By Ayoni M. Agbabiaka
A prominent member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and one-time member of the House of Representatives representing Jos North and Bassa constituencies of Plateau state, Honourable Sale Shehu Hassan, has accused Senator Lawal Shu’aibu of fanning the embers of sectional politics in the North.
Shu’aibu, the deputy national chairman (North) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was reported in the media yesterday saying that the leaders of the PDP in the North had resolved to support the candidacy of General Muhammadu Buhari in the 2015 general elections.
He had said in an interview with Blueprint: “Forget what they are telling you, forget what they are telling Nigerians. Of course, man must eat, but when it comes to that day (election day) you will see what is going to happen.”
However, in his reaction yesterday, Hassan said: “In order to fully understand the failure of leadership in our dear nation, particularly in the North, one only needs to read an interview of one of the most respected APC leaders, Senator Lawal Shu’aibu… I am a Nigerian from the northern part of our dear nation. I can, therefore, say that Sen. Shu’aibu is not in any way more northern than I am. Having served my country in the Federal House of Representatives, I feel I am a leading member of our great party, the PDP.’’
He said it was unfortunate that Shu’aibu made such a statement.
“But let me ask him, if he can be sincere to himself, let him mention any northern PDP leader who said he will vote for Buhari. The mass support from our teaming members is unshakable, as every state in the North has witnessed positive transformation of Jonathan’s administration.
“It is, therefore, mischievous and a blatant lie of the highest order for Lawal to make such comments. PDP is still controlling the North and a good number of our candidates contesting for various political offices – gubernatorial, Senate, Reps and state legislatures is a testimony that PDP is the party of the people.
“All PDP members are of the belief that losing presidential election will affect the party in totality, as such, they will not be tilted towards an anti-party election as Lawal.”
Hassan added: “Let me say it loudly, I am a card-carrying member of PDP and a stakeholder in Plateau and Abuja at the national level. But this is the first time I have heard such negative utterances so far, which I’m sure is not true. We are all working day and night campaigning for President Jonathan to win his second term come 2015.
“Yes, the issue of insecurity is worrisome and disturbing. But the insurgency was there before Jonathan’s administration. He is worried and doing his possible best to bring an end to it.
“One thing is certain, I believe Gen. Buhari is seeking to be Nigeria’s president, not a Northern president. I am hoping, even if alone, that Gen. Buhari will dissociate himself from the likes of Sen. Shu’aibu.”
Shehu insisted that Jonathan is not sectional or tribalistic. “He never said the South should vote for him; rather, he is seeking votes from all the states of the federation.
“So, if Lawal said North should vote for Buhari, does Buhari no longer need votes from the southern part of the country?”