By Chidiebere Onyemaizu
Few days to the 2019 presidential election, this magazine has been told of an impending major shift in alliances and support involving supporters and sympathizers of the two main presidential candidates and parties, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Sunday’s collective endorsement of Atiku by Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Middle Belt Forum; Northern Elders Forum, NEF; PAN Niger-Delta Forum, PANDEF, apex Yoruba cultural organization, Afenifere and Adamawa chapter of umbrella Fulani socio-cultural and economic organization,Miyetti Allah, it has been learnt, is prelude to this.
In breaking rank with the national leadership of the body, Miyetti Allah chieftain in Adamawa, Mohammed Ango, gives reasons for its action: “Fulani people have lost more dignity under the Buhari administration than any other in history. Today, our people are branded as killers, branded as kidnappers or robbers, just because some people are misrepresenting us. Before now, the relationship between herders and farmers was not this bad; we can all attest to this. Our people, for instance, could pass the night in the house of say, a Bachama man in Numan, but now all that has been eroded”
President Buhari has also has his own share of endorsement. On Monday, February 4, a group of retired Military officers, numbering 71, and led by Rtd Brigadier-General Muhammed Marwa, endorsed him during a visit to the Villa. “We are very proud of you “, they told him.
But The Source gathered that barring a last minute change of heart, some Buhari Support Groups in the South west and South east will switch alliance to the PDP and Atiku. It was also learnt that members of both parties in the National Assembly who are still aggrieved over their inability to secure return tickets are set to announce switching of alliances.
Both PDP and APC are frantically working on presidential candidates of some of the fringe parties to withdraw from the race and throw their weights behind their candidates (Buhari and Atiku) respectively.
For example, speculations are rife that pressure is being mounted on the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Gen.John Gbor (Rtd) by both Atiku and Buhari’s campaign egg-heads to withdraw and announce his support for their principals. This has, however, been denied by a top notch of the party who told the Magazine that the Benue state born Army General is still very much in the race.”General Gbor is contesting to win, he is in the race to win and not to withdraw”, he told The Source
The presidency and APC’s Presidential Campaign Council were said to have been utterly rattled by Atiku’s endorsements by ethnic groups, prompting the decision to immediately dispatch Festus Keyamo, Spokesperson of the campaign council to Channels TV’s Sunday Politics to either downplay or rubbish the endorsements.
However, insider sources are alleging that the party’s hurt was not assuaged, and are determined to totally erase whatever moral and political advantage Atiku may have gained by the endorsements.
To this end, factional PANDEF, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Afenifere, NEF and Middle Belts Forum, The Source gathered, will in the coming days be created and the characters that will parade themselves as the real leaders of the socio- cultural groups will address a press conference disassociating the groups from Atiku’s endorsement.