In spite of rapprochement by ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, Northern leaders are wary of his 2015 permutations to appease the region against President Goodluck Jonathan.
Northern leaders are weighing options on the need to weather the storm alone instead of allowing Obasanjo to have his way for the third time.
The former President was instrumental to the imposition of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua in 2007 and the incumbent President in 2011 to frustrate the North’s desire for two terms in office.
But following sharp disagreements with President Jonathan, the ex-President is alleged to be leading a discreet campaign to deny Jonathan a second term ticket in 2015.
Obasanjo’s latest move is seen as a step to “appease” the North for the alleged “political errors” in 2007 and 2011.
The spokesman for the former President, Mallam Garbadeen Mohammed, however, said the recent shuttles of his principal to some leaders in the North and in the East had nothing to do with 2015.
Investigation by our correspondent showed that Northern leaders are still not favourably disposed to realigning with Obasanjo in their 2015 agenda.
It was learnt that some members of the National Assembly from the North also do not support a fresh romance with Obasanjo by the region.
A top member of Arewa Consultative Forum, who spoke with select newsmen in Abuja, said: “Going by what the North has gone through in the past few years, it will be a political suicide to entrust our political destiny in Obasanjo’s hands in 2015.
“Obasanjo has a track record of those he had moved against because they disagreed with him. They include past Senate presidents, and his VP, Abubakar Atiku. Even at a critical moment, he made some remarks against the late President Umaru Yar’Adua when the latter was sick.
“The North does not trust him because he has a history of imposing his views on people. During the choice of who succeeded him, he picked Yar’Adua despite opposition from his (Yar’ Adua’s) constituency (the North).
“Obasanjo insisted it must be Yar’Adua, who his kinsmen felt was too ill to face the rigors of office. Now, the North detests Obasanjo because they feel he deliberately planted a southerner, Goodluck Jonathan as VP, who eventually threw spanner in the works.
“The North feels sticking out their neck will be a big gamble because if the South-South, South-East, and the South-West where Obasanjo is abhorred should throw their weight behind Jonathan, they (North) would be left in the lurch.
Responding to a question, the source added: “Another problem Obasanjo has with the North is his prescription of Odi massacre for Maiduguri, which is the Boko Haram’s haven. The Northerners are not happy about this option and a former Minister of Communications, Alhaji Shettima Ali Monguno, said so recently.
“Obasanjo had moved against Atiku, blocked his ambition when Atiku ran against Jonathan during the PDP primaries. He had also fought another Northerner, ex-House of Representatives Speaker Umar Ghali Na’Aba and removed a former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Audu Ogbeh.
“Obasanjo met with Kebbi, Kano , Sokoto, Katsina state governors after his mosque fund raiser in Abeokuta. He was unable to sell his project. Sule Lamido who he had favored to step in did not attend the event.
“The South-East does not trust him because he was one of those who masterminded the removal of the chairmanship of PDP from the South-East.”
A former presidential aspirant in the North said: “We are weighing options on 2015 but I am sure by now all our leaders, including Northern governors, know where we are going. We won’t play a second fiddle again. The ACF has submitted a roadmap to the Northern Governors Forum to serve as a guide.
“I can just say that this time around, no one will dictate to us.”
A reliable source at the National Secretariat, who spoke in confidence, said: “His move against Jonathan will fail. The move is symptomatic of his penchant to reject anything that does not serve his interest. Obasanjo is a man who likes to play god on any national issue because of his erroneous belief that he has played more prominent roles than anybody in Nigeria.
“For this, he believes that he has monopoly of knowledge. He has this false sense of acceptability nationwide. It is clear Obasanjo has no clear electoral value; he has no interest of the North or South-East at heart but just vendetta.
“The PDP lost in his ward but he still believes he has the South-West in his grip. His daughter failed in her return bid. Most of those who worked with him as individuals or group lived to regret it, so no one trusts him. Even a former Minister of Aviation, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, who is defending the former President, once disagreed openly with him.
“The South-East does not see him as an ally, he has shortchanged them several times. Ask what happened to the chairmanship of PDP that was for Igbo.”
But speaking with our correspondent, the spokesman for the former President, Mallam Garbadeen Mohammed, said the recent shuttles of his principal to some Northern and Eastern states have nothing to do with 2015.
Mohammed said: “There is no disagreement between President Goodluck Jonathan and ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo. To the best of my knowledge, their relationship is very, very cordial. Whatever you are reading about any disagreement, it is a creation of people in the media.
“The launch of the mosque project at the Obasanjo Presidential Library was purely a spiritual development, there was nothing political about it. I was in Abeokuta , there was no political undertone to it. It is a project towards the development of unity and religious harmony in the country.
“There were people that are not Muslims at the launch of the mosque. As a matter of fact, the Kaduna State Government even donated N20million to the project.”
On the 2015 politics, Mohammed added: “I have no authority whatsoever on 2015 on what is going to happen, I have no authority to say anything.”
Asked why Obasanjo had been embarking on political shuttles, the spokesman said: “Since His Excellency, ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, left office, he has been in demand in the country and outside to play the role of a statesman. The reality is that people appreciate him at home and abroad, those shuttles were not political at all.”