Obasanjo begged Babangida to persuade me to step down for Buhari in 2006 ANPP primary– Yerima

 


Ahmed Yerima, former governor of Zamfara, says he was asked to drop his presidential ambition for Muhammadu Buhari in the buildup to the 2007 elections.

According to Yerima, ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo begged Ibrahim Babangida, a former military president, to persuade him against running for the election.

Yerima spoke on Friday during a Channels Television’s programme titled “Inside Sources”, which was hosted by Laolu Akande, the former spokesperson of ex-Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.

 

BACKGROUND

Yerima was the governor of Zamfara state from 1999 to 2007. He was one of the presidential hopefuls who sought the ticket of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) ahead of the 2007 elections.

 

In December 2006, during the ANPP national convention, Yerima climbed the podium and announced that he had stepped down for Buhari, who was also running for the position.

 

Buhari was declared the winner of the ANPP presidential primary.

 

On the other hand, the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua got the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

 

Yar’Adua was the anointed candidate of Obasanjo, who at the time was completing his two-term tenure in 2007.

 

Yar’Adua won the 2007 presidential election, while Buhari came second.

 

‘WHY I STEPPED DOWN FOR BUHARI’

Speaking during the interview, Yerima said before the ANPP’s national convention, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) agreed that Buhari should become the sole presidential candidate of the north and that other contestants in the region should step down.

 

The former governor said he was approached by the forum to step down, adding that he told them that he would think about it.

 

Yerima said he dropped his ambition after Babangida requested him to step down for Buhari.

 

“President Obasanjo made sure that he brought General Ibrahim Babangida, who is still alive, and begged him for me to step down. He was in PDP and I was in ANPP,” he said.

 

He said Obasanjo did not want him to contest against Yar’Adua, his anointed candidate, because he knew that the ANPP primary election would be won by him.

 

“At that time, the security report showed him, according to my information, that I had all the delegates in my hand, except Kano and Katsina, I left for Buhari, at that time,” he said.

 

 “I had all the state chairmen of ANPP of all 36 states and Abuja supporting me. The government knew that if I got the ticket, it was going to be a very difficult task for PDP to win for Yar’Adua to become president.

 

“Then, Obasanjo sent an aircraft to bring IBB and requested him to please talk to me so I can step down for Yar’Adua.

 

“Babangida sent the late Engineer Abdulkadir Kure, the former governor of Niger state, and even the former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa, they were sent to come to me and to beg me to step down,” Yerima said.

 

Asked if Buhari was aware of the underground political moves, the former governor responded in affirmation.

 

“They (referring to Kure and Bafarawa) came to me in the night after 8 o’clock, and after greetings, I asked my people to go out, and they said IBB sent them to me. I said yes, he said you were coming,” he recalled.

 

“They said, ‘The only favour he wants you to do for him is to step down for Buhari tomorrow; the convention is tomorrow.’ I said, ‘Oh my God! Please tell him I’ve accepted; I’ve committed myself to do the favour for him.

 

“They said, ‘No, he said whatever your answer is, we should call him and you will tell him by yourself.’ And they called IBB and I told him, ‘Sir, tomorrow I will step down for Buhari.’

 

“Immediately they left, I went to the national chairman, Chief Ume-Ezeoke, and I told him that tomorrow I was going to step down for Buhari.”

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