Monday, 3 February 2014

2015: Drop Sambo As Running Mate Or Risk Losing Northern Support – PDP Stakeholders Tell Jonathan

Jonathan and SamboThe uncertainty surrounding the political future of Vice President Namadi Sambo has refused to go away as pressure from President Goodluck Jonathan’s associates continue to mount over the former Kaduna governor’s unsuitability as a running mate material in the 2015 presidential elections.
Lately, Sambo has been under intense pressure from certain interest groups within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), particularly from his North-west geopolitical zone, over his suitability to continue with President Jonathan beyond 2015.
The heat on Sambo increased following the recent gale of defections from PDP to the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the North-West zone and his home state in particular, a move those against his choice as Jonathan’s possible running mate in 2015 see as an indication of his loss of political clout in the region.
To drive home their argument, foot-soldiers of the president in the 2011 presidential election under the aegis of the Northern PDP Stakeholders, have threatened to dump PDP and work for the presidential candidate of the APC if all their entreaties to Jonathan to drop Sambo for another candidate they consider a “core northerner” fails.
They claimed that it would be risky for the PDP to ignore the clamour for Sambo’s replacement.
In a statement they issued in Kaduna yesterday, which was signed by Alhaji Shehu Aboki Maishanu, the group said it was working with powerful northern politicians and the intelligentsia, “who are not happy with the leadership style of the vice president”.
The anti-Sambo group alleged that he lacked leadership and political skills to mobilize the North’s support for Jonathan in the 2015 election, should he decide to contest.
“The ongoing moves to bring back some aggrieved governors elected on the platform of the PDP who left the party will not work if President Jonathan insists on contesting the presidency with Sambo in 2015. Sambo is not representing the North very well and northerners are not happy with him; if all the outstanding issues concerning the status of the vice president are not tackled the removal of Bamanga Tukur as PDP chairman will not change anything in the fortunes of the party in the North”, the statement read.
The group further alleged that the vice president was sidelining experienced, qualified and dedicated party members in the North when it comes to political appointments, claiming that he was only interested in recommending and influencing the appointments of his friends and cronies into political offices instead of the larger interest of the North.
“The recent defection of some members of the PDP to the opposition APC in Kaduna, the home state of the vice president, is an indication that Sambo cannot mobilise support for the PDP in the North. He is surrounded by political neophytes mainly from Kaduna State, people who cannot win elections even in their polling units. As the highest ranking political office holder in the North, the vice president is yet to prove that he is in charge of the north politically.
“Even though many have not been forthcoming on the issue, we believe that, in the present Nigeria, the president and the vice president should not come from the same zone; while we accept that the vice president was born in the North, President Jonathan needs a core northerner to balance the political equation in the country.
“Stakeholders of the PDP in the north are disenchanted with the leadership style of the vice president and President Jonathan should not be deceived that all is well for him to run with Sambo in 2015”, the statement added.
Why they are after me – Sambo
In reaction to the latest onslaught against him, Sambo said he had done nothing to warrant being dropped from the 2015 race just as he described those seeking his replacement as “certain interests with some defeated desires”.
Speaking through his media aide, Umar Sani, Sambo, however, stressed that his continuation in office as vice-president beyond 2015 depended on Jonathan.
“The issues around the noise being made about the vice president’s possible replacement or not are not for us to discuss on the pages of newspapers because the Presidency has always said it that the two leaders will run together.
“But then, you can understand why such issues come up always; people want to be relevant politically; most of those sponsoring the media attacks are on their final laps in politics, so they want to be fixed, but in the wrong way”, Sani said.

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