by Paul Osas
For some reason, five northern governors who visited ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo last weekend and four of which also visited the Rivers governor earlier last week, are describing their elite visitation tour as a “Save Democracy” shuttle.
The five governors are Dr. Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Alhaji Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko (Sokoto) and Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu
The next stop in their ambitiously christened tour is Minna where they are expected to meet with two former heads of state, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida and Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, over the state of the nation.
The Minna meeting would reportedly discuss the political crisis in Rivers State, the turbulence in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the factionalisation of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and jockeying for the 2015 general election, especially as it concerns the clamour for power shift to the north. Pessimists might see that last point as the main purpose for their visit and hardly any attempt to “save democracy”.
According to a source, “The governors were also unhappy about what they called anti-North agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan. They want to take the same message to Gen. Babangida, Gen. Abubakar and Gen. Danjuma before the week runs out.”
The governors are also expected to consult with a former Minister of Defence, Gen. Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma.
Kwankwaso, Lamido, Nyako and Wamakko had held consultations with Obasanjo at his Hilltop home during which they discussed the state of the nation with the former president. Their meeting with Obasanjo came a few days after Kwankwaso, Lamido, Nyako and Aliyu visited Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, last Tuesday to assess the situation in the state that was caught in a vortex of violence following the degeneration of the power tussle in the state chapter of the PDP that led to clashes between pro and anti-Amaechi lawmakers in the state House of Assembly on one hand and between supporters of the two factions of the lawmakers on the other hand.
Although Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, was initially billed to attend the Minna meeting, it was learnt that he would not make it as he left Nigeria yesterday on a five-day trip to the United Kingdom. Today’s meeting in Minna, which is being hosted by Aliyu, is scheduled to start at about noon at the Presidential Lodge, behind the Government House, Minna. The choice of the Presidential Lodge, according to a source, was informed by the refusal of both former heads of state to host the meeting at their respective residences because of the preying eyes of the press and speculations that might follow thereafter.
Shedding more light on today’s meeting, a source in Minna said: “Four northern governors will be joining Aliyu tomorrow (today) in Minna to visit Generals Babangida and Abdulsalami and I am sure the visit is not unconnected with the recent political crises going on in Rivers State and the PDP. I am sure they will also be consulting on what steps to take in 2015 and other national issues.”
Another source in Minna said the northern governors would be consulting with the two generals and other key players, who according to him, include a former Minister of Defence, Lt.-Gen. Theophilus Danjuma.
“They have already met with General Obasanjo over the weekend and will meet IBB and Abdulsalami and then they will meet T.Y. Danjuma,” he added. He however expressed reservations if the meeting will discuss power shift to the north, adding that its primary purpose is to consult on the way forward given the political crises that have engulfed the nation.