ABUJA— Chairman of the Northern States Governors Forum, NGSF, Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State came under fire, yesterday, over his allegation that the Presidency had bribed prominent northerners for support ahead of the 2015 presidential elections.
While the Presidency accused him of rubbishing his office through frivolous allegations, Governor Jonah Jang of PlateauState also branded Governor Aliyu as the number one saboteur on the list of prominent northerners ready to betray northern interest.
Governor Aliyu had last Saturday alleged that the presidency had bribed about 400 prominent northerners to support President Jonathan in his alleged bid for re-election in 2015. He claimed that he would make the list public as soon as he obtained it.
Responding yesterday, Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Dr. Ahmed Gulak, told Vanguard on phone that the allegation was not only laughable but was also frivolous and unbecoming of a governor, who should know better.
Gulak noted with dismay the penchant by the Niger governor to throw up wild allegations which neither him nor any of his officials had been able to substantiate.
The presidential aide recalled that it was the same governor, who alleged that Jonathan signed an agreement with northern leaders to serve only a term but had not been able to produce a copy of the so-called agreement when challenged to prove his claim.
The Presidential adviser said: “Nigerians should be able to know Aliyu Babangida for who he is. He is reckless with speech and fond of trying to malign the President. They should just ignore him for always trying to play to the gallery.
“I think that the Niger State Governor is rubbishing the high office which he occupies and should learn to respect his office.
“President Goodluck Jonathan does not need to bribe anyone to win election if he decides to seek a second term in office. The Jonathan that we know must go round the country and campaign as he has been doing rather than seek to induce anyone for votes,” Gulak said.
In his response yesterday, Jang, factional chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, described Aliyu as number one on the list of betrayers of northern interests.
Jang said that if a list of those who have betrayed northern interests is ever compiled that Governor Aliyu would top the list on account of his alleged tendency of sowing seeds of distrust among the Northern political class.
He particularly accused Aliyu of using the crisis in the Northern States Governors Forum to further a sinister agenda.
In a statement issued by his media office in Abuja yesterday, Jang said: “The ultimate betrayal occurred when the northern governors met and agreed on Governor Jang as the consensus candidate of the North to become the chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum only for Governor Aliyu and his cohorts to betray the Northern Governors agreement.
“Maybe Governor Aliyu and his group do not see me as a Northerner and perhaps need to explain to us what makes you a northerner if they can so flagrantly disregard the collective decision.
“If Governor Aliyu is accusing anybody in the North of betrayal, maybe he should think hard to find out if these people did not learn the act from him. Nigerians are not stupid, the more the issues unravel, the more they see the root cause of some of the issues plaguing our polity today and those responsible through their deceit and dishonour which now means state governors can no longer sit down together and believe anything they agree on collectively”.
Contacted on the development yesterday, a senior media aide to Governor Aliyu promised to respond after making contacts with the governor but had not responded as at press time last night.