|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.
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.