Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan have finally settled their differences, with reports indicating that the two leaders are now plotting multi-layer strategies to ensure victory for the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2015 general elections.
Details of the new rapprochement were, however, sketchy even though it was learnt that both leaders have agreed on a broad range of issues, including the need to ensure unity and victory for the ruling party in the next general elections.
While the media has been awash with reports of Obasanjo mediating between the governors and the president, Saturday Tribune was told that almost all the media reports failed to mention the direct reconciliation that took place between the two leaders, which even preceded the ongoing peace moves within the party.
Insider sources told our correspondent that Obasanjo agreed to mediate in the crisis within the Nigerian Governors` Forum (NGF) only after the peace deal between him and the president. It was gathered that the Ota farmer had opened up on his grouses with the president, with the source reporting that “the discussion has nothing to do with the president’s reelection bid in 2015.”
The source told the Saturday Tribune that the issues border on governance, certain state policies, state of the party and alleged attacks on loyalists of the former president. The president was also said to have expressed his own displeasure, with certain actions of the former leader including public criticisms by Obasanjo (of his administration) which could have been channeled privately, open campaign against his second term bid, even when he had not declared interest, as well as open disdain for the presidency by some loyalists of the former president.
It was learnt that the issue of attacks on the associates of the former President took the center stage. The issue include the removal of the former national Secretary of the party ,Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola which is till pendling in court,the dissolution of South West executive of the party,the Adamawa party executive crisis among others.
While it is not clear what the two leaders agreed on,it was learnt that the President may eventually give in to one or two demands of the former leader. It was also gathered that the two leaders may have resolved to use the court process as a spring board to meet some of the demands agreed to.
Saturday Tribune was told,however, that the former leader rer-reintegrate his associates back into the party. An endorsement of President Jonathan for another term is also said to be on the cards “but it is an issue the former leader is yet to take a stand on.”
It was further learnt that part of the results of the former president’s move was the peace meeting between the party’s national chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and the aggrieved governors of the party. The meeting which shocked bookmakers saw two rival camps in peace talks with both sides opening up frankly.
There are, however, conflicting reports on who actually brokered the peace deal. While some accounts credited Chief Tony Anenih with the feat, others cited former Head of State, AbdulSalami Abubakar. Other accounts noted that pro Jonathan governors, some of who were also once beneficiaries of the Ota farmer, initiated and sealed the peace deal. Some key loyalists of Obasanjo, it was gathered, asked him to open up to Jonathan in the interest of the polity.
Saturday Tribune was told that a major fallout of the deal was the new responsibility of Obasanjo as coordinator of the leaders caucus of the party, leading to his hosting the peace moves within the Governors’ Forum of the ruling party.
Reports indicated that Obasanjo has endorsed several other peace moves within the party, but he is said to be evasive about the fate of the party chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur. The focus, it was gathered, was to ensure that all outstanding issues are resolved before the August 31st convention of the party.
A party source said, “Baba is back inside, and events of the last one week confirm that the peace move is yielding results.”
Meanwhile, recent reports that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is plotting to dump the PDP may not be true after all, as the former vice-president has denied such plan on his twitter page.
While conceding that some of his associates were involved in the formation of the Peoples Democratic Movement, he declared that he remained a member of the ruling party.
A loyalist of Abubakar also denied news reports that the former vice president is in league with some governors to float a new party.
He said, “That story is not true. Those governors listed were never allies or associates of Atiku. Imagine that report linking Atiku with the likes of Sule Lamido, Murtala Nyako and Rabiu Kwankwaso? These are openly not his friends. So, how could they now form a new party with him?
“The truth is that most of the governors mentioned in that report are Obasanjo’s associates; and as reported by Saturday Tribune paper last week, Baba has directed his associates – including some of the governors – not to quit the PDP. And those affected have obeyed. That is why the peace move is on.”