Nigeria North – South West Meet; ‘Progressive-change’ Alliance: Tinubu, Sanusi

NORTH Vs JONATHAN: Ex-Generals, others plot against president

• Meet in Abuja on how to unseat him in 2015

By: ADE ALADE, Abuja

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The scope of the plot to unseat the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government headed by President Goodluck Jonathan in the next presidential election was on Monday night broadened in Abuja, where top northern leaders held a meeting with former governor of Lagos State and national leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria, (ACN), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The meeting, which had in attendance former heads of state from the North as well as retired military officers, like ex-National Security Adviser (NSA), General Aliyu Gusau and former ministers, is coming on the heels of a similar one between Tinubu and Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) presidential candidate in the last general election, General Mohammadu Buhari, in Lagos and Kaduna.

One of the northern leaders, who attended the Abuja meeting, told Saturday Sun: “The meeting was an informal one held to woo the former Lagos governor, Asiwaju Tinubu and discuss possibilities of extending the frontiers of cooperation and collaboration between the people of the North and the South West people ahead of the next election.

“The meeting was also called to broaden whatever discussion is ongoing between Asiwaju Tinubu and the CPC leader, General Buhari because the North cannot afford to gamble with the 2015 election chance, in the face of what the region is going through under the Jonathan administration. Our people have been ruined and as leaders, we are pained over what the present government is doing to the North.

“The only opportunity we have is a democratic change of the situation and that can be achieved through seeking partnership with a formidable opposition party leader, like Asiwaju Tinubu and the South West people who have a record of embracing progressive change.”

He said that the meeting was “held over dinner to underscore the convivial mood at the discussion.”

It was further gathered that none of the leaders at the meeting spoke about any personal ambition, but rather, “they all emphasised the need for change, irrespective of which section of the country produces the next president.”

A northern leader, who attended the meeting told Saturday Sun: “For most of us at the meeting, we have put behind us our past ambitions of ruling the country, but we are all united and committed to a change of the present arrangement. And to buttress selflessness and sincerity of purpose on this matter, we made it clear that our desire for change is not out of desperation to have the North reclaim the presidency because we are ready to even support a better candidate from any other zone, including the South West.”

Though no names of likely candidates to support came up at the meeting, a former minister at the meeting disclosed that a repeat of the 1993 Social Democratic Party (SDP) arrangement is on the minds of most of those at the meeting.

“We didn’t discuss this, but it is obvious that the North wouldn’t mind to persuade the former Lagos governor to vie for the presidency, while we get someone, like the CBN governor to run as his deputy or vice versa. The Muslim-Muslim ticket wouldn’t be an issue once the candidates are sellable to the two sides of the divide. Nigerians are only interested in good governance and not religion. We have had a similar arrangement in the past with the Abiola and Kingibe ticket that swept the polls across the country. So, the same thing is still possible,” the former minister disclosed.

The consideration of the CBN governor is hinged on the view that “he will be a good candidate that will appeal to the Buhari crowd and also blend with other interest groups from the North.”

It will be recalled that Buhari and Tinubu had, after a political meeting in Kaduna about two weeks ago, flown in the same plane from Kaduna to Kano and drove in the same car from the Aminu Kano International Airport to the emir’s palace, where the CBN governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, was being installed the Dan Majen Kano.

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