Billy Graham Abel, Yola
Vice President, Yemi Osinbanjo, this evening failed to convince Adamawa Christian leaders, to throw their weight behind President Muhammadu Buhari, ahead of Saturday’s rescheduled presidential poll.
Osinbajo’s was said to have sneaked into Yola International Airport at about 7:15 pm and went straight to the Catholic Secretariat for a scheduled meet with leaders of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Adamawa State.
While details of the meeting with CAN were not made public, our correspondent gathered that attempts by the vice president to convince the Christian leaders to endorse Buhari for a second term failed catastrophically.
According to a source, Osinbajo left the meeting disappointed as CAN leaders confronted the pastor-turned-politician with issues ranging from Leah Sharibu’s captivity to incessant herdsmen attacks on Christian communities in the state among other issues which the APC government of Buhari had woefully failed to address. The source said the Christian leaders were candid and frank with the vice president.
The source said: “It was frank talk, as the Christian leaders were blunt with the VP on their grievances against the Buhari-led government.
Our correspondent gathered that the CAN Chairman and Catholic Bishop of Yola, Most Rev Stephen, Dami Mamza, had earlier declined the VP’s request to have audience with Christian leaders for fear that it would certainly be subjected to political interpretations coming hours before the presidential elections.
Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) was said to have persuaded CAN to grant audience to Osinbajo on three conditions: that the meeting would not involve the media, that the VP would not canvass support for any APC candidate, including Buhari and that the VP would respect the conditions laid down.
The meeting was said to have ended in an impasse as the VP could not provide answers to burning issues that had inspired CAN protest last year including the neglect of Leah Sheribu and other Christian girls from Chibok still being held by the Boko Haram terrorists and matters pertaining to herdsmen attacks. Also on the front burner was the alleged involvement of Nigerian Air force jet fighters in one of the attacks on an Adamawa community according to eye witnesses and the Amnesty International.
This development is coming amid strong speculations that elections might not hold this Saturday in three volatile states of Adamawa, Borno and Kaduna as alleged by Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The speculation might be a result of an earlier meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and the governors of Adamawa, Borno and Kaduna states, with the service chiefs within the week.
The current Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mustapha, is a known Christian leader in Adamawa State, having served as the state chairman and a national vice chairman of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship and had hoped that his influence would be helpful in persuading Christian leaders in the state to drum support for the Buhari administration.