By Mohammed Isa:
As the Senate expects to receive the list of new ministerial nominees tomorrow, fresh facts have emerged that recuperating President Umaru Musa Yar’adua and Acting President Goodluck Jonathan are set for a showdown.
The imminent showdown, according to a source who spoke to Peoples Daily last night, is coming on the heels of strategies by the Yar’adua camp to stop what they see as the acting president’s attempts to ‘bury’ the ailing president alive.
The Yarádua camp in the Presidency had expressed serious misgivings over the dissolution of FEC by Jonathan, a move widely seen as a bid to consolidate his grips on power.
According to our source, the expected showdown is a result of plans by supporters of the ailing president to ensure their principal appear in public, thereby halt the acting president’s final bid to terminate the Yarádua presidency.
This was corroborated by another source in the Presidency who was certain “President Umaru Yarádua will return to his office on or before April 6.”
This source told Peoples Daily that unlike when he first returned to the country and was stationed in a motorised ambulance within his residence, Yarádua now treks down using the staircase in his official residence unaided, to the waiting room on the ground floor of the house.
The source confirmed that the the ailing president’s loyalists were “shocked” by the acting president’s dissolution of the cabinet, even though the rumour mill was awash with the speculations, weeks ahead of it.
“All actions and policies taken by Jonathan may be reversed by Yar’adua,” said.
To halt the consolidation of power by Jonathan, therefore, the pro-Yar’adua group has finalised plans to arrange for other steps, which are close to their hearts, in addition to the public appearance of Yar’adua, all in a bid to douse doubts the ailing president’s capacity to discharge the functions of his office.
“The only means of stopping Jonathan in his tracks is to ensure that the President appears before the public. The pro-Yar’adua group, which had momentarily lost steam are roaring back to relevance when it became very obvious that the president would appear before Nigerians,” the source further stressed last night.
Meanwhile, Peoples Daily learnt from reliable sources that some northern politicians have starting paying secret visits to Jonathan and his in the Akinola Aguda official residence, with a view to currying favours from them, especially in light of the jostle over whose name makes the ministerial list expected to be forwarded to the Senate by Jonathan tomorrow.
One of our sources said that a National Publicity Secretary of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in the Second Republic, and Labour Minister under the General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida regime, who hails from Bauchi state, and some prominent Northern women, are among the horde of guests in the acting president’s residence yesterday.
“Some of the northern elements who have visited the acting president have avoided coming in groups. They only come individually to pledge their loyalties, and also seek for one favour or the other,” one of our sources disclosed..
Since his elevation to acting president on February 9, 2010, through controversial resolutions by the two chambers of the National Assembly, Jonathan has taken some far reaching decisions.
Among them are redeployment of three ministers, including former minister of justice and attorney general of the federation, Michael Aondoakaa, who vehemently stood his ground against the making of the vice president as acting President.
The acting president similarly put on hold the multi billion naira River Niger Dredging contract awarded by Yar’adua, notwithstanding the frantic efforts to avoid a backlash from the Northern establishment by his minders; dissolution of the federal executive council, the sacking of Yar’adua’s National Security Adviser, General Abdullahi Sarki Mukhtar and his replacement with General Mohammed Aliyu Gusau, and the dissolution of the cabinet.
Others are the setting up of the Presidential Advisory Council (PAC), headed by Lt.-Gen Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (rtd) and another panel to probe all contracts awarded by Yar’adua.
But spokesperson of the acting president, Ima Niboro did not take several calls to his cellphone to respond to inquiries on these issues.
Meanwhile, some state chapters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are engrossed in wrangling over ministerial nominees, with some alleging that governors have hijacked the process of nomination in their favour.
In Kaduna for instance, Governor Namadi Sambo is allegedly determined to secure the return of Arc Nuhu Way, former Minister of State for Power in the reconstituted cabinet. Though the Southern Kaduna PDP is said to be favouring for the return of Sen. Isaiah Balat as minister, another group is said to be clamouring for Dr. Dogara Mato, former Lere local government area chairman.
In Gombe, a source revealed that Governor Danjuma Goje has relegated the appointment of any person from Gombe South zone into the executive council. A source told Peoples Daily that the indigenes of the zone may head to the National Assembly this week to complain on the list sent by Goje.
In Plateau, Governor Jonah Jang is said to have nominated Chief Sylvanus D. Lot, Professors Dakum Shown and Lami Lombin, who is currently a commissioner in his cabinet. However, members of the Ibrahim Mantu and Joshua Dariye-led faction of the PDP in the state are vehemently opposed to those nominations.
In Bauchi, Alhaji Abdulmalik Mahmud, who was deputy governor of the state under Ahmadu Adamu Muázu is said to be tapping into his personal relationship with Jonathan to get enlisted for ministerial slot.
States of Kano, Bauchi, Lagos and Adamawa, among others, are enmeshed in wrangling even as governors of the state are locked in supremacy battle over ministerial nominees.
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