By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna.
Immediate past President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan sneaked into Minna Tuesday afternoon and was intelligently harangued into the home of former Military President, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida at the Uphill area of the city without even the slightest suspicion of the prying eyes of news hunters.
Feelers at the Uphill however told our correspondent hours after Jonathan had again sneaked out that the former President arrived at the state capital, Minna at about 10:30am by road and was accompanied on the visit to the two former leaders by the immediate past Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda from Zamfara State and Jonathan’s former Chief of Staff, Chief Mike Okhiadome from Edo state in a chauffeur driven Sport Utility Vehicle, (SUV).
The secret visit beat curious and prying eagle eyes of journalists in the state and even government officials including security details as no one had any clue about the visit before and even afterwards.
However sources close to the Uphill residence of the former leader said the visit was secretly kept with tight, sealed lips by the visitor and his hosts just as their homes were cleared of all hangers-on and other visitors hours prior to Jonathan’s arrival.
An impeccable source told our correspondent that Jonathan and his escorts were in Minna before noon and made their first port of call at the Uphill residence of former Military President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida before shifting to the residence of former Head of State, General Abdulsalami A. Abubakar after nearly two hours talk with Babangida.
The secret visit by Jonathan to Minna has only left on its heels speculations since there has not been any official statement from the two former leaders nor their visitor.
But spinners and mongers have been reading meanings to the visit. Popular amongst what is being speculated is that the visit may not be unconnected with the rumoured plans by the present administration to probe the immediate past regime of Jonathan.
A sourced reasoned that the various allegations of financial misappropriations against the Jonathan led government were becoming too much hence the need for the intervention of the former leaders to dissuade President Muhammadu Buhari to soft pedal on the planned probe so as not to rock the ship of state.
The meeting held behind closed doors at the homes of the two leaders separately is speculated to be a grand effort to involve the two leaders who are well respected and revered across the country and beyond.
Our source said at IBB’s palatial residence, the visitors were ushered into one of private rooms where their host was waiting and ready for his visitors as soon as they arrived.
“But Jonathan alone was ushered upstairs, inside Babangida’s private living room as against the traditional sitting room for receiving visitors.” It was within the confines of the closed door that the leaders had enough privacy to discuss what has remained secret to the rest of the world.
Our source said while the two former leaders were brooding over Jonathan’s co travellers, (former Ministers; Bashar Yuguda and Mike Okhiadome) waited at the living room downstairs where they awaited Jonathan and his host who emerged from the “hideout” soon after they were done.
But a political observer opined differently that the meeting between the former leaders may be part of the ongoing calls for truce between agitators of the Niger Delta and the federal government over recurring sabotage of the nation’s economic source.
The two former leaders, (IBB and Abdulsalami) have been speaking out against the backdrop of cessation of hostilities at the Niger Delta region. “It is possible that leaders agreed to further brood together as concerned leaders” said our source.
“The spate of bombings and wanton destruction of the living springs of the country must have brought these leaders to talk things over on behalf of the present regime for the good of the country” our source added.
Former President Jonathan and his escorts after his meetings with the two former leaders, later left Minna after nearly three hours visit.