500 more expected in days || The campaign machinery of former military President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida is set to take the nation by storm.
A few days ago, the IBB Presidential Campaign Organisation took delivery of 500 vehicles consisting of 250 Prado jeeps and 250 Toyota Camry saloon cars, Leadership Sunday has learnt. The cars are now parked at a location in Abuja, said a source close to the campaign group. Leadership Sunday was also told that the last batch of 500 vehicles (250 Prado jeeps and 250 Camry cars) will be added to the lot, making a total of 1, 000 vehicles.
General Babangida, who was the country's leader between 1985 and 1993, has indicated his desire to contest the presidential election on the platform of the PDP. He has also been a vociferous advocate of the PDP zoning policy: the party had zoned the presidency to the North after Olusegun Obasanjo's eight years. Obasanjo was succeeded by Umaru Musa Yar'Adua who died on May 5, this year, and Dr Goodluck Jonathan took over according to the dictates of the Nigerian constitution. Some members of the PDP, including General Babangida, insist that the PDP should maintain the zoning arrangement for the 2011 elections.
President Jonathan's supporters, including the recently selected national chairman of the ruling party, Dr Okwesilieze Nwodo, have maintained that the zoning arrangement is not sacrosanct, especially after the force majeure (Yar'Adua's death) that changed the bargain. Other likely aspirants within the PDP include General Aliyu Gusau (rtd), the current national security adviser; former Vice-president Atiku Abubakar; Dr Bukola Saraki, governor of Kwara State; and Alhaji Danjuma Goje, governor of Gombe State.
The PDP governors obviously hold the key to the party's ticket. But it is doubtful if all of them will support the same candidate during the primaries. Another source close to the IBB presidential Campaign told Leadership Sunday that, if it becomes clear that General Babangida will not get the PDP ticket, he and his supporters will move en masse into another party, probably the ANPP.