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A top northern political figure and ally of President Muhammadu Buhari, Engr Buba Galadima on Monday shared his experience on how the Southeast lost its chances of becoming Nigerian president in the 70s and after late President Umar Musa Yar’adua.
According to him, the southeast top politicians rejected Obasanjo’s soft heart of nominating Peter Obi as Yar’adua’s running mate who would have eventually become president after the demise of Yar’adua instead of former President Goodluck Jonathan who emerge as a product of destiny.
Galadima, who spoke from Abuja studio of a national television station while featuring in its breakfast show on Monday which was monitored in Kaduna, said it was expedient for him to share the history with young Nigerians especially those who engage political space on social media.
‘In 1978, Alhaji Shehu Shagari led a delegation of Northern elders to visit Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and invited him to join the national movement and to lead them to become their presidential candidate.
‘The youngsters in the Southeast then said, ‘don’t trust these Hausa people’ after which Azikwe went and pitched his tent with NNPP and eventually, it broke into two – NNPP and GNPP under Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe. How statesstate did he win? He lost one golden opportunity for him to become president.
‘After Obasanjo was leaving office, Obasanjo called the leaders of the Southeast and told them he was going to nominate somebody from the North to become President, therefore they should produce-presidential trial candidate. All the answers ‘mba mba mba’ which means ‘no no no’ – they wanted only the president or nothing.
‘But, Obasanjo had a soft heart and he went and picked Peter Obi to be Vice President to Unar Yar’adua. The same Southeast petitioned against Dr Peter Odili and told the EFCC where his money to buy delegates was kept and EFCC raided those locations and wrote to disqualify Peter Odili.
‘That was how Goodluck Jonathan was picked d as a vice presidential candidate. You see destiny. The southeast did not agree for an Igbo man ta o be a vice presidential candidate. It would have been history that a Southeasterner would have become the president of Nigeria before now after Yar’adua’s death.
‘And, when the completion of Yar’adua’s first term was completed by Jonathan, Adamu Shiroma, Umar Shinkafi and others, called the leaders of Southeast at Yar’adua Centre in Abuja and told them that, after the completion of Yar’adua’s term, Jonathan should step down, that, the North would nominate another candidate to complete Yar’adua four years who Jonathan may deputies and then the power would be shifted to Southeast, they said ‘never never never’ and some elements among them went to Enugu to say it must be Jonathan or never.
‘They said if Jonathan complete the term, they would shift power to the Southeast which did not make any political reasoning. At the end of that meeting in Enugu, others supported and that was bow Jonathan won in 2011. But, when he wanted to contest again, the northerners ganged up against him and threw him out.
‘With this history, young men and women should understand where we are coming from. Ordinarily, the generals including Obasanjo, Babangida and others wouldn’t have supported Buhari. But, it was because Jonathan insisted he must remain in office that made them support Buhari to win the election in 2015.
‘The issue is that the Southeast people are the enemies of themselves. They were the people who jettisoned zoning in the first place. There is no morality in self-interest because when people are self-interest, they don’t care about morality. They can’t eat their cake and have it.
‘So the only easiest way to become president is to team up with NNPP because Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso is known to be a man of his word’, he said.