All is not well in the political camp of Vice-President Namadi Sambo.

VP Namadi Sambo
VP Namadi Sambo

There is disquiet in the camp in the wake of erosion of his power base in Kaduna and the Northwest zone occasioned by mass defection of members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The zone comprises Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, Kebbi, Zamfara and Sokoto states.

Alhaji Sambo was until his emergence as Vice President the governor of Kaduna State.

The PDP has already lost Governors Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State, Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State and many federal and state legislators in the zone to the APC.

A former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Yaro Audi Makama, during the week led 74 stakeholders in PDP in Kaduna State, including seven former members of the State House of Assembly, to the APC.

A former governorship aspirant, Alhaji Suleiman Hukunyi, also left the PDP for APC.

The rumpus in Sambo’s base may pose a threat to his return as President Goodluck Jonathan’s running mate in 2015 unless the current situation is reversed.

Pressure is said to be building up in the Presidency for President Jonathan to drop Sambo for a political heavyweight who can deliver the zone in 2015.

The Vice-President’s initial response to the depletion of his power base was to meet with some power brokers believed to be northern governors.

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He denied last night that he was losing sleep over the defections and dismissed those crossing over to the APC as paperweight politicians.

It was gathered that the VP, on Christmas Day, held marathon meetings with some power brokers in the North on how to retain his grip on Kaduna State and improve the fortunes of the PDP in the North-West.

The meeting, which took place at the Presidential Villa, was also attended by Senator Hamisu Musa.

It was gathered that Sambo pleaded with the stakeholders to rally around him to regain the North-West for PDP.

According to a source, the VP was disturbed by the development in Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto, and Zamfara states.

It was learnt that the unpredictable direction of Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State has compounded the political calculation for 2015 because he is one of the aggrieved PDP governors.

One of the options at the session was to woo ex-Governor Ibrahim Shekarau from APC to PDP but the former Kano State helmsman was said to be “proving a hard nut” because of his distaste for the PDP.

A top source said: “ The meeting was more of a fire brigade session because apart from Kaduna State, the VP is losing control of the North-West to APC.

“The situation in Kaduna became more precarious because apart from the defection, the people of Southern Kaduna are not pleased with the power equation in the state after the death of Governor Patrick Yakowa.

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“The VP tried to make up by attending the first memorial ceremony of Yakowa but his presence did not assuage the anger of the people of Southern Kaduna, who are complaining of marginalization.”

A source described the North-West as a potential battleground in 2015 as it was in 2011.

“There is no doubt that he has a Herculean task at hand. He needs to have a position of strength to consolidate for 2015,” the source added.

But when contacted, the Vice- President said he was not threatened by the defection of some PDP leaders in Kaduna and other parts of the North.

Sambo, who spoke through his Special Adviser on Media, Alhaji Umar Sani, said the defection was not a “real loss.”

He confirmed Sambo’s meeting with some power brokers on Wednesday night but he was quick to dismiss it as a routine session.

Sani said: ”The defection was not a loss to the party or the VP in any way. But nobody or party will be happy to lose its members no matter how insignificant they are.

“Even in politics, nuisance value is important. Their absence however will not be felt. They were mere faces, they were not field members of the party.

“For instance, Ibrahim Yaro is physically incapacitated, he cannot win much political mileage. Also, Sule Buba was an Ambassador outside Nigeria and when he came back, he was given appointment at the pilgrims board by the late Governor Patrick Yakowa which did not last three months. The former PDP chairman, Makama, is also not a threat.

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“The irony is that the biological children of all these people who defected are still in PDP. This shows that they cannot even win votes or sympathy for the new party in their homes.

“If a leader like Husseini Jallo leaves the party, one can get worried. But those who left were paperweight politicians.

Responding to a question, Sani added: “Those people were not loyalists of the VP; they were only political associates.”

He insisted that the VP was not disturbed by the defection, saying: “We are not losing sleep at all. The VP is not shaken in any manner.”

Asked why the VP met with some power brokers at the Villa, Sani, said: “Politics is about permutations. We are hoping that our fortunes will improve substantially more than it was before.

“The VP is in control. He is always consulting all other stakeholders. He has been doing that. It has been an underground thing. That was why the meeting was held.”


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