2015: President Jonathan Talks Al-Mustapha into Joining His Campaign Team
Banking on the seeming popularity of recently freed ex-Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, in his home region of the North to initiate subtle moves to recruit him into Jonathan’s re-election campaign.
Although investigation reveals that political strategists have cautioned the President not to be directly involved in the effort to woo the former CSO to the late Abacha to his side but to use sundry northern and southern groups to do the job, It was learnt that, based on a well-coordinated strategy to draw the Abacha era strong man into the Jonathan’s campaign, several northern groups, which had hitherto voiced opposition to the re-election of Jonathan in 2015, had been approached by top government officials and asked to work with Al-Mustapha, who is now seen as a hero in the region.
As part of the innocuous campaign, the erstwhile CSO is said to have been encouraged to meet with top government officials in the country, particularly governors, ministers and leaders of ethnic groups, whose support is considered relevant to the attainment of the set political target in the 2015 presidential poll. The government, it was learnt, has facilitated the meetings of Al-Mustapha with top government officials in the North and the military high command in Abuja with a view to quickening his return to the army and promotion.
A military source said that the former CSO was scheduled to meet with the Chief of the Army Staff on Friday but did not say whether the two men actually met and what transpired between them. The plan, according to a source, is to return to the army, retire him full benefits and give him a role in the government of Jonathan.
The Presidency is reported to have made the first move to test the water by mobilising some northern groups to fly the kite that it was the active support of key government officials that enabled the former CSO to regain his freedom.
As a first step, former Abacha Minister of Education, Dauda Birmah, on Friday, led some groups to the National Chairman of the PDP, Bamanga Tukur, in Abuja and adopted Jonathan as their choice for the Presidency in 2015.
The groups said that they were grateful to the Presidency for ensuring the release of the former CSO from prison after 15 years, adding that they were convinced that the release would not have been possible without the support of the President and the PDP Chairman.
Among the groups that went with Birmah to see Tukur were the Northern Elders Forum, North/ South New Nigeria and Fresh Air Continuity Group.
Coincidentally, while the Birmah-led groups were meeting with Tukur, some other groups opposed to the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) issued a strong statement in Abuja condemning any attempt by some northern leaders to work against the return of Jonathan in 2015.
Another group, believed to have been recruited into the 2015 campaign-Coalition of Concerned Northern Youths, CNY- carpeted NEF for daring to insist that power must return to the region in 2015, asking the protagonists to apologise over their failure in the past.
A top northern politician, who pleaded anonymity, supported a role for Al-Mustapha in the Jonathan government, saying the involvement of the former CSO could bring the current security challenge in the North to an end.
The politician said that he was aware of the clout Al-Mustapha has among northern youths and how he could use same to help the administration to overcome the crisis in the North
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