2015: Jonathan Camp Splits On VP Slot ahead Of Declaration …Patience Insists On Shema, Dickson Adamant On Sambo

Ahead of the declaration of President Goodluck Jonathan for second term, there is a split in the President’s camp over the Vice-President slot.

The choice has been narrowed down to either the retention of Vice President Namadi Sambo or Governor Ibrahim Shema.

The President is however expected to break the ice when he declares for second term in office.

Investigation by our correspondent revealed that in spite of repeated moves to suppress the division within the Jonathan camp on the VP slot, it is still a major hurdle to cross.

Findings by our correspondent showed that some stakeholders loyal to the First Lady and some ministers are pushing for Shema as the next Vice President, but Governor Henry Seriake Dickson and other stakeholders from Bayelsa State have pitched their tents with Sambo as Jonathan’s running mate for second term.

Some ministers were also said to be supporting Sambo underneath since they do not know the mindset of the President.

A few ministers are however in favour of Shema as the next VP, based on their reading of some loyalists of the First Lady.

One of the anti-Sambo ministers is said to be lousy and eyeing a governorship seat in 2015.

The recent victory of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State has also buoyed the rating of Sambo for the slot because he coordinated the campaign for the Governor-elect, Mr. Ayo Fayose.

A reliable source, who spoke in confidence, said: “As the President prepares to declare, there is still a crack in his camp on the VP slot.

“Some forces in the presidency are still pushing for a change. They are making a case for Shema, who is gradually getting the ears of the President again after initial dust over the jostle for VP ticket in 2015.

“In fact, the President recently conceded the office of the Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) to Shema where his godfather heads the board of the agency.

The source added that UBEC is one of the agencies planned to be used as war chest for the 2015 poll. The Almajiri project being handled by Sambo is also under the management of UBEC.

He continued: “The same forces encouraged the President to visit Katsina State to have first hand information on the achievements of Shema and why he is being recommended.”

But the Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, is uncomfortable with moves to upstage Sambo.

“Dickson has made his position known to those who matter in the Presidency why Sambo should be retained for his loyalty, patience and stabilization of the Presidency.

“To demonstrate his commitment, the governor has led a delegation of stakeholders from Bayelsa State thrice to Sambo on solidarity visits.

“During one of the visits, the governor went with traditional rulers and all members of the National Assembly from the state.

“The successful privatisation of the power sector is a major argument the backers of Sambo have been advancing for his retention.

“The recent political mileage of Sambo in Kebbi, Sokoto, Kano and Kaduna was said to have also encouraged Sambo’s adherents like Dickson.

“To prove that he has got the right political rhythm, Sambo also went to Lagos with about 100 Northern leaders and politicians for the commissioning of new coaches for the Nigerian Railway Corporation.”

The source further revealed that some pro-Sambo leaders in the cabinet and PDP are also warning against the danger of dropping the VP; the implication being that the President will be admitting that he has no competent assistant.

“This can be politically fatal to his success at the poll in 2015,” he said.

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