Babangida Didn't Actually Back Jonathan - Source
Nigeria's former military ruler, Ibrahim Babangida, did not make commitment on the 2015 presidential poll to President Goodluck Jonathan at the recent meeting in Minna.
It would be recalled that following the closed-door December 27 meeting it was reported that Babangida urged Nigerians to support Jonathan in the next-year's elections.
According to The Nation, however, contrary to the widespread insinuations, the former President only touched upon the national issues and problems.
It was additionally learnt that Jonathan allegedly started reaching out to key emirs and leaders of the North is search for support, which is part of the President's plan to reduce the influence of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the region.
Gen. Babangida's key aides based in Abuja disclosed the details of the Saturday's meeting in Minna.
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After the former ruler was blasted for backing Jonathan, the source, who pleaded for anonymity, debunked the reports making rounds:
"It is true that the President visited Gen. Babangida at his Minna Hilltop mansion but the nature of his message was based purely on unity of the country and not about 2015 presidential election.
"As a former president who fought for the unity of the country, he was of the view that the president needs support as President and not as presidential candidate per se.
"It is his view that the country needs to be united as one before we can begin to talk about election. Only a united Nigeria can guarantee credible election."
The source stressed the importance of not misinterpreting Babangida's words:
"What Gen. IBB said should be viewed within the context of the larger Nigeria interest and not that of any parochial interest that is likely to unsettle the system.
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"Those of them who fought in the civil war to keep the country one understand the dynamics and challenges facing us now in the face of grave insecurity and poor economic realities."
The aide also urged critics to take it easy on Babangida, who is anyway the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) card holder, "even as a nominal member".
"As a leader and former president who was privileged to preside over the affairs of the country and who also fought in the civil war, he will continue to speak the language of unification than that of division."
According to the source, Gen. Babangida maintained that Jonathan, as a country leader, deserved the support of all to keep the country united.
Regarding the main political battle between Jonathan and the APC candidate Muhammadu Buhari, the aide said:
"The President, Vice-President Namadi Sambo, PDP governors, and leaders will be embarking on shuttles to some of these key Northern leaders for support.
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"They are desperate to take the battle to Buhari’s stronghold but no one can say whether the President and the PDP can go far or not."
Speaking about the intense pre-polls months, another source also added:
"Jonathan’s game plan is to split the North. This explains why Northern leaders were concerned about the President’s renewed interest in the North after he failed the region in many promises he made in 2011."
It would be recalled that yesterday President Jonathan addressed Nigerians asking them to endure the hardships connected with the drop on global oil price and to pray for the politicians' wisdom ahead of the upcoming elections.