Two former heads of state, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida and Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, will today in Minna, the Niger State capital, meet with five governors from the northern part of the country on the state of the nation.
Sources privy to the meeting told THISDAY Sunday that the meeting would discuss the political crisis in Rivers State, the turbulence in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) the factionalisation of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and jockeying for the 2015 general election, especially as it concerns the clamour for power shift to the north.
The five governors expected at the meeting are: Dr. Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Alhaji Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko (Sokoto) and the host governor, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu.
Although Rivers State Governor, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, was initially billed to attend the Minna meeting, it was learnt that he would not make it as he left Nigeria yesterday on a five-day trip to the United Kingdom.
The Minna meeting, it was learnt, was in furtherance of efforts by the governors, four of whom were in Abeokuta on Saturday to consult with former President Olusegun Obasanjo, on how to resolve the crisis in Rivers State and the PDP.
Kwankwaso, Lamido, Nyako and Wamakko had held consultations with Obasanjo at his Hilltop home during which they discussed the state of the nation with the former president, who is the immediate past chairman, PDP Board of Trustees (BoT).
Their meeting with Obasanjo came a few days after Kwankwaso, Lamido, Nyako and Aliyu visited Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, last Tuesday to assess the situation in the state that has being caught in vortex of violence following the degeneration of the power tussle in the state chapter of the PDP that had led to clashes between pro and anti-Amaechi lawmakers in the state House of Assembly on one hand and between supporters of the two factions of the lawmakers on the other hand.
Also, Abdulsalami had last week warned against the deteriorating crisis in Rivers State, noting that it could precipitate a coup in the country.
THISDAY checks revealed that today’s meeting in Minna, which is being hosted by Aliyu, is scheduled to start at about noon at the Presidential Lodge, behind the Government House, Minna.
The choice of the Presidential Lodge, according to a source, was informed by the refusal of both former heads of state to host the meeting at their respective residences because of the preying eyes of the press and speculations that might follow thereafter.
Shedding more light on today’s meeting, a source in Minna said: “Four northern governors will be joining Aliyu tomorrow (today) in Minna to visit Generals Babangida and Abdulsalami and I am sure the visit is not unconnected with the recent political crises going on in Rivers State and the PDP.
“I am sure they will also be consulting on what steps to take in 2015 and other national issues.”
Another source in Minna said the northern governors would be consulting with the two generals and other key players, who according to him, include a former Minister of Defence, Lt.-Gen. Theophilus Danjuma.
“They have already met with General Obasanjo over the weekend and will meet IBB and Abdulsalami and then they will meet T.Y. Danjuma,” he added.
He however expressed reservations if the meeting will discuss power shift to the north, adding that its primary purpose is to consult on the way forward given the political crises that have engulfed the nation.
“Their meeting has nothing to do with power shift to the north but it has to do with the crisis in the NGF and how the presidency is trying to muscle governors,” the source said.