There is anxiety in the camp of ex-President Ibrahim Babangida as the ex-military leader and political associates consider if he should join the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) or not.
There were indications that Babangida is under pressure to distance himself from the former President Olusegun Obasanjo movement and rather limit his contributions to his thoughts on the way forward for the nation.
Findings revealed that Mr Babangida met with some of his associates during the week to discuss the likelihood of joining CNM or abstaining from the group.
Babangida’s controversial advice to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari allegedly caused a sharp disagreement in his family and political camp, leading to prompt release of a second one attributed to his “friends.”
Further findings revealed that the disagreement in his camp accounted for the ex-military president’s refusal to disown the second statement.
Most of his associates reportedly kicked against joining forces with Mr Obasanjo to form any coalition.
Differences in his camp informed a series of shuttles to Minna by some of his associates and consultations with a few others like a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mr Hamza Abdullahi on the phone.
Checks confirmed that Babangida also had “frank sessions” with former National Security Adviser, Mr Aliyu Gusau, ex-Interim National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), Mr Ben Obi, and a former Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Mr Halilu Akilu during the week in Minna.
A highly placed source disclosed that: “There is anxiety in the camp of Babangida on whether or not to join Obasanjo’s coalition.
Some of his associates and relations (including children) had been prevailing on him to limit his contributions on 2019 to his thoughts and recommendations on the two-party system.
“In fact, the scion of the family, Mr Mohammed Babangida, some associates and friends were behind the temperate second statement on Sunday which actually the ex-military President did not know about.
“So, as I am talking to you, the ex-military leader and his associates had been weighing options on the way forward.
“Some of his longtime associates and children are opposed to any gang-up in the twilight of his life. They also cited the alleged harassment of Mohammed during the administration of ex-Obasanjo over the investigation of Chairman of Globacom, Mr Mike Adenuga, on why Babangida should not dignify the CNM.”
When contacted, a close ally of Babangida added: “Gusau, Obi and Akilu risked the pains of traveling by road to discuss with Babangida on available options and what should be the group’s position.
“The issue is more complicated because another die-hard loyalist of Babangida, ex-Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola is the Interim Coordinator of CNM. I cannot tell you the outcome because they were locked upstairs for frank talks. I think they are really weighing options.”
Findings also revealed that the political future of Mohammed might have been responsible for the discordant tunes in Babangida’s camp.
Another highly-placed source said: “The political calculations in Niger State now is that Mohammed Babangida should seek election into the Senate in 2019 to prepare himself for a future governorship role.
“Since the military elite in Niger State dictate the political tempo, there were indications that with Governor Abubakar Sani Bello (who is a son of a respected retired military officer), a Senatorial slot will be easier for Mohammed on the ticket of the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC).
“The position of some of the associates of the ex-Military leader is that the Babangida dynasty should be preserved by propping up Mohammed Babangida for a political office.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “Actually in 2015, the governorship slot was zoned to Zone C in Niger State. Everyone was pressurizing Mohammed to come out to vie for the slot because his ancestral home (Wushishi) is in the same zone with Kontagora where Governor Bello hails from.
“But Babangida, who was in Germany in 2015, asked Mohammed not to vie for the slot because the time was unripe. We were all shocked but we conceded to the ex-Military President that he knew better.
“I think Babangida did not want to create division within the military elite in Niger State because of the respect they have for Mr Sani Bello, a retired colonel, who is the father of present governor, Mr Bello.
“Also, Bello is married to the daughter of a former Military Head of State, Mr Abdulsalami Abubakar who is very close to Babangida. Asking Mohammed to contest in 2015 will amount to a brother fighting the husband of his “sister.”