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A Detailed Account of How Goodluck Jonathan emerged as Yar’adua's Running Mate

This is a Detailed Account of how Goodluck Jonathan emerged as Yar’adua’s Running Mate in 2006 as revealed in the biography of Dr Ahmadu Ali – the former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Dr Ali is a retired Army Colonel, three-time Senator, medical doctor, former Federal Commissioner of Education in the seventies and PDP National Chairman between 2005 and 2007, also made revelations on several issues, including how Jonathan preferred being Governor of Bayelsa State to being Vice President of Nigeria when he (Jonathan) was offered the job.

According to Ali, in his authorised biography that will be launched in Abuja on Thursday to mark his 82nd birthday, the trio of himself, President Olusegun Obasanjo and Chief Tony Anenih decided on Jonathan to checkmate the PDP Governors who were scheming to nominate another person for Yar’Adua, after they had rejected the choice of the then Rivers State Governor, Dr Peter Odili.

Titled, The many colours of a rainbow: A biography of Senator Amadu Adah Ali” and written by Gideon S. Tseja.

In the biography, the former PDP Chairman also provided details of why Yar’Adua got the nod to succeed Obasanjo in 2007.

“Amongst all the PDP governors who wanted to contest for president, he (Yar’Adua) was the only one on whom the EFCC could not find any evidence of corruption or misappropriation of funds. He left over N6 billion for his successor in the state coffers while other governors left virtually nothing. He was reluctant to contest for president.”

In his preface dated August 22, 2016, that the effort took more than 30 years, Ali recalled saying;

“I started jotting down episodes in the merging story of my life since 1983 when the military coup d’etat of that year terminated the life of the civilian regime and the senators, amongst whom I was one, were unceremoniously booted out of office.”

With Ali as PDP Chairman in 2006, the book captures what followed after the nomination of Yar’Adua as the party’s presidential flag-bearer.

According to Ali’s account, Yar’Adua was summoned to the basement of Eagle Square where Obasanjo, Ali and Anenih were waiting. This was what followed, going by the recollections in the book:
Even before the final results of the primaries were tallied, it was clear to the party leaders that Yar’Adua was going to win hands down.

They—President Obasanjo, Chairman, BOT, Chief Anenih and the National Chairman, Dr Amadu Ali—decided to shift their attention to the nomination of a running mate on the PDP ticket, the man who would be vice president if Yar’Adua won the presidency.

“Congratulations”, the chairman began unceremoniously. “It is a well-deserved victory, and the party will give you all the support you need to win the presidential election.” He (Ali) paused for a moment as the president and the others also gave Yar’Adua their congratulations.

“Peter Odili will be your running mate. He came third in our search for a presidential candidate.

Governor Ahmed Makarfi came second in our score. For equity, the running mate had to come from the south.”

There was silence as everybody waited for Yar’Adua to react. Finally, looking away and avoiding the eyes of the chairman, he mumbled with his characteristic shy demeanour,

“Thank you sir, but I would request…”

You request what? The party produced you and the party will also produce the VP!” thundered the chairman.

Let us try to give him time”, Obasanjo tried to intervene.

“We don’t have time sir. We need to move fast. You can never tell what mischief is being planned right now. Did you see any of the governors towards the end of the election at the Square?”

It was true that the governors had mysteriously disappeared when Yar’Adua’s victory became a certainty.

He (Ali) turned to Yar’Adua and continued his instructions to him. “Go and write your acceptance speech. Say something like this: ‘I would like to inform you that after due consideration and consultation with the party, I have selected Peter Odili, the executive governor of Rivers State, to run with me on the same ticket’. I want a copy of the speech and make sure Peter Odili’s name is on it!”

Yar’Adua went away and came back with the speech as directed indicating that Peter Odili would be his running mate, but it was clear that he was not happy. Pressure was brought to bear on the president to intervene and allow Yar’Adua to choose a VP he felt he could work with.

“Amadu”, said Chief Obasanjo, “don’t be too harsh on the young man. Let’s give him twenty four hours…”

“Twenty four hours! But…” the chairman was going to argue.

