2015: Jonathan’s aides, governors clash over PDP tickets

By IAfrica
In Nigeria
Jul 28th, 2014
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President Goodluck Jonathan and his strategists have launched a secret plot to win more states in the North, sources said at the weekend.

Some ministers, presidential aides, associates and friends of the President from the Northwest and northeast are being drafted into the governorship race in the 13 states in the two geopolitical zones and in Kwara and Nasarawa states.

But most PDP governors in some of the states are opposed to plans to impose presidential aides or public officers as governorship candidates.

The governors are also launching counter-strategies to checkmate the aides who are equating closeness to the President with automatic tickets.

Apart form using their influence in power to develop their areas and assist their people, the said ministers, top aides and presidential associates are believed to have the wherewithal  to pursue a governorship aspiration.

Some of those likely to be used to attract votes for the PDP and Jonathan are the Comptroller-General of Customs, Inde Dikko(Katsina); retiring Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Abubakar(Zamfara); ex-UBEC Executive Secretary Dr. Mohammed Modibbo, Hon. Awwal Tukur, the Principal Secretary to the President, Hassan Tukur(Adamawa); FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed(Bauchi); the Coordinator of the Counter Terrorism Centre in the Presidency, Maj.-General SarkinYaki Bello(Kebbi);  Minister of State for Power Mohammed Wakili(Borno);  Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Danladi Kifasi (Taraba) and the Deputy Governor of  Sokoto State, Alhaji Mukhtar Shagari(Sokoto).

Others are ex-Minister of State for Finance Yerima Ngama; Mohammed Abacha (Kano); ex-Minister Aliyu Modibbo (Gombe); Labaran Maku (Nasarawa)and Dele Belgore (Kwara).

A source, who spoke in confidence said: “Some of these public officers have started consultations, having got the consent of presidential strategists whose advice on the choice of Ayodele Fayose for Ekiti poll worked.

“In fact, the posters one of the public officers, CG Inde Dikko, recently flooded Katsina State until security agencies asked the Presidency to call his supporters to order.

“It is apparent to everyone that Bala Mohammed has been servicing his structure in Bauchi State including the recent renovation of Bauchi Central Mosque. Bala is also central to the funding of PDP in the state.”

Abubakar is not interested in partisan politics – it is widely believed – but there has been pressure on him by powerful stakeholders in Zamfara State and presidential strategists to give the governorship race a shot.

“The non-extension of IGP’s tenure was attributed to the strategists’ interest in Abubakar as the next governor of Zamfara State. In spite of the fact that a friend of the IGP, who is a former member of the House of Representatives, had initially been penciled down for the governorship seat, the ex-lawmaker might be persuaded to step down for Abubakar,” another source said, adding  that the  IGP has not made up his mind on whether or not to go into partisan politics or not.

A Presidency chief is said to have played a crucial role in the impeachment of ex-Adamawa State Governor Murtala Nyako not only to prove his loyalty but to soften the ground for his governorship ambition.

“But some forces in PDP in Adamawa State are routing for a former Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission, Dr. Ahmed Mohammed Modibbo, who is said to be closer to the first family. Jonathan’s denial of Modibbo of a second term ticket was attributed to his governorship plan for him,” said the source.

Also in the race in Adamawa State is a former member of the House of Representatives, Awwal Tukur. Tukur’s ambition is reinforced by the need to compensate his father, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, who was forced to quit as the PDP National Chairman.

But it was gathered that some of the PDP governors are uncomfortable with plans by the President’s strategists to impose governorship candidates on them in their states.

Those believed to be opposed to the “rampaging” presidential aides are Governors Ibrahim Shema; Isa Yuguda; Saidu Dakingari; and Acting Governors Garba Umar (Taraba) and Umaru Fintiri (Adamawa).

Shema is uncomfortable with the push for Dikko by some forces in Abuja. Since the governor controls the party structure, it may be difficult for the Customs boss to get the ticket.

“There is an ongoing cold war between Shema and Dikko’s supporters in Katsina.”

“A cat and mouse game is existing between Governor Yuguda and the FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed on PDP’s governorship ticket. In spite of the fact that the minister was once a Special Assistant to Yuguda when he was the Minister of Aviation, their relationship has degenerated.

“In recent years, they have tried to reconcile but Yuguda will not be willing to allow Bala, who is a ‘godson’ of First Lady Dame Patience Jonathan, to succeed him.”

Acting Governor of Taraba State Garba Umar is believed to be preparing to run. The party structure is already under his control.

But the Christians in the state, who are in the majority, want power to return to them.

This is why they are pushing for Danladi Kifasi, a permanent secretary who is rated as a man of probity. Senator Emman Bwacha is also keen as Suntai’s “anointed candidate”.

Adamawa acting Governor Umaru Fintiri is widely beleived to be interested in becoming the governor, “not minding his pact with stakeholders”.

On the situation in Kebbi State, a top source said: “We are not in a military era; nobody has told Governor Saidu Dakingari that Maj.-Gen. SarkinYaki Bello must be anointed.

“I think Bello is trying to wield the connections he built in the Niger Delta to seek gubernatorial mandate. But politics is a different ball game.”

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