Jonathan, Rebel Govs Agree To ‘Ceasefire’ … To Meet Again On Oct. 7

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Photo Credit: Punch
President Goodluck Jonathan and the aggrieved governors in the New  Peoples Democratic Party   have agreed to sheath  their swords as they commence  immediate action towards the resolution of the crisis in the party.

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The decision was reached at a meeting  they held on Sunday at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Sunday night.
This was disclosed in a communique issued after the meeting, which ended around 11:00 pm.
A statement issued at the end of the talks was read by one of the seven aggrieved governors in the New PDP  and  Niger State Governor  Babangida Aliyu.
He was surrounded by Jonathan, Vice-President Namadi Sambo, and  the Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih.
Other governors in the New PDP in attendance were Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Rabiu Kwakwanso (Kano), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Sule Lamido (Jigawa) and Abdulfattah Ahmed (Kwara).
In the Bamanga Tukur-led PDP were  Liyel Imoke (Cross River)  Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom) and Idris Wada (Kogi).
 In the statement, the parties to the talks also  agreed to avoid inflammatory statements on contentious issues,  pending the resolution of the crisis.
The statement  reads in part, “With a view to resolving the recent crisis in our party and sequel to the number of meetings convened by leaders and stakeholders and the governors of Adamawa, Niger, Rivers, Kwara, Sokoto, Jigawa, Akwa Ibom, Kogi, Kano and Cross Rivers states met with the President, the Vice -President and the chairman of the BOT  and extensively deliberated on various issues over a three -day period.
“The meetings were cordial and deliberations fruitful with a clear commitments on all sides to resolve all issues raised at the meetings.
“The meeting also called on all parties to sheath their swords and avoid further inflammatory comments on issues particularly during the course of our deliberations as we have all agreed to resolve all the differences.
“In the interim, all parties have accepted to commence immediate action and agreed towards complete resolution of all matters and continue to meet until all processes toward reconciliation are concluded amicably.”
The statement also disclosed that the “meetings will continue on  October 7, 2013.”  It added that both sides would ensure that the problems in the party were resolved.
“We will make sure and ensure that there is progress in resolving the crisis,” they   said in the statement.
The meeting   was initially scheduled to commence by 10pm, but it   started at 4.35pm. Also, the venue  was moved from House Seven, a guest house in the Presidential Villa where it was slated to hold  to one of the meeting rooms in the First Lady’s Wing of the State House.
Security officers in the Presidential Villa instructed journalists to stay away from the vicinity of the meeting.
They said the parley was a private meeting and therefore not open to the media.
Amaechi, who  was among the first to arrive, drove himself . He was closely followed by Aliyu.
The PUNCH learnt that one of the reasons the meeting was commenced earlier than it was initially scheduled was because Jonathan was  to meet with Anenih, Tukur and Baraje  by 11pm  also on Sunday.
As of the time of filing this report, the outcome of the meeting had not been made public.
A similar meeting on Tuesday  between Jonathan and   some of the aggrieved governors   ended in a deadlock.
The aggrieved  governors had during the   meeting tabled before Jonathan,  some conditions  from the   New PDP which must be met before  they would return to the mainstream  PDP.
The demands included the sacking of Tukur as the PDP national  chairman; sticking to a one-term tenure by the President by  not seeking re-election in 2015, and stopping the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission from further investigating them.
Others  are  that the President  must  halt the plans to take over PDP’s  structure in their various states, the resolution of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum crisis and the recall of  Rivers State Governor  Rotimi Amaechi  from suspension.
  Baraje  and another chieftain of the New PDP, Senator Bukola Saraki,  had said only two or three of the demands  had partially been  addressed.
Baraje  claimed that the President and the Tukur-led PDP had  accepted to reverse the dissolution of the Adamawa State  chapter executives and to rescind the suspension of Amaechi.
 Less than 72 hours  after, the New PDP  leader added   that his team and  the aggrieved   governors    had given  Sunday (yesterday)   as the last opportunity for a truce to be  reached.
But the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Ahmed Gulak, said on Friday, that his boss would not meet any of the demands of the aggrieved governors and other members of the New PDP.
Meanwhile, lawmakers loyal to the  Baraje-led PDP  will meet on Monday (today) to discuss how to approach their legislative functions as the National Assembly resumes tomorrow (Tuesday).
It was learnt in Abuja that the members of the group  are to play a greater role in the scheme of things within the two chambers.
A source said the members of the group were of the opinion that those in the Tukur-led faction who are  currently leading the National Assembly, might thwart their plans if there was need for  reforms to be carried out in the assembly.
The source said the meeting was  basically to set an agenda for legislative business as Senators and members of the House of Representatives resume.
According to him,  issues on the agenda  include an appraisal of the legal actions so far initiated  by the factions as well as other options that may be available if the crisis persisted.
A member of the group , who also asked not to be named, said, “Our meeting is aimed at basically setting the agenda in the light of current happenings within our party and the polity.
“We now have the numbers to effect some changes in the way things are done with about 90 to 125 members of the house  and close to 55 Senators. So,  I think we have the numbers.”
He also expressed confidence that the 137 members of the All Progressives Congress in the House would support the faction.
 A Senator, who is a member of the group, confided in one of our correspondents that the  House members and Senators would hold separate meetings before an enlarged one to harmonise positions.
It was also learnt on Sunday that the Senate leadership had summoned a PDP caucus meeting for 8pm on Monday(today).
This, according to an informed source, is aimed at dousing tension ahead of Tuesday’s resumption.
He added that  the notice for the meeting  was sent via short message service.
The source said, “We received text messages this(Sunday) evening inviting the Senate caucus of the National Assembly for a meeting tomorrow (Monday).
Meanwhile, the   National Treasurer of the New PDP,  Alhaji Tanko Gwamna, has resigned from the faction.

Source: Punch

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