Election

Concerns over Buhari's health worries Northern elders

Some fresh indications are beginning to emerge that some prominent Northern leaders who initially endorsed the candidature of General Buhari, now appears to be having some rethink because of Buhari's health.

It was reported last week that the former president collapsed during the presidential rally of his party held in Calabar, Cross River state. He is said to be suffering from a serious health challenge which the party denied. Even as that, it was learnt that the development had prompted a meeting among top hierarchy of the Norther political big weights to review their stands.

The case of the late president Umaru Yar'Adua in May 2010, who succumbed to debilitating sickness without completing his tenures is still very fresh in their minds. "The North is beginning to rethink the promised support for Buhari in view of reports that he is suffering from a certain ailment which is believed to be wearing him down. There are also reports that the elders are pushing to cut a deal with Jonathan to complete his tenure in 2019 but extract a promise that power would be returned to the North via a younger and energetic Northerner," a source said.

But APC spokesman in the South-East, Comrade Osita Okechukwu, had dismissed claims about Buhari's health, saying that the alarm was designed to create doubts about the APC presidential candidate. He said: "They are only trying to dig up what is non-existent; no record of their claim.

The General has his doctor and anyone can contact him, rather than speculate." A Northern politician said at the weekend that the North was still suffering from the effect of Alhaji Yar'Adua's death in office, adding that it would be unfair to the North to risk the situation once again.

"There were reports that Yar'Adua was ill before he was picked by former President Olusegun Obasanjo for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ticket. We saw the crisis coming but we believed that only God determines how long a human being will live. It would be bad for the North to have power return to the South-West barely ten years after Obasanjo spent eight unbroken years in Aso Rock," the source said, adding that the option before the North was to cut a deal on 2019 when they could settle down to raise a strong candidate.

According him, the possibility of a truncated Northern presidency, in case Buhari mounts the saddle, will be too much for the North to bear again. He added that Yar'Adua's death, in 2010, resulted in power returning prematurely to the South, which is in line with the constitutional provisions. "If anything happens to Buhari, power will return to the South-West less than a decade after President Obasanjo left Aso Rock.

The prospects are grim, both for the North and even the South-East that is queuing for their own turn," another Northern top brass said at the weekend. Besides, it was gathered that President Goodluck Jonathan had, during his recent visit to the Minna Hilltop home of former military leader; General Ibrahim Babangida, discussed details of Buhari's health with the former military leader, a development that was said to have prompted the Minna General to turn his support to Jonathan. It was also gathered that prominent Northern leaders have already got wind of the discussions between IBB and Jonathan, leading to red hot discussions on the way forward in 2015.

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