The emergence of a former Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, as the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), appears to have changed the political calculations in the northern part of Nigeria.
Sunday Vanguard learnt, last night, from very competent sources, that many of the northern political opinion leaders and groups had decided that all necessary support must be given to Buhari to win the February 14, 2015 presidential election so as to return power to them.
But the Presidency, through the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe, said Nigerians will not vote their next President on the basis of ethnicity.
One of the sources, an influential northern leader and close confidante of President Goodluck Jonathan, revealed that since Buhari’s emergence, the ‘entire North’ had adopted Buhari as its political candidate and was not afraid to stand by him to win the 2015 election.
The PDP big wig pointed out that it was shocking to see how the support base of the APC presidential candidate had evolved beyond political lines, with some radical elements threatening to deal ruthlessly with anyone who betrays Buhari in the North.
“There is a serious change in the political mood in the North since Buhari was elected as the APC candidate last week. Right now, the people do not care whether they are in APC or PDP. All they are interested in is that power must return to the North through the election of the former Head of State”, a northern governor supportive of Jonathan’s presidential bid told Sunday Vanguard, yesterday.
“What is really worrying those of us who are perceived to be pro-Jonathan’s governors or supporters is the open threat messages being made directly to our phones”.
It was learnt that some radical northern leaders have also been sending threat messages to some of their governors and leaders believed to be working for Jonathan’s victory in the 2015 poll to stop the support or be dealt with.
The governor, who spoke to Sunday Vanguard, showed two of such threat messages written in Hausa and English to him,warning him not to betray the North for the President as he did in the last presidential election.
One of the mails came from a ranking federal northern lawmaker while the other was from a man the governor described as his friend.
It was learnt that the current political mood in the North had since been relayed by the security agencies and some friendly PDP governors to Jonathan, who apparently expressed surprise over the turn of events but promised to do something urgent to swing support in his favour.
The President was said to have assured northern governors that he would fulfil the promises he made to them during his 2011 campaign, but it could not be established whether that would be before or after the next election.