“I know what you mean”, Obasanjo cut him off, “but let us give him twenty four hours.”

It had been a long day. Tired and hungry the chairman went home dreaming of eating something, taking a long drink and flipping into bed to catch some rest. This was about 1.00PM on the day of the convention.

Meanwhile, unknown to the president, PDP governors were holding a secret meeting of their own to influence the choice of VP candidate.

Clearly, they were not in favour of Peter Odili which the party leadership was contemplating.

Even before Ali could digest this information (provided by his wife), he got a frantic call from Obasanjo. He, too, had got some information about the governors’ plot.

“Amadu, come quick!”

“But you know we have just…”

“Come, please and don’t argue. Quick, quick!”
The dream about taking some rest evaporated as Ali doubled back to meet the president at the Aso Rock Villa.

He (Obasanjo) told the Senator about the governors’ meeting. “We must act quickly or the governors will hijack this thing. Anenih is on his way and I have already summoned Yar’Adua. If he hasn’t thought of a running mate, then we must impose one on him.”

This had been the senator’s position exactly, all along.

As soon as Yar’Adua arrived, the president told him without any preamble, “Now, name your running mate, now, now. We don’t have twenty four hours.”

“Goodluck Jonathan,” he said without hesitation. He had obviously thought about it or tutored to mention the name. Immediately, Jonathan was sent for.

When Jonathan arrived a little later, the president said, “We have summoned you here to offer to you the position of Vice President. What do you think?’

Jonathan was stunned. He was obviously not expecting this and had not remotely considered the possibility. He opened his mouth as if to say something but nothing came out.

The president seeing his discomfiture added helpfully, “This decision was taken after a long process. We just want to know what your opinion is.”

Finally, Jonathan found voice, although he was disconcerted by this development.

“Well”, he began tentatively, “If I had a choice, I would prefer to remain as governor. I know the job. I know where I stopped. But this VP…I don’t know what it entails.” After a look of disapproval from the chairman and the president, he added quickly, “but if you want me to serve in that position, I accept.”

YarAdua turned to Jonathan and asked him, “Would you like to be my running mate?”
“Yes sir.”

President Obasanjo turned to the Chairman and said, “Amadu, take him to my parlour. The television crew are on their way for a press conference. You and Chief Anenih should stand on either side of him and let him announce the name of his running mate.”

The governors were still at their meeting scheming how to influence the choice of vice president when Yar’Adua announced his running mate to the public in the foyer of the presidential villa. The announcement was carried Live on NTA and other networks. This put paid to the PDP governors’ plot to nominate a vice presidential candidate.

In a chat with THISDAY, Ali said this would be the first part of his story as he intends to write another one by himself. But the current book also details his life and career. Some of the issues dealt with in the book include the 1966 and 1975 military coups, Ali’s role in the creation of Kogi State, the ‘Ali Must Go’ saga, the General Sani Abacha coup in November 1993 at a period he was in the Senate, Obasanjo’s ‘third term’ bid and the defeat of Jonathan at the 2015 presidential election.

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Sacked PHCN Staff Electrocuted while doing illegal Connection

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Sacked PHCN Staff Electrocuted while doing illegal Connection

Sacked PHCN Staff Electrocuted while doing illegal Connection

A former staff of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company BEDC, in Agbor, Delta State, who was dismissed in 2009, was, on Tuesday, electrocuted in Agbor.

According to reports, the deceased, identified as Monday Ebor, was illegally working on high tension lines when electricity was restored.

Eboh who was wanted by BEDC for his illegal activities which destroyed many transformers, was said to be illegally diverting lines from one feeder to another when power was restored.

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I Have no Candidate for 2019 Elections : Obasanjo

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Obasanjo denies attending PDP convention committee inauguration

I Have no Candidate for 2019 Elections : Obasanjo

Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo has claimed that he has no candidate for any political office in the 2019 general elections.

The outspoken politician made the statement while speaking to a group of political group paid him a visit at his home in Abeokuta yesterday February 7th, Obasanjo said he would remain an elder statesman with a passion for a greater Nigeria.

