During the weekend, the campaign train of Aminu Tambuwal, governor of Sokoto state, stopped at the Minna, Niger state residence of former military President Ibrahim Babaginda (IBB). The governor, who is seeking the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2019 election, solicited the support of the elder statesman and Babaginda gave Tambuwal his blessings.
“I am very proud that you belong to the generation that want to keep Nigeria as one. You have a good team to keep that; I have no doubt that Nigerians will give you the opportunity to put these good ideas for the good of the country. You know the country, you understand the challenges of the country. I trust you will work base on your conviction for this country. You have my blessings and I will keep monitoring to ensure you don’t deviate,” he had said.
Supporters of the governor had gone to town saying the endorsement had brightened the chances of Tambuwal securing the ticket. But is Tambuwal the only PDP aspirant whom IBB has given his blessing?
Below is a list of some PDP presidential aspirants who visited Babangida has played host to and what he said to them:
The former minister of special duties visited Babangida on July 17. Like Tambuwal, Turaki solicited the support of the former military leader, saying he has all that is needed to improve the country.
During the visit, Babangida endorsed him while saying the agenda of the aspirant are capable of transforming the country.
“I am endorsing you because your road map can lead Nigeria to prosperity,” he had said.
“We were taught in the military that the unity of Nigeria must not be compromised; the programmes in your agenda are capable of transforming Nigeria. From your agenda, I believe you mean well for this country. I think if you are given the chance, Nigeria will witness tremendous development.
“Even though I have adopted you and you emerge as the president, I will follow you up so that if you derail, I will remind you of your promises.”
The former governor of Kaduna state and immediate past caretaker committee chairman of the PDP, also paid a visit to Babangida at his residence in Minna on August 4. During the visit, Makarfi highlighted some of his plans in dealing with the challenges facing the country.
The former president said Makarfi restored his hope of a new Nigeria, adding that the ex-governor has his blessings.
“I was almost losing hope in the country, as a military man I wouldn’t. But having heard from the distinguished senator, I have become more enlightened and emboldened to say we have hope in Nigeria,” he had said.
When Mark came calling
“Without fear or favour, you have made my day. We need a new narrative in this country. We can’t go on like we used to. We need an articulated vision of a new Nigeria. I am not surprised that you give such narrative of the country. You did well in the legislature and you handled well one of the most civilised and sophisticated states in Nigeria.
“You have my blessings and I will look forward to hearing from you on some of these articulations I heard from you today. Honestly I feel so proud.”
Babangida also endorsed Lamido, former governor of Jigawa state, when he paid him a visit on August 14.
The former governor solicited prayer and advice from the former military leader, who in his response, gave the presidential aspirant his blessings.
“Sule, Nigeria will be great with you as its president because you are a student of late Malam Aminu Kano, who saw and perceived life as struggle for the emancipation of the common man. Nigeria needs a new leadership because the current leadership lost focus, vision, courage to lead Nigeria to the promise land,” IBB was quoted to have said.
There are 12 presidential aspirants on the PDP platform. More than six have visited IBB, though the details of his discussions with some of them were not made public. He could have blessed them in private.
Among those who have visited Babaginda’s hilltop residence in Minna are former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, Senate President Bukola Saraki, former Senate President David Mark and Attahiru Bafarawa, ex-governor of Sokoto state.