President, Olusegun Obasanjo, had vowed that the embattled former
Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, will never become Vice President
is contained in a new book, titled: ‘On a Platter of Gold: How Jonathan
Won and Lost Nigeria’, written by the ruling All Progressives Congress,
APC, Spokesman, Bolaji Abdullahi, who served as a Minister under
Jonathan from 2011 to 2014.
claims that after three Governors from the South-South where the Vice
Presidency was zoned to by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had been
ruled out for one reason or the other during deliberations, late former
President, Musa Yar’Adua, asked Nuhu Ribadu, the then Chairman of the
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, about Ibori.
This allegedly got former President Olusegun Obasanjo angry, and Yar’Adau quickly made a u-turn.
wrote: “During deliberations on the issue of zoning, the party
leadership had also agreed that the running mate to whoever emerged from
the North, would come from the South-South. This remained sacrosanct.
The question was: who the running mate should now be, with Odili out of
the picture. One major concern was that the eligible South-South
Governors were not only ambitious, they were all street smart, and could
easily overwhelm the mild-mannered Yar’Adua.
Attah and Donald Duke were ruled out on that account. However, even
though it could be argued that Odili was more ambitious than those two,
he had also contributed the most to the party. Now that his nomination
had suffered a misadventure, the South-South options were even more
they agonised over their limited options, Yar’Adua casually asked
Ribadu in Hausa, ‘Shi mutumin Delta din nan fa?’ (‘What about the Delta
person?’). He probably had forgotten that though not fluent in the
language, Obasanjo could follow simple conversations in Hausa. Before
Ribadu could muster a response, Obasanjo flared up “Over my dead body
would Ibori be Vice President”.”
Abdullahi added: “Ribadu knew at the time that Ibori had an outstanding case with the Metropolitan Police in London.
Ribadu dropped the bombshell, Yar’Adua relented and said almost
apologetically, that he had not been aware that Ibori had such a thing
hanging over him; otherwise he would not have brought up the Delta
Governor’s name. In any case, those close to Ibori at the time said he
had only been interested in becoming the Minister of Petroleum
Resources. The search continued.”
“It was at this stage that Jonathan’s name cropped up, and he initially rejected the slot.
Jonathan, the Governor of Bayelsa State, who had succeeded his
impeached boss only about a year before, never came up for discussion,
until now. Ribadu said all through the EFCC’s investigation of
Alamieyeseigha in Bayelsa, nothing was found on Jonathan”, wrote the
he did not do anything to obstruct the investigation or to encourage
it, as many ambitious Deputies would have done. This indicated that
Jonathan could be trusted with power. Even more significantly, he was
Ijaw. By making an Ijaw man Vice President, Obasanjo would have taken a
major step in redressing the cry of marginalization by the Niger Delta;
and this would go a long way in restoring peace to the otherwise
troubled region. Obasanjo would not need any further persuading. It was
shortly afterwards that Odili was invited in and informed that he would
not be announced as running mate that morning.
eventually read his acceptance speech, but was silent on the issue of
running mate. For those unaware of the intrigues that had played out all
through the night, there was nothing strange about this. The running
mate did not have to be announced at the Convention venue. It was also
not unusual for a candidate to ask for more time to name his running
mate. But by daybreak, the rumour mill had gone wild. Names had started
flying around as possible replacements for Odili.
Odili’s team had busied itself through the night trying to prepare a
response to some of the weighty allegations against their boss. They
were ready by 10:00 am, on Sunday morning, but by then the horse had
already bolted from the stable.
much fuss, Jonathan was invited to the Presidential Villa, and informed
of the decision of President Obasanjo and the party leaders to name him
as the running mate to Yar’Adua. His immediate reaction was that he did
not want to be Vice President. Some said when he first got wind of the
decision earlier in the day, he had reacted the same way, saying he was
happy as the Governor of Bayelsa State, which in any case, made more
sense to him than this Vice Presidency business.
with the combined force of President Obasanjo, Tony Anenih, and
Yar’Adua, mounting pressure on him, he could not hold out for too long.
By 4 pm that Sunday, Goodluck Jonathan was announced as the running mate
to Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in the 2007 Presidential election.”