By Taiwo Adisa:

THE search for a vice-presidential material from the North took a different dimension at the weekend, following indications that the camp of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and that of former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, have been combing the North-East and the North-West.

The search by the two leaders has been limited to serving governors and former ministers.

But top members of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) were also said to have received a technical committee report which reviewed the suitability of some candidates from the North, following indications that the ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua would not be  in a position to return to office as a result of his ailment.

Sources in the North told the Nigerian Tribune that the search team instituted by some top members of ACF had tipped former National Security Adviser (NSA), General Aliyu Gusau, as a possible vice-presidential hopeful in a presidency headed by Acting President Goodluck Jonathan.

It was also gathered that while the search party of former President Obasanjo had tipped Adamawa State governor, Admiral Murtala Nyako and Jigawa State governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido and another former minister from the North-East, Alhaji Adamu Bello, former Minister of Agriculture; Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, the current Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Alhaji Danjuma Goje, the Gombe State governor, as possible vice-presidential hopeful, the duo of Babangida and Obasanjo are said to be looking at the of Gusau as possible compromise candidate.

Sources said that a group of Northern leaders were set to meet with Acting President Jonathan this week to broach the idea with him.

“This group is working on seeing the acting president before the end of this week. The North has resolved to face the reality of the unfolding situation,” a source said.

It was also gathered that a political  committee of the ACF which analysed candidate, including former governor of Bauchi State, Alhaji Adamu Muazu; Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, (FCTA), Senator Adamu Aliero and governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido, has also prepared a report which is being closely guarded.

A source close to the workings of the ACF  told the Nigerian Tribune that different  groups backing General Gasau had prepared a position paper which highlighted his suitability for the job.

He is also said to be a loyal officer throughout his public service career. For instance, a source said that though some prophets had openly predicted that he (Gusau) and others, including General Babangida, Sani Abacha and Abdulsalami Abubakar, would be heads at states at different times, he retired quietly when the time came.

One of the reports sighted on Sunday indicated: “Gusau is to bring lots of experience to stabilise the government. He has military experience; he is one of the silent intelligentsia from the North.

“We are pleased to report that he is the candidate the North can back for the post of vice-president. Goodluck-Jonathan is from the  South-South, in the spirit of nationhood, the North can back him to the presidency in the unfolding circumstance.

“We can swallow our bitterness that the Yar’Adua presidency is now a  past item, but we should support Jonathan, with a stable character and an experienced personality.

“The North needs to talk with a united voice and there is no need for further delay in meeting Jonathan on this issue,” the report said.

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