Published On: Tue, Feb 11th, 2014


President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan and his top aides are said to be developing strategies to stop the increasing popularity of the All Progressives Congress in the South-West and parts of the North-East and North-West.

High-ranking Aso Rock officials said in Abuja, on Sunday, that this informed a recent meeting between President Goodluck Jonathan and his strategists in the Presidential Villa.

One of the sources said that the meeting reviewed how Nigerians across the six geo-political zones  might vote in 2015 and concluded that the electons, especially the Presidential poll, would be keenly contested.

The source added that Jonathan and the strategists agreed that the APC  had a firm grip on the South-West and therefore resolved  that concrete measures should be adopted to woo the zone.

One of the measures, according to him, is to allocate the position of the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria or the Comptroller-General of  the  Nigeria Customs Service, to the  South-West.

It was learnt that those at the meeting were in unison that giving  either of the two positions would go a long way in  countering  the allegation of marginalisation being levelled against the Jonathan administration by the people of the zone.

The source said, “We knew that many people voted for the PDP during the presidential election in 2011 because of the President’s popularity and not because of the party he represented.

“This was the reason why the President won in four out of the six states in the South-West.

“With the alignment of the forces against the PDP and the President across the country, especially in the zone (South-West) now, we need to work hard to gain their confidence.

“It was also agreed that to curry political favour  of the people of the zone, the  President  needed to cede either of the  two positions (CBN governor and CG of Customs) to the zone.”

Another Aso Rock source said, “You  must agree  that we also  need to do extra  work  in the North-East and North-West  where our party’s popularity is waning  to get as many people as possible on our side.”

He added  that there were fears in the Presidency that the presidential election might go into run-off.

Efforts to get the Presidency’s reaction did not yield any result on Sunday as the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Ahmed Gulak, could not be reached on the telephone.

A former Minister of Transport and Aviation, Chief Ebenezer Babatope,  however, said  that it  was   wrong to blame the alleged maginalisation of the South-West on the Jonathan government.

Babatope said, “We the elders  of  the zone are not resting and I know that very soon, the President would do something  about it.

“The position of CBN governor is still open and that of the CG of Customs is there. However, we must blame the former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, for colluding with some members of the PDP in the House of Representatives to deny the South-West of the position of the Speaker.”

Babatope also accused the CBN Governor,  Mallam Sanusi Lamido, of trying to incite the public, especially the opposition, against the PDP and Jonathan, through his statements on the alleged missing money at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

He alleged that within a week,  Sanusi had quoted   different figures of between $49 and $20bn as the amount involved.

The former minister  said that if not that Sanusi would be leaving office in few months’ time, it would not be out of  order to press for his removal for portraying  himself as somebody  unfit  to    hold such a sensitive office.

He said, “It is disheartening and highly embarrassing for the governor of the CBN be  contradicting himself like that. Look at how he was raving before the Senate few days ago that the actual money that was missing was $20bn. The same man had initially quoted different figures of $49 and $12bn respectively.

“Imagine the CBN boss coming out to say that $49bn was missing in a government agency like the  NNPC and you expect people  not to  ask questions? They will even come to the  conclusion that it was  the  PDP  government that stole the money for elections. Some  people will instigate innocent Nigerians to take to the streets based on false information”.

Meanwhile, the PDP said on Sunday that it was shocked by  statements credited to a  former Vice- President , Alhaji Atiku Abubakar,  that the party was  Nigeria’s problem.

The PDP  said in a statement  by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh,  that while  it   recognised the  rights  of Nigerians  to hold opinions and identify with political platforms of their choice, it found  it very difficult to understand   Abubakar ‘s bitterness.

Metuh said, “It is common knowledge that the private sector has been immensely successful in the last two years under the PDP-led administration owing to the continued implementation of our manifesto and policies including the continuation of the PDP ideology of transfer of wealth from public institutions to the private sector.

“This is the hallmark of the PDP-led Federal Government wherein hardworking private individuals are now thriving in manufacturing, trade, commerce and other critical sectors of the economy.”


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