Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Why Jonathan Won't Sign Pact With Ciroma Group

Abuja — President Goodluck Jonathan has so far refrained frm signing any pact with the Alhaji Adamu Ciroma-led Northern Political Leaders Forum (NPLF) because of certain demands considered as "unrealistic" that were put forward by the group, investigations have revealed.

It was learnt that following the visit by President Jonathan to Ciroma's house in Abuja in February, some leaders of the group had decided to support the president.

A list of members that would join the Jonathan campaign was actually prepared for ratification by the president. But sources said that, upon the intervention by some pro-zoning agitators, the group changed its tactics and decided to draw up some demands that would be presented to President Jonathan.

A contentious part of the demand is the quest by the NPLF to know who Jonathan would support as his successor in 2015. The group was also said to have demanded a concrete assurance that the president would not contest in 2015.

The team selected by the president to meet with the Ciroma group was said to have found it difficult and impracticable to discuss such demands with the president.

It was however gathered that when Jonathan demanded to know the level of progress of the meetings, the team members said it would be better for the president to meet with the group personally.

A source said that some members of the Ciroma team opened the lid on the said impracticable demands last week. He said: "The Ciroma group is asking the president to name his successor in 2015 and that he would guarantee their members some key ministries and parastatals. They said that once Jonathan's successor was known, they would be able to come out strongly in his support.

"But the president is not God and he cannot possibly stand up in 2011, even before the 2011 election, to declare who will or will not succeed him," the source said.

The source further said that the president, apart frm being human, is also against the culture of imposition, which the demand portends.

"The president does not own the country. He can only present himself for election and he does not want to sustain this culture of imposition that some NPLF leaders are suggesting. He believes that when the time comes, Nigerians would be asked to decide on his successor after the candidates would have presented themselves for election and gone through party primaries," the source further said.

The delay in a formal endorsement of Jonathan by the NPLF had led to a crack in its ranks last week, following the decision of some of its leaders to join a peace team campaigning for Jonathan among northern emirs, imams and political leaders.

The group led by former head of state General Abdusalami Abubakar has Dr. Shettima Mustapha, Alhaji Bamangar Tukur and Alhaji Tako Yakassai as members.

The consultations, according to sources, would be rounded off this weekend.

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