SECOND TERM: Northern Leaders Give Jonathan Conditions •Replace Namadi Sambo •Create Arewa Development Fund •Remove Onshore/Offshore Dichotomy

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A cutthroat power struggle is now ongoing in the North, as
some leaders are said to have listed some conditions under which they would be
ready to support President Goodluck Jonathan‘s second term bid in 2015. 
This is coming as suspicion lingers among
opposition political parties over their planned merger, due to what a source
called the sudden interest of the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) in the
proposed grand opposition coalition.

Sunday Tribune was reliably told that some
Northern leaders met in Kano, on Friday, after jumat to review the state of the
North and the forthcoming 2015 presidential election with actors at the meeting
said to be worried that the president‘s second term bid is almost a fait
accompli, due to distrust among Northern political leaders.

A source close to the meeting who hails from
Zaria, Kaduna State, said it was held at the residence of a Second Republic
politician with about 11 top politicians from the core North in attendance.

It was gathered that the meeting discussed the
increasing division in the North and concluded that the possibility of the
region forging a common front before 2015 was becoming increasingly
unattainable, thereby advancing a ‘Plan B’ which our source said included a
conditional support for the president’s second term bid.

Actors at the meeting were said to have
expressed worries that if the North should enter the 2015 race as it were, the
president may secure his second term without any agreement or relationship with
the core North.

“The fear is we are in trouble, if the man wins
again without our organised support. We risk the top position going to the Igbo
in 2019,“ the source noted.

Sunday Tribune was told that the meeting, which
lasted for two and a half hours, agreed to link up with other Northern leaders,
even as they agreed on some conditions the North should give the president, if
the core North was to back him for the Presidency in 2015.

Our source narrated that the meeting listed
three main conditions for the president, the most important of which is that he
should change his vice presidential running mate.

The meeting was said to have advised that the
president should pick his running mate from among one of the Northern governors
as a way of rallying the Northern governors behind him.

Besides, the group is also said to be canvassing
for a wholesale rebuilding of the Northern region through a federal Northern
Development Fund, in view of the Boko Haram crisis and what the source called
subsisting underdevelopment in the region.

The last of the conditions, according to the
source,  is a request for presidential support for the clamour of the
North for the review of the onshore/offshore dichotomy, a division  which
the Northern states believe is depriving the region of close to N40 billion
monthly.

An administration source, very close to the
vice-president, who was contacted over the report, described the conditions as
unrealistic, asserting that “Vice-President Namadi Sambo has remained a loyal
and effective deputy  since he came on board.

“That is wishful thinking of a faceless group.
The Jonathan/ Sambo ticket is a winning team anyday.“

The source added, however, that “the president
has not even taken any decision on the second term issue.”

Meanwhile, there is still suspicion about
intentions of partners over the ongoing merger talks among the main opposition
parties in the country.

Checks within opposition circles showed that the
eagerness of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) to effect the merger is
been hampered by unresolved issues with the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) as
well as fears over the real goal of the ANPP in the merger talks.

Sunday Tribune was told that both the CPC and
the ACN were wary of the renewed interest of the ANPP in the merger with some
chieftains of the CPC said to be afraid of a repeat of old ANPP feud within the
planned party.

The ANPP was said to have directly written
letters  to both the CPC and the ACN, expressing its total support of the
merger plan as a way to defeat the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015. The
party also reportedly forawarded  a list of its team’s members for the
merger talks with former Borno State governor,Ali Modu Sheriff, as the head.

The direct involvement of Sheriff, who is the
ANPP Board of Trustees chairman, is said to have alarmed the CPC whose
chieftains reportedly regard the former governor as a sympathiser of the ruling
PDP.

A CPC chieftain, who expressed fear about the
ANPP, said “we are wary and we are looking over our shoulders because of our
previous experience with the old ANPP.“

Meanwhile, the CPC itself is battling with
questions about who made up its negotiating team, with a group within the party
canvassing that no member of the National Executive Committee or Board of
Trustees should be part of the negotiating team.

This position did not, however, go down well
with some entrenched interests within the party who believe doing that will
hand over the negotiation to the Mallam Nasir el-Rufai-led Renewal Committee.

Source: Tribune

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