By Yemi Adebowale:

• As Yar’Adua’s mother backs grandson for ministerial post

As the 2011 polls draw near, former Vice President Atiku Abubukar may have finally decided to ditch the Action Congress for his former platform, the Peoples Democratic Party following a meeting with the acting president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.

Atiku whom sources said met with Jonathan in Abuja recently, may have decided to go back to his old party preparatory to the forthcoming elections, even though it is uncertain if he will contest the presidential election next year.
The former vice president, it was learnt, may also be returning to the PDP, a party which he helped to established, because he will also be able to exert more influence in the political scheme of things.

Under his current political platform, the AC, Atiku is said to be rather uncomfortable with the fact that the party has more or less morphed into a predominately South-west party and is controlled by Bola Tinubu, the former Lagos State governor.
This has been made worse by the fact that staying on in AC has meant that Atiku who failed to capture his state has seen his once formidable dominance and relevance as a politician diminish.

PDP party sources who are aware that Atiku is preparing to make a return to the party said another indication that the former vice president is contemplating returning to the fold stems from his recent reconciliation with Admiral Murtala Nyako (rtd.), the governor of Atiku’s home state, Adamawa.

The former vice president and Nyako have been on opposing sides of the political spectrum for over three years, but were said to have set aside their differences during the burial of Alhaji Lamido Aliyu Musdafa, the Lamido of Adamawa who passed on recently.

In a related development, the nephew of President Umaru Yar’Adua, Murtala Yar’Adua, whose name was sent Tuesday as one of 33 nominees forwarded by Acting President Goodluck Jonathan, may have received the blessings of the president’s mother (his grandmother) to serve in the new cabinet.
His grandmother’s endor-sement is coming just as more names have been sent by the acting president to the State Security Service for screening.

Murtala, who is the son of the late deputy to General Olusegun Obasanjo between 1976 and 1979 and older brother of the president, General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, did not want to go against the wishes of his family or allow the issue to create any disaffection in the family hence his decision to consult extensively.

A close friend of the man who is also director of one of the leading commercial banks in the country told this newspaper that “Murtala is very careful not to allow this matter bring any problem in the family, but he is happy that he has gotten the nod of a majority of the family including its matriarch, the president’s mother.”

Declining to reveal details as to who in the family opposed or endorsed Murtala’s membership of the federal cabinet, the source would only confirm that now that it is likely Murtala will go ahead, he is expected to get an easy ride during his screening with the support of the northern caucus in the senate.

Also attempts by some of President Yar’Adua’s sympathisers to prevail on northern senators to block the nomination of Murtala was brushed aside as a majority of senators did not see anything wrong in his serving the nation.
The nominee himself has been quoted as saying that he is accepting the nomination and making himself available for screening because of his desire to serve the nation.

The northern caucus, however, has been strategising on how to stop some other the nominees including the former Minister of Information Prof. Dora Akunyili and former Senator Sanusi Daggash.
But some lobbyists close to Daggash are said to be using this weekend to penetrate the caucus to clear the way for him come Monday.

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