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Nigeria: Danjuma groups warns President Jonathan

Abuja — Members of the Presidential Advisory Council headed by former Defence Minister Lt General Theophilus Yakubu [T.Y.] Danjuma have decided to resign from the council en masse if and when President Goodluck Jonathan decides to contest the 2011 presidential elections, Daily Trust learnt in Abuja.

A source close to the council said the decision, which was made several weeks ago, was arrived at because the eminent council members were worried that wading into the race will severely affect Jonathan’s reputation as an unbiased umpire in the elections and will make it impossible for him to make strides in the socio-economic sphere during the limited time he has in office.

According to the source, even before Tuesday last week’s marathon meeting between Jonathan and the council members at which its interim report was tendered, the council members unanimously mandated their chairman, General Danjuma, to raise the matter with Jonathan. They said Danjuma should advise him to resist pressure from former President Olusegun Obasanjo as well as from some South-South community leaders and some members of his new cabinet to drag him into the 2011 presidential contest.

Daily Trust learnt that having given that mandate to Danjuma, the council members decided that the matter of 2011 should not be raised at their meeting with Jonathan last Tuesday. At the marathon meeting, which lasted from 10am until 9.30pm with only a 45 minutes’ lunch break, the chairmen of 6 sub-committees were called one after another to make detailed presentations. The six committees were on Niger Delta; Election Reform, Public Service and Rule of Law; Power; Economy and Infrastructure; Social Sector, and Security and Anti-corruption.

Daily Trust further learnt that when it was the turn of the Security and Anti-corruption Committee to present its report, its chairman, former Police Inspector General Muhammadu Dikko [M.D.] Yusuf, declined to present it, saying he was tired of presenting reports to government that were not acted upon.

At that point, committee member and former Attorney General of the Federation Mr. Kanu Agabi took over and presented the committee’s report. According to sources familiar with the situation, Agabi had missed some meetings of the full council and was not aware that a decision had been taken not to raise the 2011 matter at the Tuesday meeting. Agabi therefore went ahead and forcefully argued that it was the view of his committee and indeed the whole council that Jonathan should not contest the 2011 elections against his party’s zoning policy because it could cause security breaches in the country.

Daily Trust learnt that Agabi made his point so forcefully that after resuming his seat at one point, he suddenly sprang up again and reiterated the same point at length. At that point, Dr. Jonathan’s ADC, Deputy Superintendent of Police [DSP] Moses Tituboh, loudly complained, “Why should this man be talking like this?”

In responding to the speech by General Danjuma after submitting the interim report, Dr. Jonathan completely sidestepped the issue of 2011. Instead, he thanked the council for a job well done and promised to ensure the implementation of at least 60 percent of the recommendations. The council’s six committees had each made a detailed presentation with short, medium and long term measures that they advised the Jonathan administration to focus on between now and May next year, when its tenure ends.

Apart from the chairman, Lt.-Gen. T.Y. Danjuma, other members of the PAC include the deputy chairman Prof. Ben Nwabueze, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Ambassador G. B. Preware, Prof. Bartholomew Nnaji, Mr. Basil Omiyi, Alhaji M. D. Yusufu, Muhammed Hayatuddeen, former Chief Justice Salihu Alfa Belgore, former Deputy House Speaker Chibudom Nwuche, Dr. Bamanga Tukur, Alhaji Ismaila Isa, Prof. Shehu Sa’id Sarinwata, Dr. Simon C. Okolo and Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa. Other members are Mr. Fola Adeola, Mallam Abubakar Gimba, Mr. Kase Lawal, Mrs. Mobola Johnson, Hajiya Halita Aliyu, Alhaji Magaji Danbatta, Prof. Buba G. Bajoga, Dr. Sally Bolujoko, Mrs. Maryam Uwais and Chief Kanu Agabi. The Permanent Secretary (Special Duties) in SGF’s Office is the council’s secretary.