June 23, 2009

Abacha’s son set to join PDP• May contest 2011 guber

Mohammed Abacha, the eldest son of the former Nigeria Head of State, late General Sani Abacha, is set to join one of the existing political parties in the country, a declaration that would symbolically mark the beginning of the family’s quest to return public life. The Abachas had abruptly been cut off the national leadership scene when their patriarch, Gen. Abacha, suddenly died some 11 years ago, while still serving as the Military Head of State.

A very credible source told the Daily Sun in Kano that Alhaji Mohammed Abacha, when he eventually steps out into the political fray in the days ahead, is most likely going to pitch his tent with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) adding that so far, discussions between him and some of the stakeholders of the party, both in Kano State and in Abuja, have reached an advanced stage.

It is speculated that the younger Abacha, upon his admission into the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would immediately set his eyes on the Kano State Government House, hoping to emerge as the gubernatorial candidate of the PDP and eventually, the governor of the state by 2011. Incidentally, the Abacha Abachas are believed to have had a long-standing romance with the All Nigerian Peoples Party Party (ANPP), especially in Kano, where the party, at some stage, even road on the seeming popularity of the Abachas with the common Kano folks. It is still not clear what brought about the u-turn to PDP.

A new power equation
At the helm of the coordination of the highly guarded proposal is Alhaji Umar Gano Bayero (not directly related to the emirate). Alhaji Bayero, a former gubernatorial candidate of the Action Congress in the 2007 polls is a close confidant of the family and one of the associates of the former governor of the old Kano State, Alhaji Abubakar Rimi.

His central role in the entire project has since led to the belief that, should the proposal work out as projected, Alhaji Abacha might not be joining the Kwankwaso’s faction of the party, which sources told the Daily Sun is frightened by the prospect of this new factor to the political balance of the party in the state and yet hopeful, the young man might join the faction in the end.

Already, a proposal for the formation of an eight- man Central Working Committee that would manage this ambition is in the offing. Sources said the names of the members of the committee were carefully selected to represent the seriousness of the new deal, adding however that their initial meeting, which should have taken place by now, was placed on suspension pending the fresh registration exercise of the party in the state which is billed for next week. It was also gathered that the meeting was caused to slow down with a view to allowing the CWC have a glimpse of the nature of the party’s congresses and the shape of the incoming executive of the state.

“The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) offers the young Abacha a number of benefits, including the fact that it is the party in government at the national level and a party that stands an average chance to win the next gubernatorial election in the state, if the right candidate and the right leadership is put to work,” said the source.

The source opined that a character from the Abacha’s family would invariably excite the top notchers of the PDP in the country, arguing that Alhaji Mohammed Abacha fits into the kind of personality the party and those sympathetic to the interest of president Yar Adua need to balance the power equation in the party in the state.

2011 guber in the mix
In reference to the 2011 battle in the state and for the survival of the president, the source added: “You see Alhaji Mohammed is very, very rich. PDP and indeed, Yar’Adua would be interested in such a person who can spend his own money for the sake of the party. This is typical of the Yar’Adua we now know, that is, getting others to do his work for him while staying aloof and watching from a distance”

A number of investigations carried out by the Daily Sun in Kano State recently confirmed that the relationship between the family of the former head of state and the incumbent President, Alhaji Umar Yar Adua, has been on the upward swing since the president was sworn into power, some two years ago. It was discovered that the pressure mounted on several fronts against the Abachas by the previous administration of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has been gradually relaxed for the family, if not totally suspended.

Notably among them is the easing on the tight security around the matron of the family, Hajia Mariam Abacha, who, it was gathered, has since had an ease in the restrictions placed on her movement. A security source told the Daily Sun that she can now travel to any part of the world so long as she can get their visa. This new development is a sharp contrast from the restricted nature of her freedom during the eight-year rule of the past administration.

It is also on record that the former First Lady was one of the very first few jubilant Nigerians to rush to the Yar’Aduas in Kastina to celebrate their son’s election as the president of the country and on that occasion, she was well received by the then incoming First Lady, Hajia Turia Yar’Adua.

A burning ambition
Daily Sun also was gathered from another competent source that this is definitely not the first time that Alhaji Mohammed Abacha had plotted to join the politics of the state, adding that much as he was not in a hurry to stage a come back given the hostile climate against his family under Obasanjo, he had always kept an eye on the political development of the state, waiting for the right time to strike.

The source, a long time relation of the Abachas, recalled that the last time Mohammed had tried his hand on this long nurtured pet project, was some two and a half years ago, when the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) had tried to wreck the ambition of some serving governors, including the second term ambition of the governor of Kano State, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau.

The source stated emphatically that the Abacha son, sensing that the coast was clear, immediately flew to the Eastern part of the country to try to persuade the Chairman of the All Nigerian Peoples Party, Chief Edwin Umezeoke, to consider him for the gubernatorial ticket of the party in state in the event the incumbent governor was barred by the authorities. He observed that the move suffered a major set back when a court ruled against the barring of the governors by the EFCC.

On the chances of the young man in a complex political terrain like Kano State, the source noted that it is one thing to want to declare oneself for political service and another game all together when one is inside the political fray with all its ups and downs. He added that for now, many people are urging on Mohammed Abacha to join politics and based on this, it seems he is a popular choice of the people. He, however, expressed pains that some of these persons singing his praise worthiness are not singing it out of genuine concerns but are simply out to milk his purse.

He stated that in the political equation of Kano state, the family of the Abachas, no doubt, enjoy some form of love and respect, despite their demonization by a section of the media in the country, but he feared that Mohammed Abacha might be his own undoing, given that he is seen as a character that does not mingle with others outside his class of select friends, adding that he rarely steps out to visit people when they are bereaved and is hardly available for other kinds of social engagements in the community. This character trait, he stated, means a lot to the people of the north and Muslims generally. Efforts to reach out Alhaji Mohammed Abacha for comment were unsuccessful.

June 6, 2009


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