Former president Olusegun Obasanjo is scheming to impose Senator Adamu Aliero, former governor of Kebbi State, as vice-president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2015, LEADERSHIP exclusively gathered yesterday. If the plan succeeds, he will replace Arc. Namadi Sambo as running mate of the PDP candidate in the 2015 presidential election.
As part of the grand design, Aliero will, barring last-minute change of plan, return to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from which he had defected to the Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) in 2010. Already, plans have reached an advanced stage to formally receive him back to the PDP family next Thursday.
The deal to have Aliero and tens of influential CPC members in Kebbi State return to the PDP was brokered by Obasanjo at a meeting held in his residence in Abuja.
The development has left the Kebbi branch of the CPC with the task of shopping for a replacement for its candidate in the run-off gubernatorial election coming up on March 31, 2012, as neither Aliero nor Alhaji Abubakar Malam has submitted his letter of resignation from the CPC. According to the Electoral Act, a party can only change its gubernatorial candidate in the event of a run-off election if he dies or suffers permanent incapacitation or voluntarily steps down.
A CPC chieftain LEADERSHIP contacted on the matter confirmed that, indeed, the party had got wind of the plans by Aliero and other CPC heavyweights in Kebbi to return to the PDP, but that the party had not yet been informed. The source, who does not want his name in print, said that the party is in a dilemma at the moment, as “We have to start shopping for a gubernatorial candidate with only a few days to the run-off election.”
According to the source, Aliero had, a long time ago, made up his mind to return to the PDP, “but he was only held back by the judgement of the Supreme Court, which they hoped would tilt in favour of the CPC. They planned to give the seat to the PDP by decamping to the party with the candidate after being sworn-in as governor.”
LEADERSHIP’s findings have confirmed that Aliero is decamping to the PDP with such political heavyweights as Alhaji Abubakar Malam, the CPC gubernatorial candidate, Senator Umaru Abubakar Argungu, Alhaji Hassan Kangiwa, Alhaji Hussaini Kangiwa and the Katukan Yawuri.
According to informed sources, Obasanjo had premised his plan to install Aliero as vice president in case of bad blood that the contest may generate among contenders that may be eyeing the seat in 2015, including the incumbent Sambo and two popular governors from the north-west and north-central as well as a senator from Kaduna State.
With Alhaji Bamanga Tukur from Adamawa State as PDP chairman, former vice president Atiku Abubakar has automatically been edged out of the contest for the presidency, as both are from the same state. This will now pave the way for President Jonathan to run for a second term on a joint ticket with Adamu Aliero.
Said the source: “the hawks are going to start a surreptitious campaign for tenure elongation through the back door. By 2013, they will ensure the constitution is amended to ensure whoever wins the 2015 presidential election enjoys a term of seven years. They are going to do this because they are so sure they have the machinery of state at their disposal to ensure Jonathan is returned as winner of that year’s presidential election.”
On Wednesday, last week, Aliero led the CPC family in Kebbi State to a political rally said to be unprecedented in the annals of politics of the state. Delivering his speech on the occasion, the former governor assured the people that he was going to remain with them come rain come sunshine, but that they should await to hear from him sometime this week as to the next move. The same day, Aliero travelled to Sokoto where he met with Governor Magatakarda Wamakko, in company of Alhaji Dahiru Mangal, Senator Ahmed Sani (Yariman Bakura) and Alhaji Abubakar Garun Malam. At the meeting, he was said to have enlisted their support for Obasanjo’s plan to make him vice president iin 2015, asking that they should work together to ensure the whole north-west returns fully to the PDP.
Though Senator Ahmed Sani, former governor of Zamfara State, is still in the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), efforts are reportedly being made to get him dedcamp to the PDP, to help facilitate the Obasanjo project.
Part of the plan also includes making Alhaji Abubakar Malam the next comptroller-general of the Nigeria Customs Service, as a reward for abandoning his quest for the governorship and decampingwith Aliero to the PDP.
Investigations by LEADERSHIP, however, confirmed that though there had been several moves to get Sani defect to the PDP, he has reportedly always backed out of the idea, choosing to remain in the ANPP.
All efforts by LEADERSHIP to hear from Senator Adamu Aliero proved abortive, as all his known cellphones as well as those of his media aide, Abdullahi Zuru, remained switched off up to the time of going to press.