Thursday, 3 March 2011

CPC, Northern groups in secret pact with IBB, Atiku, Gusau •In fresh bid to stop Jonathan

THE leadership of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) plans to enter into a secret pact with the pro-zoning leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in a bid to stop President Goodluck Jonathan from winning the next presidential

The Nigerian Tribune has obtained details of a meeting to that effect, which was held at the Abuja residence of the Director-General of Buhari Campaign Organisation, Dr Sule Hamman, indicating that General Ibrahim Babangida was already working hand in hand with the party and that the party planned separate meetings with former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and General Mohammadu Gusau.

The meeting, held on February 25, was said to have decided on the need to frustrate the plan by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to win at the first ballot and that the opposition parties could come together and gang up against the PDP if they succeed in winning a rerun poll.

Those at the meeting, according to details at the disposal of the Nigerian Tribune, included the national chairman of the CPC, Mr Tony Momoh; the party’s General Secretary, Mr Buba Galadima; spokesman of the Buhari Campaign, Mr Yinka Odumakin; Mallam Mustapha Salihu; Chairman of the Unity Forum (UF), Alhaji M. M. Abdul and the forum’s secretary and one-time minister, Alhaji Murtala Aliyu.

The Unity Forum is said to be the driving force of the secret agenda, which is seen as a silent way of dragging Buhari into the zoning issue.

The former head of state had refused to be drawn into the zoning controversy all the while but sources said that Buhari was fast realising the need to key into the zoning agenda secretly so as to benefit politically.

Sources further confirmed that the meeting also resolved to forestall the electoral alliance planned between the CPC and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) until it was possible for the opposition to stall PDP’s victory in April.

The meeting said that the opposition parties should concentrate their efforts on their areas of strength and that they could come together once a rerun is made possible in April.
Sources also confirmed that the meeting also concluded on the decision to put alliance talks in abeyance for now, as a result of the plot to stop the PDP from winning a landslide victory.

The meeting agreed that if the opposition parties bonded together for now, the PDP might easily override them, but going into the election separately would mean that they might be able to stop the PDP from winning at first ballot.

“They believe that if they go into the election as a united front, the PDP would easily knock them out and that once the PDP is stopped at the first ballot, all hands would then be required to come together,” sources said.

It was also revealed that the opposition party had decided to work with General Ibrahim Babangida, to ensure he delivered his area to the CPC, with some meetings being scheduled with him and  former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar on the need for them to support General Buhari for presidency.

The belief in the opposition camp was that the PDP would not win 51 per cent of the vote, if the voting pattern remained as projected in different zones.

The UF and CPC leaders believed that the CPC could win majority of the votes in the North-West and North-East, while the ACN could win in the South-West, leaving the PDP with the South-East and the South-South, which lacked the number to threaten votes from the North-West and South-West.

The meeting resolved that with the opposition appearing strong in the North-West and North-East, all they needed to do was to ensure that the votes of Lagos and South-West went to the ACN.

However, some leaders of the CPC, at the meeting, expressed concern over the failure of the party to commence its presidential campaign while the PDP was midway its campaign.

Though Buhari was yet to speak with Atiku, members of the UF and other leaders, it was gathered, were planning to ensure a meeting between Buhari and other pro-zoning leaders in the PDP, so as to seal a deal.

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