President Goodluck Jonathan
Ibrahim Shuaibu, in this report, looks at some of the likely contenders for the presidency from the North-west zone in 2015 but presently pretending to be indifferent about the nation’s top job
With about two years left for the expiration of the present dispensation, the battle for who is interested in the presidency among North-west governors in 2015 may have begun quietly. Already, some of the governors have begun to woo supporters in actualisation of their dream. While President Goodluck Jonathan is yet to make any categorical statement on his controversial re-election, governors of Jigawa and Katsina States, Sule Lamido and Ibrahim Shema, are believed to have started pushing their agenda to run in 2015 secretly.
Although, Lamido has persistently said he would retire to his village on the expiration of his two terms of eight years, indications are rife that former President Olusegun Obasanjo may have approved of a presidential ticket that will pair Lamido with his Rivers State counterpart, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi for the 2015 race.
Besides, Lamido’s body language and spate of activities being organised by his government also point in the direction that he is strategically positioning himself for the 2015 presidential election as the North hopes to fight for the nation’s top job. For instance, between April and May, Lamido had hosted a number of high-powered delegations in the state and it is becoming more glaring that plans are in the offing for him to declare his ambition in no distant future.
Lamido also recently rolled out the red carpet for ex-military President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, as part of activities marking the 21 years of the creation of Jigawa State. The climax of Babangida’s visit was his public endorsement of Lamido for 2015. The development was believed to have strengthened the Obasanjo endorsement of the proposed Lamido-Amaechi ticket.
In neighbouring Katsina, although there was never a time that Shema hinted of his presidential ambition, the prevailing political situation in the state point to the fact that he would declare his intention soon. Shema is among the three northern governors believed to be members of the Obasanjo camp. Sources close to Shema said the calculation in the Obasanjo camp is that if the PDP agrees to have a Hausa/Fulani president in 2015, then the ticket might go to the Katsina governor.
Politicians in the state, including the influential and the inconsequential, have begun to promote the political ambition of the governor. It has become a norm that whenever the governor attends a public function, his supporters hail and call him Nigeria’s next president.
Although, Chief of staff to Shema, Alhaji Salisu Yusuf Majigiri, had said the issue of 2015 is purely God’s decision because as the giver of power, He is the only one who knows what will happen in 2015, that however has not changed the fact that activities in the state are now tilting in that direction.
“No one can predict what will happen in 2015 because it is something that is beyond human power. Governor Shema is presently committed to the development of Katsina State. He was mandated by the people of Katsina State to man the affairs of the state for another four years and therefore, his major task at present is to move the state forward.
“The issue of 2015 general election is just a matter of time and when the time comes, we will all witness what is going to happen. But for now, Governor Ibrahim Shema, is concentrating on the development of Katsina State.”
However, there are some people who doubted the possibility of Shema’s rumoured presidential ambition becoming a reality given the fact that his predecessor in the state, the late Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, emerged the president on the platform of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) in the 2007 presidential election. In a country where there are so many contending interests, even some politicians in the North will kick against Katsina State producing two presidents within a spate of eight years.
In Kano, there are speculations that Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso is interested in the coveted seat, believing his support from the people of the state would see him through. Kwankwaso, like others, has remained quiet with strict instructions to his lieutenants not to say anything about it.
There are also indications that the Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko, is nursing a presidential ambition. Wamakko who is also a second term governor may declare his interest soon, knowing that Sokoto is the centre of the caliphate and might secure the support of both members of the PDP and the opposition which is believed to see him as a different breed of politician in the state.
However, what may pose serious threat to Wamakko’s ambition is the Speaker, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, who is likely to emerge the preferred candidate of the proposed mega party from the ongoing alliance of the opposition parties. As the number four citizen in the country and a younger politician, the choice of Tambuwal is believed to be causing ripples within the ranks of the PDP, especially his affinity with the opposition.
Although, there is the believe that when the time comes, the PDP machinery will frustrate the ambition of the speaker, the opposition too is not taking the matter lightly and thus, the choice of a candidate from that state might pose a bit of difficulty for the parties.
However, when asked about their governors’ rumoured presidential ambition in 2015, all the spokespersons of the three governors declined comments. But political analyst believed that there are elements of facts in the rumours making the rounds, especially that the governors’ body languages are clear indications that they harbour plans to run for the presidency in 2015.