The Presidency on Sunday said prominent northern leaders, including Alhaji Adamu Ciroma and a former military dictator, Ibrahim Babangida, could not affect the chances of President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 general elections if he decided to contest.
Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Mr. Ahmed Gulak, said this in an interview with our correspondent.
Gulak was responding to a media report that northern politicians had set up a committee whose membership included Ciroma and Babangida to speed up the move by the seven aggrieved Peoples Democratic Party governors to join the opposition All Progressive Congress.
He said it was on record that the President won the 2011 presidential election without the support of the named northern politicians.
The presidential aide said the latest move, if true, could not therefore affect Jonathan’s chances in the 2015 election.
“I am not aware of the setting up of such a committee. What I can tell you however is that if you recall, those people whose names you just mentioned did not support President Jonathan in 2011 and that did not stop him from winning. So this latest move too cannot stop him if he decided to contest in 2015,” he said.
Gulak denied the claim by Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State that the Presidency had bribed 400 northerners to support Jonathan in 2015.
Challenging the governor to mention the politicians that were bribed, the presidential aide insisted that Jonathan was not used to bribing people for whatever reason.
“What I can simply say is that Mr. President is not used to bribing people. We challenge Aliyu to name the people that were bribed,” he said.
Aliyu, on Saturday in Minna at the 25th anniversary celebration of the enthronement of the Emir of Minna, alleged that about 400 prominent Northerners had been bribed to betray the region by supporting Jonathan in the 2015 election.
He added that those who collected the money would be exposed “as soon as we lay our hands on the list of the people involved.”
He said, “We are looking for that list so that we will tell the people of the region that these are the people that want to betray them.
“We hear the rumour of some people who say that they have the list of 400 prominent Northerners that they are going to settle and that they are sure if they settle 400 everything will be okay in 2015.”
The governors said the North was not afraid of 2015 election, adding that it would be a game of numbers.
“No matter what happens by 2015, we (northerners) should not be afraid because politics is a game of number. Through the ballot box we can always determine who becomes our leader. Do not be afraid, let there be 200 candidates, God will allow only one to emerge,” he said.
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