ibori camp disclosed yesterday that top notchers of the (Ibori) group were seeking for talks with the Atiku group. The talk is aimed at securing some reprieve for the former governor whose plight, they believe, has not been made any easier by President Goodluck Jonathan.
In anticipation of that reprieve, the group is promising that the Ibori camp, which still commands appreciable following in Delta, will throw its weight behind the presidential aspiration of Atiku.
Furthermore, the source said the Ibori camp would be attending the said meeting, 'with higher demands than the last deal we struck with the late president Umar Yar'Adua, where we asked for only one favour or reward.'
'This time around, we are going to demand for his unconditional release from detention. He said that, beyond release, there might be also need to remove any possible inhibition - by way of indictment and/or conviction - to his occupying public office in future.
'And we are also going to insist that it must not take the format of the Yar'Adua's government where our agreement to get the Chief of Staff position was reduced to a Principal Secretary which Mr. David Edevbie never enjoyed before the demise of the late President,' the source explained.
Reminded of the speculated deal between Atiku and the Kwara State Governor, Dr Bukola Saraki, that the if former eventually emerged as President, the later would serve as his Chief of Staff, the source said, 'Unless Atiku assures us of positions in his would-be government, we will not give him our support.'
Speaking on why the camp would prefer to back a northerner against President Goodluck Jonathan, who hails from the same South south with the embattled former governor, the source who claimed to be speaking for the Ibori camp stated that 'of course, Jonathan does not deserve our support, because we believe that he has the powers to effect the immediate release of Ibori but he deliberately refused to wade in or is weighing in against Ibori.
'If ongoing talks with the Atiku are successful, then both parties to the deal will be happy because we at Ibori's group have worked out our campaign strategy.'