U-TURN: I'LL WORK FOR JONATHAN - KANTI-BELLO
President Goodluck Jonathan's bid to win the April Presidential election received a major boost at the weekend with the fiery Senate Majority Whip, Mahmud Kanti-Bello pledging to work for his victory.
The vocal senator who was one of the northerners opposed to President Jonathan's ambition said he would work for the victory of the PDP flag bearer because he is 'a good party man'.
But he slammed the Northern Political Leaders Forum (NPLF) for 'messing up' the chances of the North to retain the Presidency just as he dismissed the agitation by the South East to produce the next President in 2015, saying 'in 2015, it will be free for all. Anybody from anywhere can go for it because we have said bye bye to zoning in 2011.'
In an interview with Sunday Sun, the senator representing Katsina North explained, 'my opposition against Jonathan is nothing personal. It is based on principle. I see President Jonathan as a good man but my stand is he was part of an agreement that retained zoning in the PDP and he cannot now turn back to ditch the arrangement. It is based on morality that I made my position and I know that people understand me. That was my grouse, not because I am a tribalist.'
He however added, 'Since my party has handed him the ticket, I cannot go against the wish of the party, I will work for PDP victory no matter what.' The Deputy Director General of IBB campaign Organisation, further slammed the NPLF led by former Finance Minister, Mallam Adamu Ciroma, for 'messing up the agitation of the North to retain the Presidency in the zone for the next four years.'
According to him, 'the choice of the NPLF as the consensus candidate was faulty ab initio. I have nothing against Atiku Abubakar. We've been members of the same political family for a long time and we share so many things in common. But his choice was wrong. He left the party and came back and we all knew that anyone coming back must be given a waiver. As at the time he was being named a consensus candidate, the party just gave him the waiver.
'But the issue is this, will you give a person you know will give you problem a waiver to come and slug it out with you? The answer obviously is no. Jonathan gave Atiku the waiver because they know he was not a threat and should he be picked they will have an easy ride. Unfortunately, the NPLF overlooked all those and picked him and the rest is now history.
'The agitation for a northern candidate fell flat the moment they picked Atiku. He didn't enjoy the support of so many members of the party and it showed in the results. Apart from the manipulation, many people didn't find it funny voting for him. I bet if it were to be that IBB was picked, the story won't be what we are saying today.
'But my grouse is the NPLF messed all of us up. They were blowing hot before the primaries and now that Atiku failed, what is the backup plan they have? They are now very quiet and I find that strange. I would have thought they will have a backup plan in the event that Atiku failed to pick the ticket,' Kanti-Bello noted.
The senator, who expressed doubt over the pledge by the President not to contest the 2015 election said, 'I doubt so much that promise; If you look the other way in the matter that you and others willingly signed, what will you do in a matter that you made a promise in far away Ethiopia ? But the onus is on us to ensure that we assist him to abide by his promise. We must assist him going by 2015.'
He also dismissed the agitation by Ndigbo to produce the next President in 2015. According to him, 'in 2015, it will be free for all. Anybody from anywhere can go for it because we have said bye, bye to zoning in 2011. I don't know what is wrong with Nigerians; you can't blow hot and blow cold at the same time. If zoning is bad in 2011, it cannot be good in 2015.'