Emmanuel Onani, ABUJA Barring any last minute change, the winner of the just-concluded presidential primary of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, will be presented to ex-Head of State, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, tomorrow.
Impeccable sources, who spoke in confidence with New Telegraph, said a former National Security Adviser (NSA), Lt-Gen. Aliyu Gusau (retd), will present Atiku to IBB at his Hilltop mansion in Minna, Niger State. According to one of the sources, the development will signal the support of the Northern power brokers for the former vice president, who is expected to square up with whoever emerges as the presidential flag-bearer of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) later this week.
Our correspondent gathered that Babangida had, prior to last Saturday’s primary that threw up the Wazirin Adamawa, placed a call across to the Governor of Sokoto State, who was a strong contender for the PDP’s presidential ticket, to persuade him to step down for Atiku. It was further learnt that the former Military President detailed Gen. Gusau to intervene in the matter, which was considered very fundamental to the emergence of a presidential candidate of northern extraction.
“I can tell you authoritatively that Governor Tambuwal of Sokoto stepped down as a result of the passion with which the northern oligarchy showed in the buildup to the 2023 presidential election. “As a matter of fact, IBB made a direct intervention on Tambuwal, and further detailed Gusau to ensure the deal pulled through. “After the election, IBB called Gusau to thank him for a job well done. “As a fallout of this, Gusau will take Atiku to IBB on June 1, 2022.
“The oligarchs sympathetic to PDP came together to ask Tambuwal, his Bauchi State counterpart, Bala Mohammed, and former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to step down”, one of the sources hinted.
Another source, who spoke in similar vein, said for refusing to heed the oligarch’s call, Mohammed may be “punished”. Asked how that will happen, the highly-placed source said: “We are talking about politics of the North, and don’t forget that Bala has a governorship ticket held in trust for him” Further investigation revealed that delegates’ lists from Zamfara and Kano states for the PDP’s presidential primary, may have been doctored, to produce pre-determined results.
Consequently, the source noted that, “a detailed inquiry, probe if you like, will be carried out, to unravel the circumstances surrounding the development”. In a related development, strong indications emerged that one of the strong contenders at the just-concluded PDP primary and Governor of an oil-rich state, may form an alliance with former Governor of Lagos State and front-runner for the APC presidential ticket, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
“There is an understanding between the powerful South South Governor, and the national leader of the APC, for the former to support the latter’s presidential bid, in the event of his loss of one, and the victory of the other”. Meanwhile, the outcome of last Saturday’s exercise may cause a wedge in the existing friendship between the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, and his Benue State counterpart, Dr. Samuel Ortom, as the former is said to be suspecting that the latter may not have supported him, as expected.
“We are aware that Governor Wike may be skeptical about the support, which his friend and Benue Governor, Mr. Ortom, promised him,” a senior establishment source told this newspaper.