Save Nigeria Group (SNG) is queuing behind an agenda to rally the opposition and the progressives behind Muhammadu Buhari who, many think, has the integrity and the clout to lead an electoral revolt against the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) next year.
SNG’s support for Buhari carries serious political implications for the PDP, given the messianic role the platform played in forcing the National Assembly to confirm the then Vice President Goodluck Jonathan the Acting President after a protracted medical sojourn of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, despite stiff opposition from PDP hawks and the Aso Rock mafia.
The move by the SNG comes less than a month after the convener, the Latter Rain Assembly firebrand Pastor, Tunde Bakare, openly endorsed Buhari for the presidential ballot in what pundits say, may redefine the contest for Aso Rock, particularly with the deepening internal schisms within the PDP over the propriety of President Jonathan’s ambition.
Bakare had spoken of building a consensus or a political movement, strong enough to dislodge the ruling PDP next year, and the need for Nigerians to queue behind the best of the North and the best of the South next year to protect the nation’s treasury.
The SNG was said to have reasoned at some of the various meetings already held by the group that in order to ensure wide support and acceptance of Buhari,
SNG was said to have told various consultative meetings it held with other stakeholders that there is need to harmonise all the political tendencies across the progressive fold to support a joint candidature of Buhari, taking into consideration his credentials as a disciplined and incorruptible leader who can address the rots in the polity, qualities they believe others in the race lack.
Sources said the SNG now has the nod of some elements in the opposition ACN, particularly some former governors in the South West who are said to be sympathetic to the Buhari candidature.
The development seems to have caused a minor disagreement in the ACN leadership as three of the former governors and party leadership are said to favour Buhari, while the younger elements are routing for the former anti-graft czar, Nuhu RIbadu, who they claim has no excessive political baggage unlike Buhari who critics accuse of religious fundamentalism.
Those in support of Buhari believe his new attitude as a democrat and having reached out to and got the support of Christian religious leaders countrywide now stand him in good plank for the job, beside his messianic appeal as about the cleanest of the Northern aspirants for the top job.
However, the SNG and other Buhari loyalists are still working to get the backing of former Lagos Governor, Bola Tinubu, whose group is said to have some reservations for the retired general.
“I can tell you that Tinubu and his group are not particularly against Buhari but they only wanted some concessions which I think would be worked out by all to have a united front before the convention of the party,” said a source who sought anonymity.
The SNG leadership is also said to have secured the backing of the leaders in Afenifere, Yoruba’s socio-political organisation, with whom SNG has held series of meetings on how to mobilise supporters in a bid to secure a bloc vote for Buhari during the general election.
Afenifere leaders have in the past three years been involved in moves to have a working relationship with Buhari and his supporters, culminating in routine meetings between the general and former presidential candidate of the defunct All Peoples Party (APP), Olu Falae.
SNG leadership had a crucial meeting in Abuja last Thursday during which the modalities to get the support of other influential political groups were discussed, sources said.