Ahead of the 2015 elections, there are indications that northern leaders of the Christian faith after heavy consultation and part of a grand strategy with Muslim North have expressed their preference for the emergence of a presidential candidate from the geopolitical zone of their religious belief.
Among those contemplating fielding a northern Christian presidential candidate after the mind-bugling donation of 2.5 Billion Naira to Ahmadu Bello University Zaria by General Theophilus Danjuma is the Sultan of Sokoto, Gen. Ibrahim Babamgida, and war time Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, and former Minister of Defence himself, Lt-Gen. Theophilus Danjuma.
It was gathered that the group would prefer a Christian as a presidential candidate as part of the larger agenda of the north to ensure that the presidency returns to the zone in 2015. After which every geo-political zone in the North will lay claim to the Presidency for the now customary 8 years before power returns to the South.
As such, they are considering establishing a working relationship with any of the major political parties that will zone its presidential slot to the Middle Belt, which comprises states in the North-central and a part of the North-east.
The north has been agitating for the return of power to the zone on the basis that President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who took over from former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2007, did not complete the constitutionally sanctioned two-term tenure as he died in office midway into his first term in the saddle.
The agitation for power shift is believed to be one of the crucial factors fuelling the crisis in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), especially against the backdrop of the swirling rumours doing the rounds that President Goodluck Jonathan intends to seek a second term in office.
However, the president has neither confirmed nor denied the speculation, saying he would prefer to speak out on his political future in 2014.
The Northern Oligarchy has read the hand writing on the wall and has cleverly reasoned that the only candidate from the North palatable to Nigerians will be a Hausa Christian. As part of the move to consolidate this line of reasoning, both Gen. Babangida and the Sultan of Sokoto have spent the past few months praising the achievements of Lt. Gen. TY Danjuma. The donation of 2.5 billion to Ahmadu Bello University was not much of philanthropy but a wider calculated political move to sell Danjuma to the hard core North as a replacement candidate in place of Buhari.
Sources said Gowon, Danjuma and others in the group are contending that with Christians being in the majority in Benue, Plateau, Kogi, Taraba and parts of Niger, Kwara, Adamawa, Kebbi and Nasarawa States, this would be a propitious time for them to make a bid for the presidency based on their population.
It was gathered that the Middle Belt states are open to any of the political parties that would offer the presidency to the Middle Belt whose people are predominantly Christians.
Radio Biafra is has learnt that the newly formed All Progressives Congress (APC) is giving serious consideration to the idea of picking a Christian as its presidential candidate to satisfy this yearning.
The party, if it goes ahead with the decision, the source added, might pick its presidential running mate from either the South-east or South-west depending on the outcome of the planned national convention of the APC slated for either November or December.
“Since both the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and APC are banking on the Middle Belt states as determinant for who becomes the president in the 2015 presidential election, it is also our thinking that we should provide the king rather that being the kingmaker.
“This is the thinking of our leaders like T.Y. Danjuma and General Yakubu Gowon and stakeholders from the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN),” the source said.
Danjuma is from Taraba State, while Gowon is from Plateau State. The source said this understanding was made possible by the fact that if Jonathan, a minority is voted president, there is nothing to stop a Christian from the Middle Belt becoming president in a democracy.
The source said though “the present leadership of CAN under Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor may not support the idea, as he is one of the ardent supporters of President Jonathan, but his tenure of office would soon be over and there is the chance that a successor from the Middle Belt would assume office as the CAN leader.
“A committee has been commissioned to work on the possibility of the Middle Belt presenting a candidate to contest the presidential election, irrespective of political party affiliations. As we speak, meetings are ongoing on this,” the source explained.
According to him, already, the PDP is depending on votes from the South-south and the South-east states to make Jonathan realise his second term ambition, while the APC is relying on votes from the South-west and the North-west states for victory for its presidential candidate.
Both dominant political parties also see the Middle Belt as the “swing zone” and when votes from the zone are added to those from their core support zones, it would make the difference between victory and defeat in the 2015 presidential race.
“This strategy is partly based on the opposition of the governors of Sokoto, Kebbi, Kano and Jigawa States to President Jonathan with active support from Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State and Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State, on the one hand, and the active approval of Christian stakeholders, on the other hand.
“With this, the idea of a Christian from the Middle Belt becoming the president would be achieved,” the source said.
According to the source, “Though Danjuma is not a member of the APC or even PDP, he is working for any Christian presidential candidate from the Middle Belt.
“If a Christian presidential candidate is made possible, then someone like Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State would pair with him as running mate in the presidential election.”
The source expressed doubts over the possibility of the APC fielding one of its chieftains, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari, who has contested three presidential elections since 2003.
“Forget this idea of General Muhammadu Buhari; it is mere political talk to shift attention from the plot on the ground. Both Buhari and Ahmed Tinubu have accepted to make the necessary sacrifices by sheathing their ambitions,” the source said.
The source explained that there is also a Plan B, which may see the APC drafting in the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, as a presidential candidate.
“If this is accepted as a fallback option, then APC would have to look for a Christian from the South-east or South-west as his running mate,” the source said.
Against the backdrop of the likely emergence of TY Danjuma as the Presidential Candidate on the APC platform, pro-Biafra groups have vowed they will not allow Danjuma campaign in Umuahia where the former Head of State General Aguiyi Ironsi whom Danjuma killed is laid to rest.