Former Military Presidents, Generals Mohammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Babangida and former vice president Atiku Abubakar were notably absent at yesterday’s inauguration of President Goodluck Jonathan at the Eagle Square in Abuja. Also absent was the former National Security Adviser, Gen. Aliyu Gusau. But former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Yakubu Gowon, Shehu Shagari, Ernest Shonekan, Abdulsalami Abubakar attended the event which heralded the swearing-in Jonathan.
LEADERSHIP checks revealed that formal invitations were sent out to Babangida, Buhari and Abubakar as in the case of other invited personalities who graced the inauguration from home and abroad.
But the absence of Buhari is not unconnected with the presidential election which pitched the latter with eventual winner, Jonathan. Buhari’s party, the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) is already at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal contesting the official results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the presidential election.
The party is alleging massive rigging and other election irregularities in favour of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In Babangida’s and Atiku’s case, they are reportedly still angry over the failure of the contentious Adamu Ciroma led Northern consensus candidate adventure which attempted to wrestle the party’s presidential primary ticket from the hands of eventual flagbearer, Jonathan. Abubakar emerged the northern consensus candidate over Babangida; former Kwara State Governor, Bukola Saraki; and former National Security Adviser (NSA) Aliyu Gusau.
The PDP has a zoning arrangement which rotates the presidency between the South and Northern parts of Nigeria. So, following the death of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, controversy as to who produces the next president split the party in a fierce tussle in view of the subsisting arrangement.