by Akan Ido

The political battle for the 2015 general elections promises to be a keenly fought one as leaders from the northern part of the country have commenced their serach for a candidate to take over from President Goodluck Jonathan when his tenure ends.

The candidates currently being considered are mainly second term governors who are known to be harbour political ambitions and ready to effectively represent the interest of the region.

Names being bandied about include; Sule Lamido of Jigawa State, Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State, Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State, Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State, Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State and Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State.

All the governors allegedly interested in the race are from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party.

Ex-governors like Ahmed Makarfi and Ibrahim Shekarau of Kaduna and Kano states respectively, are also  said to be interested in the race.

The northern leaders who were said to have met on different platforms are not happy with the present stance of the governors who are not showing any signs of backing down for each other’s presidential ambitions.

According to reports, “The Convener of the Coalition of Northern Leaders, Academics, Professionals and Businessmen, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, confirmed that the North’s plan to present one candidate for 2015 had been thwarted by the individual ambitions of the Northern governors.

“As far as I know, we have not got to the point of zeroing in on a candidate, a political party or even a strategy. From the look of things, it is not likely to happen soon.

“This is because the last time we tried to get a consensus candidate for the North, it was the northern governors who scuttled the plan. About seven northern governors, who have ambition to become President, have been busy scuttling one another’s ambition. So, the North has not picked a candidate, and in my opinion, it will not happen soon.”

Mohammed continued saying, “Unless we come together in the North, we will continue to have problems. I met with the Senate caucus in the North and I asked them to reconsider the introduction of an electoral college in electing the president.”

Also concerned about the apparent political stalemate is Paul Unongo, the spokesman of the Northern Elder’s Forum, according to him, “Lamido and Aliyu are eminently qualified to be president. But what they need to do now is to unite and rationalise to choose one person as the only northern candidate for the election. If not, if the South presents one candidate, the person would likely win.”

He noted that the potential candidate must also be acceptable to people in other regions of the country.

Unongo continued saying, “When it comes to people from the North, who can stand for election for President, some persons like Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and Abubakar Atiku are the names we can mention.  But now, I don’t know how acceptable they will be to Nigerians. I don’t think Nigerians still want Army Generals.

“Another potential candidate is the Vice-President Namadi Sambo, who is the northerner in the highest office in the country. It would be a surprise to me if he does not stand for election in 2015. If he stands for election in 2015, some of us will support him.”

It is not clear which candidate the north will eventually settle for, neither is it clear if president Goodluck Jonathan will decide not to run again in 2015 – he has so far refused to speak on the matter telling anyone who cares to listen that it is rather too early in the day to comment.

We shall continue to watch the political chess-game as it unfolds.