In the group are erstwhile associates and aides of the deceased who, sources say, have been meeting regularly lately following their resolve to champion the cause of the north in the quest to produce the nation’s next president.
The group was said to have been prevailed upon by eminent northern leaders to save the face of the north in the crucial 2015 electoral contest.
“Several emissaries were sent to the likes of Alhaji Abba Ruma, Senator Adamu Aliero and Gen. Sarki Abdullai Muktar (rtd) by concerned northern elders on the need for them to return to the political turf in the interest of the north,” one source familiar with the development told The Nation.
The pressure on the Yar’Adua men, it was gathered, is predicated on the fact that having been involved with him in the race for the presidency in 2007 they are better placed to champion the cause of the north to vie for the presidency in 2015.
Another factor in the group’s favour is their massive financial status which sources say can match that of any other group in the country in prosecuting a presidential campaign against the incumbent should he decide to go for a second term.
The northern leaders had to turn to the Yar’Adua group after discovering some apathy from politicians they first sounded out.
The group held its first meeting in Abuja a few days after the Independence day celebration and reportedly resolved to champion the cause of the north within and outside the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Those said to have attended the maiden meeting included former Minister of Agriculture, Sayyadi Abba Ruma, former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Adamu Aliero, and former National Security Adviser (NSA), General Sarki Abdullahi Mukhtar.
Others are Dr. Taminu Yakubu, who served in Yar’Adua’s cabinet as the President’s Chief Economic Adviser, Dr. Mansur Muhtar, who held the position of the Minister of Finance as well as two top personal security aides of the late President.
The politicians, sources claim, rose from the meeting with a resolve to approach the 2015 project from two fronts. One is to strengthen their base within the ruling party with a view to wrestling the ticket of the PDP from Jonathan during the party’s primary election.
The other approach, which appears to be more popular among those who attended the first meeting, is to move the group into another political party and confront Jonathan and the PDP headlong in 2015.
Two committees were said to have been formed to work on the two approaches. Consequently, some members of the group were said to have met the leadership of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) to discuss the 2015 general election.
The talks, according to sources, bordered on moving the remnant of the late President’s structure fully into the CPC while work would start in earnest on how to install a preferred presidential hopeful within the party. Such a candidate, both parties agreed, must be from the north.
It was learnt that the group has met at least on two occasions with leaders of the CPC including former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari. One of such meetings, it was learnt ,took place in Kaduna on November 14 with the General in attendance.
Sources said at another meeting of the group held shortly after the first Umaru Musa Yar’Adua memorial lecture in Abuja on Thursday November 29, the two committees reported back to the house and further decisions were taken on how to bring more people into the fold.
The latest meeting of the group, The Nation on Sunday learnt was held in Katsina last Tuesday. At the parley were a former Minister of State for Finance from the Southwest; a former Minister of National Planning; a former Minister of Power also from the Southwest, a former Deputy Governor in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and a leading industrialist in the country.
The presence at the meeting of a former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation from the North Central and Alhaji Dahiru Mangal, one of the closest friends of the late President and a wealthy businessman from Katsina State, further strengthened the gathering.