By VINCENT UKPONG KALU:

Within the week, when the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) publicly declared that the North will occupy the Presidency till 2015, the coast was cleared for aspirants from that part of the country to oil their political machinery for the 2011 electoral contest.

One of those who may be the direct beneficiaries of that policy is former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, especially since it is almost foreclosed that President Umar Musa Yar’Adua will not seek re-election.
Saturday Sun gathered that in the last three months, as Yar’Adua’s health problem rocked the nation, many forces, within the country and outside, have been shopping for his likely replacement in 2011. Sources revealed that the choice has been narrowed down to Babangida, a member of the PDP.

It is generally believed that the death of his wife had put a stop to his ambition of returning to Aso Rock but a close IBB confidant said that, the manner Nigerians sympathised with him during his trying period has humbled him the more and if given the opportunity he wants to reciprocate by giving Nigerians quality and good governance. The message of appreciation he sent to Nigerians conveys his emotion on the love Nigerians showed his family. In the message, he stated, “my dear compatriots, you have once again stood by us at a time and moment when my family and I are need your support, consolation and prayers. No amount of gratitude and appreciation I could offer to you could convey succinctly how deeply touched and grateful my family and I are to all of you… my family is most humbled by these kind words and expressions you conveyed to extol the virtues of my late wife during your visits.”

Last September, three months before the death of his wife, he said he would make consultations before taking a position on the 2011 presidential elections. He then admitted that not only his aides and associates, but various interest groups were mounting pressure on him to return to partisan politics.

Now that the pressure has included the US, would he take a position? Time will tell. Some elements in the North believe that he is not only qualified to occupy the highest political office in the country but is also popular, having been head of state for eight years. Also, foreign countries, which want stability in the country are said to have equally penciled down Babangida for support, ahead of 2011 elections.

The US connection
It was gathered that the United States has indicated interest in Babangida and has actually reached out to him on its thinking. Sources said that the recent visit of a strong US delegation to Nigeria, comprising Jonnie Carson, the country’s assistant secretary of state for African Affairs and Robin Sanders, its ambassador to Nigeria is part of the plan to draft Babangida to the 2011 race.

It was gathered that even though Babangida has not come out openly to declare his interest for the 2011 presidential election, the pressure on him is high. Sources said that due to the calibre of forces urging him to join the race, he would buckle eventually.

A source maintained that the US has followed the political situation in the country and has come to the conclusion that Nigeria needs a president who would restore confidence and leadership. It said that many people have been considered.

Sources said that among those considered is Brig-General Buba Marwa, former Nigeria’s military attaché to the US and current Nigeria’s Ambassador to South Africa. He was said to have been dropped because the US group believes that it may be difficult for the former governor of Lagos State to be accepted by other parts of the country.
It was gathered that Babangida eventually got endorsement after people like Mr. George Bush Sr, who was president in US when Babangida was military president in Nigeria put in words. The Bush Snr. support, it was gathered, informed why immediate past US president, George W. Bush, wanted to meet with Babangida when he visited Nigeria for the ThisDay awards.

Before the President Barrack Obama’s delegation to Babangida, the US and European Union had lamented the uncertainty in Nigeria, caused by the absence of President Yar’Adua. In a joint statement signed by US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, British Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, France’s Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner and European Union High Representative, Catherine Ashton, the US and EU noted: “Nigeria is going through a period of uncertainty because of the prolonged illness of President Musa Yar’Adua. Nigeria’s stability and democracy carry great significance beyond its immediate borders, given its importance as a global oil producer and stabilising force in West Africa.”

In the quest to help Nigeria get stability, the US therefore, wants a leader it thinks would build institutions, as President Obama earlier suggested.
However, apart from the US, it was gathered that Nigerians, especially power brokers in the North are also putting pressure on Babangida to join the race for next year’s presidency.

Maryam death angle
It was gathered that the death of Babangida’s wife, Maryam, last December 27, served as a rallying point for some politicians, who want Babangida back at the presidency. Within the period when Maryam was buried and her 40th day fidau, paraphernalia of offices of state governments across the country literally relocated to Minna. At Minna even though politicians came for mourning, there were reconciliation of political foes and realignment of political forces.

Initially, there was the belief that the death of Maryam would sound the death knel on Babangida’s comeback hope, but the goodwill that came with it boosted the confidence of the retired general, it was gathered. Babangida’s confidant said that the manner Nigerians, from all walks of life sympathised with him, during his trying period, humbled Babangida the more and made him to hope that an opportunity would come for him to reciprocate by giving the Nigerian people quality and good governance. The message of appreciation he sent to Nigerians conveyed his emotion on the love Nigerians showed his family.

