- Contenders Woo Obasanjo, Danjuma, Gusau, Others for Buhari’s Job.
As the race towards the 2019 presidential elections hots up, high-heeled retired Army Generals who have held commanding and strategic positions in the nation’s political life are said to be concerned over a possible consensus candidate for the Presidency.
The New Diplomat investigations reveal that this is sequel to series of meetings held between the former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar wherein the latter pleaded with the former to not only back his presidential ambition, but also to help him reach out to top power brokers and retired generals in the nation’s political power equation to solicit their support and endorsement.
Among those retired generals who are reportedly being reached out to are former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Gen. Babangida, a former Chief of Army Staff, General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma former National Security Adviser and erstwhile Minister of Defence, Gen Aliyu Gusau; former Minister of Police Affairs and erstwhile Military Governor of old Oyo State, General David Jemibewon; former Minister of Internal Affairs during the regime of General Buhari/Idiagbon and erstwhile Commander of Brigade of Guards, General Mohammadu Magoro; former Military Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar; former Chief of Staff to President Obasanjo and pioneer Director General of the defunct National Security Organization, NSO, General Abdullahi Mohammed, among others.
Sources hinted that while Atiku is trying to reach out to these retired generals and top political guns who have at various times played roles in determining who emerges President, other presidential contenders from the North who believe that sitting President Muhammadu Buhari may not run for a second term in 2019, are already jostling for various spheres of political influence. The New Diplomat investigations reveal that among those revving up their political machinery for Buhari’s job in 2019 include current Governor of Sokoto State, Malam Aminu Tambuwal; Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir el-Rufai; former Governor of Jigawa State and one-time Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alhaji Sule Lamido and Senate President Bukola Saraki.
Said an insider: ‘’Some of these political players are already working underground. They are reaching out believing that President Buhari might not run for a second term on account of possible old age and the North must complete its two terms. That is why, as we speak, people such as Saraki, El-Rufai, Tambuwal and Lamido are rearing up their heads to run for the 2019 presidency. While some want to contest under the mega party arrangement being brokered, others like Lamido believe that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is the best bet because even the All Progressives Party, APC, as of today, is heavily fictionalized. Attica is working on the mega party arrangement also because he suspects that Obasanjo and others may block him in the APC or PDP as they currently stand.’’
General Ishaiya Bamaiyi in his recent book, “Vindication of A General”, claimed that some of these generals agreed on former President Olusegun Obasanjo before he was fielded as the PDP candidate in the 1999 polls which he eventually won.
The New Diplomat learnt that one of Atiku’s greatest obstacles is Obasanjo, who has reportedly vowed never to endorse his former Vice. The two had fallen out while Atiku was Vice President during the eight-year tenure of President Obasanjo. All efforts at mending fences between the two have since failed.
However, it is gathered that Atiku who met with Babangida recently at the latter’s Minna Hilltop country home had pleaded with IBB to endorse him and also help him reach out to the “king maker” generals, especially Obasanjo.
Despite Atiku’s reach-out to the general’s investigations revealed that many of them may back Buhari for a second time, should the president decide to run again for another term.
Olusegun Mathew Okikiola Aremu Obasanjo, GCFR was President of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007. A Nigerian of Yoruba descent, Obasanjo was a career soldier before serving twice as his nation’s head of state. He served as a military ruler from 13 February 1976 to 1 October 1979, and as a democratically elected president from 29 May 1999 to 29 May 2007. From July 2004 to January 2006, Obasanjo also served as Chairperson of the African Union.
Olusegun is a member of the Africa Progress Panel (APP), a group of ten distinguished individuals who advocate at the highest levels of equitable and sustainable development in Africa. As a Panel Member he facilitates coalition building to leverage and broker knowledge, and convenes decision-makers to influence policy for lasting change in Africa.
His current home is Abeokuta, the capital city of Ogun State, where he is a nobleman as the holder of the chieftaincy titles of the Balogun of the Owu lineage and the Ekerin Balogun of the Egba clan of Yorubaland.
Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma GCON FSS psc (Rtd) is a Jukun soldier, politician and multi-millionaire businessman and philanthropist. He was Nigerian Army Chief of Army Staff from July 1975 to October 1979 during the Murtala Mohammed regime in which he wielded enormous powers. He was also Minister of Defence under Obasanjo. He is chairman of South Atlantic Petroleum, SAPETRO.
Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida also known as IBB, was President of Nigeria under military rule. He ruled Nigeria from 27 August 1985, when he overthrew Major General Muhammadu Buhari in a coup, until he “stepped aside” on 27 August 1993, having annulled the elections held on 12 June that year in which the Late Bashorun M.K.O Abiola was acclaimed winner. General Babangida was a key player in most of the military coups in Nigeria (July 1966, February 1976, December 1983, August 1985, December 1985 and April 1990). There was evidence of severe human rights abuses during his regime.
David Medaiyese Jemibewon served as military governor of the now defunct Western State from August 1975 to March 1976 during the military regime of General Murtala Muhammed, and of Oyo State after it had been created from the old Western State from March 1976 to July 1978 during the military regime of General Olusegun Obasanjo. He was at various times General officer Commanding the highly strategic 1st Infantry Division of the Nigerian Army, Adjunctant General of the Nigerian Army, Director-General of Defence Industries Corporation, amongst others. He also holds degrees in Law from the university of Lagos. He also distinguished himself while in the Military as the first serving military Officer to ever write a book while still in service. The book, entitled, A Combatant in Government , attracted several commentaries. He retired voluntarily from the Nigerian Army thirty five years ago. He was later appointed Minister of Police Affairs in the cabinet of President Olusegun Obasanjo after the return to democracy in 1999. He is author of several books including, A combatant in Government, Military, Law and Society and The Nigerian Police in Transition: Issues, Problems and Prospects
Aliyu Mohammed Gusau served in many senior level security, defence, and military roles. He was most recently Minister of Defence, served as National Security Adviser to 2 different presidents, Chief of Army Staff, headed different intelligence agencies, and was Commandant of the Nigerian Defence Academy. Currently, there is a Gusau Institute, a world-class seminar and conference venue based in Kaduna, Nigeria. The institute offers a venue where delegates from across the globe meet to discuss various topics such as human security and governance. These seminars and conferences can only be attended by invitation and is aimed specifically at global leaders that are able to contribute to the debate and provide valuable solutions.
Abdulsalami Abubakar was military President of Nigeria from 9 June 1998 until 29 May 1999. He succeeded Sani Abacha upon Abacha’s death. It was during Abubakar’s leadership that Nigeria adopted its new constitution on 5 May 1999, which provided for multi-party elections. Abubakar transferred power to the president-elect, Olusegun Obasanjo, on 29 May 1999. Following his short rule, Abubakar received multiple honours, including the Rainbow/Push Coalition Peace Prize, the Economic Community of West African States International Gold Medal, and the Star Award of Ghana. In 2000, former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed him to try to shore up the UN Mission, MONUC, to the Congo-Kinshasa.
Mohammed Magoro was twice a government minister, under Generals Obasanjo and Buhari. In the April 2011 elections ,he was elected Senator for the Kebbi South. He was appointed Federal Commissioner of Transport during the military administration of General Olusegun Obasanjo in 1978. He became Minister for Internal Affairs under Major General Muhammadu Buhari, the military ruler from January 1984 to August 1985. He was also a member of the Supreme Military Council. As Minister for Internal Affairs, in May 1985 he oversaw the exodus of close to a million foreign nationals from Nigeria.