By Sayo Akintola
There was a serious commotion in the presidency on Tuesday as the news of the three former military heads of state filtered into the seat of power in Abuja, the Street Journal can authoritatively report.
It was gathered that top government officials, particularly president Muhammadu Buhari’s aides, were jolted by the seeming clandestine meeting of the former leaders, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida and Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar in Minna on Monday.
The three ex-leaders had met at the residence of Babangida to discuss the state of the nation with particular focus on the continued ill-health of president Buhari in view of the economic hardship Nigerians were going through under his administration. Although the meeting was held behind closed door, sources from Minna confided in SJ that the three former leaders with huge political whacks in both the military and civil society discussed the possibility of asking Buhari to step down for a more youthful leader who would be able to carry on the reign of power at this critical stage of the nation’s economic quagmire.
It was further learnt that the military leaders expressed worries over the state of the nation with the various ethnic nationalities more fragmented than ever before. Impeccable sources said the three Generals called to question the leadership style of president Buhari which they argued had helped in no small measure in fanning the embers of discord in the nation’s polity.
The war against corruption by the present administration also received a knock as the three military leaders agreed that it was not sincerely prosecuted to achieve the desire results that would be of great positive impact on the psyche of Nigerians. It was however, gathered that the three former leaders agreed to work towards checkmating the ruling All Progressive Party APC in the forthcoming general elections in 2019 by pitching their tent with a political party with less fragmentation of vested interests at the expense of the majority of Nigerians. It was learnt that the former leaders expressed worries at the continued irreconcilable differences amongst the leaders of the ruling party which they noted with dismay, were taking their toll on governance.
It was learnt that the aforementioned resolution was predicated on the possibility of president Buhari insisting that he would continue in power beyond 2019. Our sources said the three leaders expressed serious disappointment in the president Buhari’s administration which they claimed had worsened the already battered economy bequeathed to it by the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
It was however, gathered that the three senior citizens decided that they would not wait until the former president Yar’Adua’s scenario repeated itself before they swing into action to save the country from another embarrassment in the international community. It was gathered that it would be difficult to pacify the North should the nation witness another Yar’Adua with the attendant constitutional logjam that followed Yar’Adua’s demise.
Sources close to the presidency confided in the SJ that the resolutions from the Minna meeting actually smoldered president Buhari out of his sick bed on Tuesday to attend to state matters after he had been held incommunicado for about two weeks. It was further learnt that the ensuing scenario from Minna was also the impetus for the first lady’s declaration on Tuesday that his husband’s ill-health was not as bad as being perceived by Nigerians.
A reliable source said the President would attend the Federal Executive Council FEC meeting today to further create the impression that all is well with the president’s health. It was however, gathered that the rising political profile of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo while he was acting president unsettled president Buhari’s loyalists both within and outside government, hence, his hurried return to the country from his health vacation in London. It was gathered that the president’s aides who were gradually becoming irrelevant while the president was in London feared they might lose out in the power equation if Buhari should finally relinquish power to Osinbajo on account of ill health. It would be recalled that the president’s aides had told Nigerians that the president was as fit as a fiddle while in London before president Buhari finally told the whole world that he had never been that sick all his life when he returned to the country.