In the message, he stated: “ My dear compatriots, you have once again stood by us at a time and moment when my family and I need your support, consolation and prayers.”

The North’s thinking
It was gathered that the northern political elite, believing that it gambled and lost out with the Yar’Adua presidency, thinks that with a candidate like Babangida the geopolitical zone will bounce back to political reckoning, just as General Olusegun Obasanjo brought back South West to political relevance at the federal level.
Sources said that the declaration that no serving or former governor from the North will succeed Yar’Adua was part of the signal to draft Babangida into the race. Indeed, a frontline northern critic and retired Army Major, Abubakar Umar, had warned that the northern governors, who are nursing the ambition of succeeding Yar’Adua should bury such plans. According to him, none of these northern governors is competent to rule the country. He said that some of the governors, apart from their dismal performance, were found wanting when the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) checked their books.

Considering the offer
It was gathered that Babangida is considering the offer to succeed Yar’Adua. He is said to be examining the various forces angling for his entry into the race, to ascertain if they mean well or just want to drag him out and disgrace him. Also, he wants to be sure that Nigerians would accept him.

Sources close to him said that one of the ways the former Head of State wants to find out how Nigerians feel about him was for his associates to commission a research to find out how Nigerians would receive his entry into the presidential race. It was gathered that this move is preparatory to him officially declaring to replace Yar’Adua next year.

Former national treasurer of PDP, Dr. Godwin Daboh, who is among those putting pressure on Babangida to join the 2011 race, had said that result of research conducted in the six geopolitical zones showed that over 70 percent of Nigerians want Babangida in the presidency in 2011. This seems to have buoyed the confidence of the group, which are surreptitiously revving their political structures.

With such finding, associates of Babangida have subtly started making comments to prepare the ground. One of his former aides and ex-military intelligence officer when Babangida was in power, Captain Sagir Mohammed (retd), recently said that the constitution is clear on who could be presidential candidate. According to him, “the Nigerian people who decide who becomes the president have not, in any way, foreclosed his possibility of becoming the president and we have no proof that those few who want him not to contest, represent the view of Nigerian people.”

He remarked that General Babangida holds the record as one of the greatest leaders that have ever ruled the country, since the period of amalgamation, adding that he has a record of achievements unsurpassed by many Nigerian leaders before and after him. The former military officer said Nigerians now have the unique opportunity of comparing the Babangida regime with what the country has had after him.

Resurrecting political structures
It was gathered that Babangida has refused to disclose his political activities for fear of being accused of contributing in heating up the polity and destablising the Yar’Adua government. Sources said that he wants to meet with President Yar’Adua, to ascertain his plan for 2011 before making a public declaration on his intention.
In the meantime, it was gathered that his political associates have started resurrecting his political structures secretly, preparatory to his declaration.

One of them, who pleaded anonymity said: “We are now resurrecting our structures because it is evident that going by the internal and external pressures mounted on IBB to run for 2011 presidential election, he would succumb. The unity and progress of this country is very uppermost in his mind.”

His clout
Events have proved that Babangida is a force to be reckoned with in PDP and the polity. In 2006, many people picked nomination forms for various offices because Babangida was expected to run for the president. Some of them, especially those who wanted to be governors, had actually paid the non-refundable N2m to pick nomination forms. They, however, dropped their aspirations when it became clear that Babangida was no longer interested in the presidency, following the aspiration of Yar’Adua. Babangida had put what happened into perspective then when he said that he pulled out because he did not want to go into a contest with any member of the Yar’Adua family because he saw them as his brothers. He revealed that Yar’Adua’s father had told him not to ever do anything that would put him on collision course with any of his children, as they grew up together.

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12 Thoughts on “IBB To Succeed Yar’Adua: The US, North Connection

  1. Anyi - DK on March 8, 2010 at 3:50 pm said:

    I AM SURE TH us ARE NOT REALLY MAKING THE MOVES AS SUGGESTED, IF THEY REALLY LIKE THEIR OWN PEACEAND SAFETY, IT IS ABOUT TIME THEY FEED THE PEOPLE OF THE FAILED BRITISH PROJECT CALLED NIGERIA, THE SAME THING THEY ARE WILLING TO EAT THEMSELVES.
    IF THEY WILL ACCEPT TO RECYCLE AN EVIL MURDERER AND DICTATOR LIKE BABANGIDA, THEN LET IT BE THAT THEIR PLANS TO FOIST HIM ON THE IMPOVRISHED PEOPLE WILL WORK, BUT IF THEY WILL NOT ACCEPT SUCH AND THEY STILL WANT TO IMPOSE IT ON THE PEOPLE, THEN I HAVE ONE MESSAGE FOR THEM..
    THEY SHOULD EXPECT MORE ADVANCED MUTALABAS AND FAROUKS .

