Posted by PAUL ODILI on
THE indictment of Vice-President Atiku Abubakar by the administrative panel headed by the justice minister, Chief Bayo Ojo, over the Petroleum Technology Development Fund, PTDF, money may have cleared the coast for members of the technocratic group in the presidency,
THE indictment of Vice-President Atiku Abubakar by the administrative panel headed by the justice minister, Chief Bayo Ojo, over the Petroleum Technology Development Fund, PTDF, money may have cleared the coast for members of the technocratic group in the presidency, mostly those in the President Olusegun Obasanjoís economic team to emerge as front runners in the race to get the president to endorse one of them as his successor, Sunday Vanguard has learnt.
The group, which parades Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, Dr. Bode Agusto, Prof Charles Soludo, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, Mrs Nenadi Usman, amongst others, is believed to have quietly dropped into the presidentís ear that for the economic reforms his administration initiated to endure, he should back a candidate who shares his vision on the economy and the anti-corruption crusade.
So far, in the political scene, this group has been seen as competent and above board in the conduct of its assignment.
Since the collapse of the third tenure, it was learnt that this group has tried to establish its members as the strongest contenders in the struggle to produce an acceptable candidate to succeed the president.
Others perceived as strong challengers for the presidency have had their bid challenged one way or the other. For instance, former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, seen as a formidable force to succeed Obasanjo, has had questions concerning his time in office. The onslaught against the IBB quest for a comeback has seen the slowing down of his effort to return to power.
The other major political figure who could prove a stumbling block to the quest of this group to produce a successor is Atiku, whose ambition has evidently been taken care of with his virtual disqualification from the race following his indictment by the administrative panel. It was also learnt that the governors angling to succeed the president may be wasting their time , because many of them allegedly have skeletons in their cupboards on account of alleged damaging claims of how they looted their various state treasuries by both the EFCC and ICPC.
As at the last count, there are about 24 state governors with questionable records, according to the EFCC, which it has vowed to prosecute at the end of their tenure next year. The EFCC said it has substantial evidence that many of them looted their states treasury.
It is also believed that the technocratic group enjoys the support of the EFCC chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, who, while he has been unrelenting in pushing his commissionís anti-corruption mandate, also made a particular point of publicly praising el-Rufai, the FCT minister, for his forthrightness and competence. What Sunday Vanguard could not confirm was who amongst the members of this group is being tipped, even though it is believed that el-Rufai, an influential member of the presidentís kitchen cabinet, might be interested.
Increasingly within power circles in Abuja, the name of the FCT minister has been mentioned, and this is because he is seen as courageous, smart, intelligent and loyal. But his level of political reach is uncertain.
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