MORE facts emerged on the circumstances surrounding the removal of Major-General I.B.M. Haruna as the chairman of the Northern organisation, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF). It was learnt that Haruna was removed by loyalists of former dictator, Ibrahim Babangida, in the forum.
The effrontery to back the ambition of President Goodluck Jonathan on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by the former ACF chief, according to a competent source, ended the tenure of the Adamawa-born General on Wednesday.
Although, Haruna’s tenure as the head of the forum had expired and subjected to renewal like those of his predecessors, former Inspector-General of Police, M.D. Yusufu, and the late Chief Sunday Awoniyi, his perceived closeness to and support for Jonathan’s presidential ambition encouraged members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ACF to move against him.
Haruna, it was learnt, had had a running battle with members since his support for Jonathan, when the leadership of the forum believed that the Presidency should remain in the region after the death of the late president, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in May, last year.
Moreover, it was gathered that the failed bid of Babangida to contest the forthcoming presidential election further fuelled the former chairman’s ouster at an extra-ordinary session of the group’s NEC, held at the ACF headquarters on Sokoto Road, Kaduna, on Wednesday.
Members of the group, loyal to the former president, removed Haruna, who had employed several tactics to remain in office.
They replaced him with Alhaji Aliko Mohammed, a former chairman of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
According to the source, Haruna’s support for Jonathan was glaring, “which was detrimental to the quest of the North to produce the president in April”.
A reliable source told the Nigerian Compass that Jonathan “wanted former founding National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Solomon Daushep Lar, to take over the ACF leadership in case Haruna could not make it at the end of the day, but that plan failed too”.
Jonathan also tried to use Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo but eventually lost out to the Babangida group at the ACF NEC on Wednesday.
Although the source did not give specific figures, but he alleged that several millions of naira was involved in the process as the Sambo group failed to give adequate mobilisation to execute the project.
The source said: “We just have to accept what happened yesterday (Wednesday) but the implication is that the Babangida group is now in full control of the ACF and President Goodluck Jonathan is not going to find it funny in the next four years if he wins the April presidential election.
“You know very well that the move to remove Haruna started a long time ago because it is the general belief that he frustrated the efforts of the ACF to ensure the emergence of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“All the talk about Jonathan reaching certain agreement with the Northern Elders Committee led by Malam Adamu Ciroma is rubbish.
“With huge resources invested in the project, I tell you, the Babangida group can do anything.”