Former military dictator, General Ibrahim Babangida, is set to dump the zoning arrangement which led to the emergence of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as consensus candidate of the Alhaji Adamu Ciroma led Northern Political Leaders Forum (NPLF) on November 22. Indications emerged during the week that Babangida’s camp is unhappy with recent findings that some of the parties to the consensus arrangement went behind to influence the final verdict of the committee and public opinion.
The Evil Genius is, therefore, rethinking his earlier declaration that he would abide by the verdict of the zoning committee.
IBB had declared two days after Atiku emerged the preferred candidate of the consensus committee that as a honourable man, he would abide by the decision of the committee.
But sources close to his camp said during the week that recent discoveries are shaking IBB’s belief in the perceived fairness of the Ciroma committee.
For instance, one of the parties to the consensus arrangement was said to have engineered negative newspaper publications against IBB all through the period the consensus arrangement was in the front burner. It was believed that the move was aimed at weakening public perception of IBB and ensure that he was defeated at the end of the day.
Besides, a source also said that some top IBB strategists are beginning to view the whole idea of a consensus arrangement as a trap the General fell into and that all of the aspirants would have been made to face the primaries, where they can then back one candidate if none of them secures 50 per cent of the votes after the first ballot of the presidential primaries.
Other sources said that IBB’s men are of the view that the series of controversies surrounding Atiku seem to further weaken the base of the consensus aspirants.
The source said that further consultations are ongoing among top IBB strategists and the Minna General on the final step to take on this matter.
It was also gathered that some analysts in IBB’s camp are of the view that some controversies being thrown up around Atiku could provide President Jonathan the best opportunity to move against the former vice president so as to secure his seat.
A source said that the decision by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to prosecute a former vice president of the United States of America has also added another dimension to the whole Atiku saga.