Jonathan Meets Abdulsalami, Mbeki, Says Nigeria’s Stability is Primary
President Goodluck Jonathan, Sunday, met behind closed-doors with a former Head of State, Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar (rtd.), and a former South African President, Thabo Mbeki. This came as the Presidency has said that the 2015 general election is way beyond the two major contenders of President Jonathan and General Mohammed Buhari but about the stability of the country. The meeting was held inside the President’s official residence in Aso Rock, Abuja. None of them spoke with journalists at the end of the parley. The meeting however was not unconnected with preparations for the forthcoming general elections slated for March 28 and April 11.
It will be recalled that Abubakar is the chairman of the National Peace Committee for 2015 General Elections. The former military leader had on Saturday met with the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, over the elections. Others who attended the Saturday meeting were the service chiefs including the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Vice Marshal Alex Badeh; the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Suleiman Abba, and leadership of the major political parties. The meeting also had in attendance the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Sa’ad Abubakar III; Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan ; Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah; former Chief of General Staff, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe; Special Adviser to the President on Inter- Party Relations, Senator Ben Obi.
Abubakar might have used the opportunity of the Sunday meeting to brief the President of the outcome of the Saturday meeting. Meanwhile, the Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, while fielding questions from newsmen yesterday said that on completion of Jonathan’s second term if re-elected, the north would have what he described as an “unequivocal” and “indisputable” opportunity to rule Nigeria for eight years. The Presidential aide who described the north as “far more advanced, in terms of politics and political leadership, than any other section of Nigeria”, added that Yoruba having had their eight years through former President Olusegun Obasanjo, were no longer causing trouble, asking “Why can we not concede this remaining four years?” Okupe said the northern region had always been the Nigeria’s political stabilising group.
According to him, “The north, since independence, has been the political stabilising group in this country. The north is far more advanced than any section of this country in terms of politics and political leadership. When MKO Abiola died and civilian politics was brought back for us to vote, the north sat down and met and decided that because of the injustice done to the Yoruba people, the Yoruba must present the next president at that time. And they called this nation to accept and buy into a national consensus to patronise Yoruba people. And that had a salutary effect on the political stability of this country. That is the role the north has always played in the politics of Nigeria.
“The consideration and implication of the 2015 general elections for this country go beyond Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari. It is beyond both of them. It is about stability of this country. And both the north and the south have always given concessionary consideration to each other. When we went for independence, the north was not ready, the south waited. “In 1958, the colonial masters had agreed to give Nigeria independence, but the north said they were not ready. Nnamdi Azikwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and other southern leadership conceded. They agreed and said they would wait for their brothers. So, we did not start the concession for peace just now.
“We have always tried to balance the polity and not create problems in this country. Now, Goodluck Jonathan comes from an area that, in perpetuity, has always been the strongest ally of the north. “Shehu Shagari said that, and that is why, irrespective of what is going on in the north, he knows the history and will never support the north to be against a son of the south because when things were tough, hard and there were no friends and when there were hostilities against the north, the south-south stood by the north. How conceivable would it be that the north had been ruling for so long and when there was a crisis, the north conceded to Yoruba people? “
And now, the goose that lays the golden eggs was not brought up by anybody, but by God; an act of providence. The man is doing well, and you are saying that just because they are in minority, you can chase them out. “Now that we have allowed Yoruba to rule, Yoruba have kept quiet and they are no longer causing problem. You don’t expect any upheaval from Yoruba land anymore. Why can we not concede this remaining four years? Nobody killed Yar’Adua. For some of us, Yar’Adua was our person, but God knows best. But if this has happened, let us exercise a lot of patience, maturity and understanding. Why do we want to drag this country to a cliff because of the ambition of one man who is supported by some greedy people who don’t even represent their people?
“A country cannot be roasted or derailed purely on the ambition of one person. If Jonathan completes his next four years, the north has a chance; an unequivocal chance, an indisputable chance and an opportunity that cannot be denied to present a candidate they want who will rule the country for another eight years.
“Even if Buhari wins this election, which is impossible, he cannot do a second term. So, when the second term comes, why would other people not contest against him? He is a northerner and if he cannot run for election again, then, the thing should go back to the south. So, would the north be satisfied with only four years? These are the issues. That is why I am saying this 2015 election is beyond Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari. It is a matter of national stability.
“The north has always had partnership in the south in the south west, south-south and south-east but somehow, the north miscalculated this time around. Because they assumed wrongly that Bola Tinubu was the leader of the Yoruba race, and that if they can strike a deal with him, they have got the south-west. While doing that, they left their former allies that included General Adeyinka Adebayo, Richard Akinjide, Olunloyo and others”.