From The Archives
By Ike Abonyi
This Day, January 29, 2007
In a masterstroke aimed at seeing him through at the April 21 presidential poll, former Head of State and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) presidential flag-bearer, Major General Muham-madu Buhari (rtd), has concluded extensive consultations with various stakeholders that may lead to dropping his running mate and party national chairman, Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke.
THISDAY gathered that even with the weekend denial by the Senate President Ken Nnamani that he was not running with Buhari, there are moves to persuade him to contest with the ANPP candidate.
This move, according to sources, is being spearheaded by former military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, said to be collaborating with Buhari in the new arrangement.
Nnamani, sources confirm, continues to appear in the equation based on "the calculation that he is the most respected politician from the South East in the current dispensation."
It was also gathered that Buhari has resisted pressure from the South-South that he should pick from the zone to counter the PDP choice of Governor Goodluck Jon-athan of Bayelsa State.
According to an official of the Buhari Campaign organisation, the ANPP candidate "has also left the position of running mate for Babangida to fill, believing that such will really commit him to the project since he has visibly been sidelined by the ruling PDP."
Aside Babangida, Buhari is also known to have consulted widely across the country and is said to have been getting some encouraging support from the people.
Other names featuring in the list for Buhari if Nnamani project with Babangida fails include chief Mike Ahamba (SAN) and former Governor Abia State, Dr. Ogbonaya Onu.
THISDAY checks reveal that ANPP had from the outset gave the Independent National Electoral commission (INEC) indication of a possible change of their running mate as the choice of the national Chairman was merely a stop-gap measure.
The Electoral Act 2006 allows such change so long as it occurs before the mandatory date of February 13, the last day for such changes.
THISDAY learnt that Buhari emergence as the flag bearer of the ANPP in December enjoyed the support of most northern politicians.
Babangida was said to have played a prominent role in convincing top candidates like Governor of Zamfara, Ahmed Sani Yarima, his Yobe counterpart, Bukar Ibrahim and former defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) Presidential candidate, Alhaji Bashir Tofa to step down for Buhari who has a better chance at the presidential election.