Posted by From Jide Orintunsin in Minna and Onwuka Nzeshi in Abuja on
High level political horse-trading towards 2007 elections intensified at the weekend in Niger State as former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, his predecessor, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari and Abia State Governor, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu met in New Bussa.....
High level political horse-trading towards 2007 elections intensified at the weekend in Niger State as former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, his predecessor, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari and Abia State Governor, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu met in New Bussa.
THISDAY sources said the meeting described as crucial was to fine-tune strategies towards the 2007 presidential election.
Babangida, Buhari and Kalu are known to be angling to contest the election.
Babangida and the Abia State governor first met at the Minna Hilltop residence of the former military leader on Friday night.
THISDAY gathered that the duo of Babangida and Kalu later met with the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) presidential candidate in the 2003 presidential election, Buhari on Saturday at New Bussa, where the three of them were honoured with traditional titles by the Emir of Borgu, Alhaji Halilu Dantoro.
THISDAY learnt further that the trio in company with Niger and Kebbi States Governors, Abdul-kadir Kure and Adamu Aliero met at a closed door meeting shortly after the turbaning ceremony in New Bussa to marshall plans for the election.
Sources at both meetings in Minna and New Bussa told THISDAY that all the aspirants promised to work together for the success of the elections. They also expres-sed their readiness to abandon their individual ambitions if need be in the interest of the country.
Confirming the meetings, Kalu simply said, "it was a fruitful session".
The relationship between Babangida and Buhari had been frosty since Babangida toppled the former Head of State in August 1985.
Successive efforts by some traditional rulers and other concerned Nigerians to broker peace between the two had yielded little efforts.
But Kalu had brought the two military leaders to Umuahia, Abia State capital where he reportedly brokered a truce.
Babangida who arrived New Bussa in a chartered flight from Minna with Governors Kalu, Kure and Aliero, bagged the title of Maikaki of Borgu while Buhari was adorned with the title of maje of Borgu and Kalu is the new Baâa Danide of Borgu.
The Chairman of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), chief Sunday Awoniyi, was also honoured with the title of Baa Zhukhunu of Borgu along with many other illustrious sons and daughters of Borgu kingdom.
Speaking to newsmen after the turbaning, Awoniyi said the coming together of Major General Buhari and Babangida was a beginning of good things for not only the north but the nation as a whole .
Meanwhile, former Minister of Information, Professor Jerry Gana, yesterday said the presidential race in 2007 would remain an open contest for members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) until the party's national convention where delegates will chose a candidate.
Gana, who quit Oba-sanjo's cabinet as Political Adviser a few days ago in order to pursue his presidential aspiration, said he was determined to run the race because he had a lot to offer the nation having being in the corridors of power for so many years.
He spoke at a civic reception organised in his honour at his home town, Busu, Doko Local Government Area of Niger State. The ceremony which turned into a carnival of sort had in attendance PDP leaders in the local government, traditional chiefs, women and youth who turned out in large numbers to herald his triumphant entry into Busu Primary School playground.
Speaking with newsmen, Gana said he was not intimidated by the presence of other high profile aspirants seeking for the same presidential ticket because the race had just begun and it was only the party that will elect a flagbearer at the national convention.
"It is an open race and all members of the PDP are eligible to come forward and aspire to the highest office in the land. It is an open affair because people have been asking: Where are the candidates?
“Where are the options? We are only telling the people here are the options. The people will then choose and by the grace of God they will choose Jerry Gana. The opportunity of my being in government for this number of years gave me the opportunity of knowing why things are not working and what needs to be done to make them work," he said.
Gana who lamented the level of poverty and under-development across the country pledged to pursue a four-pronged programme of rural development, food security, efficient health care delivery and employment generation if elected president.
Some elements within PDP in the area had recently cast aspersions on the personality of Gana, describing him as a politician who lacked home support.
As if to counter this perception, Gana rode in a convoy of cars accompanied by several commercial buses and motor cycles and made brief stops to pay homage to traditional chiefs and elders at the several villages on his way to Busu.
At each of these stops, more and more youths and musical troupes joined the carnival which terminated at the Busu reception ground where he addressed the crowd.
According to the presidential hopeful, his aspiration to rule Nigeria had already taken him to Benue, Plateau, parts of Niger and Nasarawa states all in the North Central zone.
These terms and conditions contain rules about posting comments. By submitting a comment, you are declaring that you agree with these rules:
Failure to comply with these rules may result in being banned from further commenting.
These terms and conditions are subject to change at any time and without notice.