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Struggle for Nigerian vice-president begins 0

ABUJA — With the inauguration yesterday of Goodluck Jonathan as the 14th President of the country, jostling for the vice presidential slot has begun.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), 28 governors elected on its platform, National Caucus of the party and other stakeholders are expected to meet over the weekend to decide who would emerge the new vice-president.

THISDAY, however, gathered that some names have emerged as top contenders for the coveted position.

Among them are the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, National Security Adviser Aliyu Gusau and former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu.

Also being seriously considered are Jigawa State Governor Sule Lamido and his Niger State counterpart, Dr. Muazu Babangide Ali. Ahmed is said to have contributed a lot to bring about the Jonathan presidency just like the Senate President David Mark.

While some Northern elements are pushing for Gusau, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and some BoT members are promoting Lamido’s candidature.

Those backing Gusau as vice-president argue that because he is already working with Jonathan, he would continue to forge a good partnership with the new President to transform the country.

But Gusau has also been linked with the 2011 presidential race and some groups are busy positioning him for the top job. One of such group is the Democracy Success Movement (DESM) led by Alhaji Mohammed Kambe and Alhaji A.A. Usman.

THISDAY learnt some in the civil society groups are rooting for the former EFCC chairman who is said to be close to Jonathan.

They explained that Ribadu’s appointment as vice-president would enhance the credibility of the government; especially following Jonathan’s avowed commitment to rejuvenating the anti-corruption programme.

Other names being touted last night are those of former Minister of Industry, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, and former House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Bello Masari.

However, it was gathered that the choice of the next vice-president greatly depends on President Jonathan working with the PDP leadership.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that the National Assembly has joined the fray, moving to have one of its members appointed as Jonathan’s deputy.

Leading the jostling is the Senate President, whom THISDAY gathered, is insisting that a serving Senator from the party be considered.

The plan by the National Assembly is also said to be partly fueled by the need to reduce the influence of the PDP Governors on the Presidency. Two Senators are also said to have been.

According to a source, who spoke with THISDAY, senators being touted include Ahmed Markafi and Nazif Suleiman from Bauchi.

Markafi is a former governor of Kaduna State who is credited with having the requisite experience to deal with the job having ruled a volatile state like Kaduna.

The name of Senator Nazif is being pushed because of its potential for generational change.

Meanwhile, one of the governors disclosed to THISDAY yesterday that all the governors of the party would meet to discuss whether to support a governor among them to be appointed as Vice-President or back any other member.

Continue reading on AllAfrica.com

By Chuks Okocha – This Day (Source: AllAfrica.com)

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