According to Obasanjo, his statement on President Muhammadu Buhari was not meant to disrespect the office of the president or embarrass him, but rather to articulate his views about the situation in the country and offer his candid advice. In his words;

‘In the year 2015, I said I would no longer participate in partisan politics. And I still stand by my decision.

Everybody, irrespective of his or her political affiliation is free to come here for advice. I will gladly do that.

I have no candidate, whatsoever, for any political office. I just believe that things must be done differently in Nigeria to get a different result.

If you study our transitions since the colonial era, they have all taken place without taking the people of the grassroots into consideration. So, CNM is about the people at the grassroots.

It is a socio-economic movement where youth and women, especially, will be given the opportunity to appreciate their interests and power.

Unlike before, I believe we must put the horse before the cart. If the system and the platform sync, I believe Nigeria will get there. And like I said, the moment the coalition gets involved in candidate sponsoring or participates in partisan politics, I will opt out of it.”he said.

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IBB Calls for Buhari to be Voted Out in 2019 [Read Full Statement]

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IBB Calls for Buhari to be Voted Out in 2019 [Read Full Statement]

IBB Calls for Buhari to be Voted Out in 2019 [Read Full Statement]

Nigeria’s former military head of state, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, has called for President Muhammadu Buhari to be Voted out of office in 2019.

IBB, stressed that the current Government has failed Nigerians and lacks what it takes to move the country in the right direction.

This was contained in a press statement released on Sunday by his spokesman, Kassim Afegbua.

Babangida said it was time to sacrifice “personal ambition” for “national interest” and added that he will support a fresh breed of leadership in the 2019 elections.

IBB’s statement comes a week after former president, Olusegun Obasanjo asked Buhari not to seek re-election.

READ THE FULL STATEMENT BELOW.

In the past few months and weeks, I have played host to many concerned Nigerians who have continued to express legitimate and patriotic worry about the state of affairs in the country. Some of them have continued to agonize about the turn of events and expressly worried why we have not gotten our leadership compass right as a country with so much potential and opportunity for all.

Some, out of frustration, have elected to interrogate the leadership question and wondered aloud why it has taken this long from independence till date to discover the right model on account of our peculiarities.

At 57, we are still a nation in search of the right leadership to contend with the dynamics of a 21st century Nigeria. Having been privileged to preside over this great country, interacted with all categories of persons, dissected all shades of opinions, understudied different ethnic groupings; I can rightfully conclude that our strength lies in our diversity. But exploring and exploiting that diversity as a huge potential has remained a hard nut to crack, not because we have not made efforts, but building a consensus on any national issue often has to go through the incinerator of those diverse ethnic configurations. Opinions in Nigeria are not limited to the borders of the political elite; in fact, every Nigerian no matter how young or old, has an opinion on any national issue. And it is the function of discerning leadership to understand these elemental undercurrents in the discharge of state responsibilities.

WHERE WE ARE.
There is no gainsaying the fact that Nigeria is at a major crossroads at this moment in its history; the choices we are going to make as a nation regarding the leadership question of this country and the vision for our political, economic and religious future will be largely determined by the nature or kind of change that we pursue, the kind of change that we need and the kind of change that we get. A lot depends on our roles both as followers and leaders in our political undertakings.

As we proceed to find the right thesis that would resolve the leadership question, we must bear in mind a formula that could engender national development and the undiluted commitment of our leaders to a resurgence of the moral and ethical foundations that brought us to where we are as a pluralistic and multi-ethnic society. Nigeria, before now, has been on the one hand our dear native land, where tribes and tongues may differ but in brotherhood we stand, and on the other hand a nation that continues to struggle with itself and in every way stumbling and willful in its quest to become a modern state, starting from the first republic till date.

With our huge investments in the African emancipation movements and the various contributions that were made by our leadership to extricate South Africa from colonial grip, Nigeria became the giant of Africa during that period. But having gone through leadership failures, we no longer possess the sobriety to claim that status. And we all are guilty. We have experimented with Parliamentary and Presidential systems of government amid military interregnum at various times of our national history.