  2. if the us like him they must call him tobe come they president after obama
    nigerian must know that us is looking for what that help them and not in anyway to help africa talking of nigeria if we think the us is of good people, now why

    are them not helping somali or sudan please my good people of nigeria let know that no way can the white love us better than we love our self for lbb please sir from my heart l love you and what you have done in your time as president like you said if them want to drag you out disgrace it is , couse think of tailor of libera or sadam with osmar and mugabe this people friend to us till the going become bad and what happed the america are not happy that you lbb is not send to jil by nigeria and now they want you out by this way look out for your enemy becous the america are sir lbb

  3. Paddy on March 7, 2010 at 10:39 pm said:

    Shameless people, have I just read that the US is presuring IBB to come back?? Were this to be true on what ground? Is that the US kind of demonstration of craziness we now need?? Nothing good will emerge out of that for it will send us back there where they always want us to be. A million years behind.
    Anyone that wants IBB back is neither a Nigerian nor does he/she has the good interest of the nation in mind. Well I do hope this article is only to provoke those of us who are nigerians, meaning to say it’s a joke.
    @Remy,Kiev-Ukraine not to offend Somalia, hel will become a better place to relocate if IBB does come back.
    I would have said God bless Nigeria but He left us years ago in the hands of the devils.

  4. 2011 election on that day nigerians will know if there is need for us to be one nation or not.it’s hard to belive but it will surely come to pass.everybody will go on his own way if PDP do not stop there evils,and that will be the end of PDP as a party in nigeria,take a look at edo state they are no were,and can never come to power in that state.many live the rest of their lives in jail,UK AND US will soon be no go area for them

  5. anulika on March 6, 2010 at 8:33 pm said:

    All we need now is another Rawlings that will kill all the old cargoes that think Nigeria is their birthright, after which we can we move forward as a nation. Are we not ashamed that Ghana is now taking the lead in West Africa in terms of democracy .

  6. elogogo on March 6, 2010 at 8:24 pm said:

    its obvious that we are still deceiving ourselves if this so called PDP people love themselves and for national peace make ibb come back a mere dream and must remain a dream that will never come true.
    a candid advice for ibb is he should leave Nigeria alone he is not our savior and can not be. heaven will not allow, Nigerians will give in.
    the solution is not only in a northern person but in getting a selfless leader irrespective of their zone.

  7. Karem on March 6, 2010 at 8:19 pm said:

    Whoever wants a new face should join the contest and see the results. Those against Babangida are accepting the fact that Nigeria is effectively a one-party state. Or else, why would Babangida’s candidature provide a guarantee of victory at the polls if Nigerians don’t want him?

  8. Remy,Kiev-Ukraine on March 6, 2010 at 8:02 pm said:

    YEYE COUNTRY & YEYE PEOPLE. very soon Somalia go better past una..

  9. christian obinna onyirimba on March 6, 2010 at 4:03 pm said:

    yar adua`s father told ibb not to ever do enything that would put him on collsion course with any of his children as they grew up together all we nade is ti make nigeria to become a better country………………………………………………………………………………………………

  10. Frank on March 6, 2010 at 3:12 pm said:

    Please o..please o..who ever is calling for the recycling of kaki men is anti-Nigeria,we are obviously tired and moving forward not some old lawless, lying corrupt & ungraceful men.IBB?,the same man that killed the voice of truth and reason(Dele Giwa),the same man that legalized corruption,the same man that stalled the only ever successful democratic election in Nigeria.I also want to make it clear,nobody is putting any pressure on him,all this cheap gimmicks will not get this men anywhere,do they think Nigeria is their birthright?

    All you men that you have sold your souls,values,integrity and consciences,this time will be a shocker for all of you,you will be humiliated and disgrace.all you heartless excellencies,lying honorables,and heartless kaki men,we don’t want you,go o..please let Nigeria be,Nigeria is for Nigerians not some fetish cabal.

  11. Dem no dey tiya for power, give younger people a chance

  12. we do not want an recycling of persons as president or governor in nigeria. he has served as miliatry president before, he should forget that seat and do something else. we need new hands. US and whatever country should make him their president if they so like him. but we do not want him anymore. Obasanjo was an ex military president too, came back as civilian and messed up the whole polity. no more to ex military personel. Nigeria must be freed from the bondage of old cargooes or whatever you may want to call it. new person should become. plus, who is PDP that they should decide where the zoning should be? they failed in this their first best of Yaradua, we do not need to give them that second chance, if not they will ruin our country…. Nigerians shine your eyes for 2011….

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