Ahead of political horse trading over who become the presidential and vice presidential candidates of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015, indications emerged last night that former President Olusegun Obasanjo is backing Jigawa State Governor Sule Lamido and his Rivers State counterpart Rotimi Amaechi for the coveted positions respectively.
A source close to Obasanjo also confided in LEADERSHIP that the former president is now drumming support for a power shift to the North on the grounds that the region deserves the development.
The source, who sought anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the matter, added that Lamido and Amaechi will slug it out with President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice -President Namadi Sambo if Jonathan decides to contest the 2015 poll.
He said, “I can authoritatively tell you that Baba (Obasanjo) has thrown his weight behind Lamido/Amaechi ticket for 2015. He is of the opinion that the duo will put in place a dynamic government for positive development. The two governors, you will agree with me, are delivering the dividends of democracy to the people of their states.
“You will recall that Obasanjo was the mastermind of the late Umaru Yar Adua-Goodluck Jonathan ticket in 2007 when it became clear that the third term agenda had flopped and this was done at the expense of former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai who had been endorsed by the technocrats that served in his second term.
“With the demise of Yar Adua, Jonathan became the President and it was the same Obasanjo who encouraged him to run for the Presidency against the PDP zoning policy.
“But I can tell you that both Obasanjo and Jonathan have parted ways for two reasons; the failure of Jonathan to involve him in his government and his interest in contesting the 2015 presidential poll”.
When reminded that Obasanjo and Amaechi were not in good term, the source replied that former Osun State Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola had resolved the dispute.
He added that the development prompted Amaechi to support Oyinlola at the expense of a former Minister of Transport, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, during the last PDP Convention in Abuja.
According to the source, Amaechi is one of the PDP chieftains that drummed up support for Oyinlola and ensured that he emerged as the national secretary of the party.
Lamido was nominated for ministerial appointment by Obasanjo and later emerged the Foreign Affairs Minister on June 30, 1999, the post he held from 1999-2003. He returned to Jigawa purposely to wrestle power from the ANPP government.
In the late 2007, Lamido clinched the governorship candidacy of the PDP and emerged as the governor on May 29, 2007.
The source also claimed that Oyinlola, as an ally of Obasanjo, would work on the political arrangement while Amaechi is expected to use his influence as the Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, to sell the joint candidacy to the party’s governors.