We have made some progress, but not good enough to situate us on the pedestal we so desirously crave for. It is little wonder therefore that we need to deliberately provoke systems and models that will put paid to this recycling leadership experimentation to embrace new generational leadership evolution with the essential attributes of responsive, responsible and proactive leadership configuration to confront the several challenges that we presently face. In 2019 and beyond, we should come to a national consensus that we need new breed leadership with requisite capacity to manage our diversities and jump-start a process of launching the country on the super highway of technology-driven leadership in line with the dynamics of modern governance.

It is short of saying enough of this analogue system. Let’s give way for digital leadership orientation with all the trappings of consultative, constructive, communicative, interactive and utility-driven approach where everyone has a role to play in the process of enthroning accountability and transparency in governance. I am particularly enamored that Nigerians are becoming more and more conscious of their rights; and their ability to speak truth to power and interrogate those elected to represent them without fear of arrest and harassment.

These are part of the ennobling principles of representative democracy. As citizens in a democracy, it is our civic responsibility to demand accountability and transparency. Our elected leaders owe us that simple but remarkable accountability creed. Whenever we criticize them, it is not that we do not like their guts; it is just that as stakeholders in the political economy of the country, we also carry certain responsibilities.

In the past few months also, I have taken time to reflect on a number of issues plaguing the country. I get frightened by their dimensions. I get worried by their colourations. I get perplexed by their gory themes. From Southern Kaduna to Taraba state, from Benue state to Rivers, from Edo state to Zamfara, it has been a theatre of blood with cake of crimson. In Dansadau in Zamfara state recently, North-West of Nigeria, over 200 souls were wasted for no justifiable reason. The pogrom in Benue state has left me wondering if truly this is the same country some of us fought to keep together. I am alarmed by the amount of blood-letting across the land. Nigeria is now being described as a land where blood flows like river, where tears have refused to dry up. Almost on a daily basis, we are both mourning and grieving, and often times left helpless by the sophistication of crimes. The Boko Haram challenge has remained unabated even though there has been commendable effort by government to maximally downgrade them.

I will professionally advise that the battle be taken to the inner fortress of Sambisa Forest rather than responding to the insurgents’ ambushes from time to time.

THINKING ALOUD.

In the fullness of our present realities, we need to cooperate with President Muhammadu Buhari to complete his term of office on May 29th, 2019 and collectively prepare the way for new generation leaders to assume the mantle of leadership of the country. While offering this advice, I speak as a stakeholder, former president, concerned Nigerian and a patriot who desires to see new paradigms in our shared commitment to get this country running. While saying this also, I do not intend to deny President Buhari his inalienable right to vote and be voted for, but there comes a time in the life of a nation, when personal ambition should not override national interest.

This is the time for us to reinvent the will and tap into the resourcefulness of the younger generation, stimulate their entrepreneurial initiatives and provoke a conduce environment to grow national economy both at the micro and macro levels.

Contemporary leadership has to be proactive and not reactive. It must factor in citizens’ participation. Its language of discourse must be persuasive not agitated and abusive. It must give room for confidence building. It must build consensus and form aggregate opinion on any issue to reflect the wishes of the people across the country. It must gauge the mood of the country at every point in time in order to send the right message. It must share in their aspirations and give them cause to have confidence in the system. Modern leadership is not just about “fighting” corruption, it is about plugging the leakages and building systems that will militate against corruption. Accountability in leadership should flow from copious examples. It goes beyond mere sloganeering.

My support for a new breed leadership derives from the understanding that it will show a marked departure from recycled leadership to creating new paradigms that will breathe fresh air into our present polluted leadership actuality. My intervention in the governance process of Nigeria wasn’t an accident of history. Even as a military government, we had a clear-cut policy agenda on what we needed to achieve. We recruited some of the best brains and introduced policies that remain some of the best in our effort to re-engineer our polity and nation.

We saw the future of Nigeria but lack of continuity in government and of policies killed some of our intentions and initiatives. Even though we did not provide answers to all the developmental challenges that confronted us as at that time, we were not short of taking decisions whenever the need arose.

