The plot to dump Vice President Namadi Sambo as running mate to President Goodluck Jonathan ahead of next year’s election is far from being over, according to indications last night.
The fresh plot is the brainchild of some political heavyweights from the North who believe that for the PDP to make the desired impact in that part of the country in the election, it must have a presidential running mate that is widely acceptable and politically savvy across the region.
Sambo, in their view, is too far removed from the realities of the politics of the region and therefore incapable of either addressing the issues or galvanising support for Jonathan ahead of the 2015 election.
Although the president is yet to publicly announce his intention to seek re-election, political watchers believe that his political machinery is already in place as he meets with different political interests across the nation on a regular basis.
A reliable source said in Abuja that the decision to drop Sambo was reached at a high level meeting and that Jonathan’s body language on the proposals must have influenced the decision of two of the PDP governors, who are at loggerheads with the President, to drop the idea of joining the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).
Accordingly, four governors were pencilled down to replace Sambo.
These are Aliyu Babangida of Niger State, Sule Lamido of Jigawa State, Isa Yuguda of Bauchi and Ibrahim Shema of Katsina.
Some of the governors had, in the past, dissociated themselves from the alleged plot to replace Sambo who was the governor of Kaduna before he was picked by Jonathan as vice president after the death of President Umaru Yar’Adua.
The source said the political heavyweights behind the plot include some retired but influential Army generals from the region, emirs and an ex-president who is pushing for Lamido.
The source said: “Don’t be deceived by the denials and counter-denials. Would you have expected them to publicly accept the plot? What I know is that these persons have been meeting and Sambo might as well be on his last tour of duty as vice president unless something drastically changes the run of event.
“I can tell you that the strategic choice by Aliyu and Lamido to remain with the PDP was due to the promise extracted by some political heavyweights in the party to make one of them, preferably Lamido who is considered to be highly disciplined and with impressive political savvy in the North, to be nominated as vice president after Sambo has failed to command the kind of respect expected of anyone in that position in the North.”
Asked if the president would not be inflicting a grave injustice on his loyal deputy should he accept the suggestion, the source said the reality is that the president would have to analyse the options before him and take a decision that would positively affect his future.
“First, it was understood that the failure to bring the Boko Haram menace to an end or even try to talk to its leadership to stop the carnage and come to the roundtable for a peace talk was due to the fact that most persons in the North still do not recognise Sambo as a Northern leader. They see him as a businessman who knows little or nothing about the politics of his domain.
“What if I told you that Shema is also scheming to be vice president in spite of his repeated denials and there is a belief that former President Ibrahim Babangida might not support Babangida Aliyu as vice president due to some reasons?”
It was gathered that the political heavyweights rooting for a Lamido vice presidential ticket have been holding talks with Jonathan and may soon reach an agreement that would seriously endanger the political fortunes of Sambo in 2015.
The source said former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s sudden silence on the Jonathan presidency might not be unconnected with how far the political discourse has gone.
It is believed that Lamido should be able to garner support to match whatever threat the Buhari or APC strategy in the North might engender.
However, it was learnt that Sambo is not taking the matter lying low as he was said to have been meeting with some of the northern governors excluding those interested in his seat, in order to garner support for his candidacy.