GROWING INSECURITY ON OUR HANDS.
The unchecked activities of the herdsmen have continued to raise doubt on the capacity of this government to handle with dispatch, security concerns that continue to threaten our dear nation; suicide bombings, kidnappings, armed banditry, ethnic clashes and other divisive tendencies. We need to bring different actors to the roundtable.

Government must generate platform to interact and dialogue on the issues with a view to finding permanent solutions to the crises. The festering nature of this crisis is an inelegant testimony to the sharp divisions and polarizations that exist across the country. For example, this is not the first time herdsmen engage in pastoral nomadism but the anger in the land is suggestive of the absence of mutual love and togetherness that once defined our nationality. We must collectively rise up to the occasion and do something urgently to arrest this drift.
If left unchecked, it portends danger to our collective existence as one nation bound by common destiny; and may snowball into another internecine warfare that would not be good for nation-building. We have to reorient the minds of the herdsmen or gun-men to embrace ranching as a new and modern way to herd cattle. We also need to expand the capacity of the Nigeria Police, the Nigeria Army, the Navy and Air Force to provide the necessary security for all. We need to catch up with modern sophistication in crime detection and crime fighting.

Due to the peculiarity of our country, we must begin community policing to close the gaps that presently exist in our policing system. We cannot continue to use old methods and expect new results. We just have to constructively engage the people from time to time through platforms that would help them ventilate their opinions and viewpoints.

THE CHANGE MANTRA
When the ruling party campaigned with the change mantra, I had thought they would device new methods, provoke new initiatives and proffer new ways to addressing some of our developmental problems. By now, in line with her manifesto, one would have thought that the APC will give fillip to the idea of devolution of powers and tinker with processes that would strengthen and reform the various sectors of the economy.
Like I did state in my previous statement late last year, devolution of power or restructuring is an idea whose time has come if we must be honest with ourselves. We need to critically address the issue and take informed positions based on the expectations of the people on how to make the union work better.

Political parties should not exploit this as a decoy to woo voters because election time is here. We need to begin the process of restructuring both in the letter and spirit of it. For example, I still cannot reconcile why my state government would not be allowed to fix the Minna-Suleja road, simply because it is called Federal Government road, or why state governments cannot run their own policing system to support the Federal Police. We are still experiencing huge infrastructural deficit across the country and one had thought the APC-led Federal Government would behave differently from their counterparts in previous administrations. I am hesitant to ask; where is the promised change?

LOOKING AHEAD
At this point of our national history, we must take some rather useful decisions that would lead to real development and promote peaceful co-existence among all the nationalities. We must be unanimous in what we desire for our country; new generation leadership, result-driven leadership, sound political foundation, demonetization of our politics, enhanced internal democracy, elimination of impunity in our politics, inclusiveness in decision-making, and promotion of citizens’ participation in our democratic process.

The search for that new breed leadership must start now as we prepare for 2019 election. I get worried when politicians visit to inform me about their aspirations and what you hear in terms of budgetary allocations for electoral contest does not cover voters’ education but very ridiculous sub-heads.

A typical aspirant in Nigeria draws up budget to cover INEC, Police, Army and men and officers of the Civil Defense, instead of talking of voters’ education, mobilization and sensitization. Even where benchmarks are set for electoral expenditure, monitoring and compliance are always difficult to adhere to. We truly need to reform the political system. And we must deliberately get fresh hands involved for improved participation. We need new ways and new approaches in our political order. We need a national rebirth. We need a rebranded Nigeria and rebranded politics. It is not so much for the people, but for the institutions that are put in place to promote our political engagements. We must strengthen the one man one vote mantra.

It is often ridiculous for me when people use smaller countries in our West Africa sub-region as handy references of how democracy should be. It beggars our giant of Africa status. The next election in 2019 therefore presents us a unique opportunity to reinvent the will and provoke fresh leadership that would immediately begin the process of healing the wounds in the land and ensuring that the wishes and aspirations of the people are realized in building and sustaining national cohesion and consensus.

I pray the Almighty Allah grant us the gift of good life to witness that glorious dawn in 2019. Amen. I have not written an open letter to the President, I have just shared my thoughts with fellow compatriots on the need to enthrone younger blood into the mainstream of our political leadership starting from 2019.

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