PDP’s Break-Up: Obasanjo Intervenes, Meets Jonathan
- As President Meets With Kwankwaso, Aliyu, Nyako, Ahmed, 12 Others
- Why Atiku, Govs Formed Splinter Group
|Photo Credit: Tribune
From left, President Goodluck Jonathan; former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and President Boni Yayi of Benin Republic chatting after a worship service at the Aso Villa Chapel on Sunday.FORMER president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has intervened in the crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and has appealed to all aggrieved members of the party to sheathe their swords in its interest.
The former chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of the party, in a statement personally signed by him and made available to the Nigerian Tribune on Sunday evening, said the outcome of the mini convention of the party held on Saturday had become source of concern to all well-meaning members.
Obasanjo noted that elders of the party would intensify effort in its reconciliatory move to ensure that the party did not lose its winning position in the country.
Nigerian Tribune learnt that the former president met with some major stakeholders of the party at his Hilltop residence, in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, shortly after he returned from Abuja, where he had gone to visit President Goodluck Jonathan.
It was also exclusively gathered that former governor of Ogun State, Chief Gbenga Daniel, paid a visit to Obasanjo in Abeokuta, on Sunday evening.
According to a reliable source, Daniel drove into the former president’s residence in a black Mercedes Benz Jeep, shortly after Obasanjo returned from Abuja.
The meeting, according to the source, lasted for about 45 minutes.
Details about the meeting was not known at the time of filing this report, but it was gathered that the former governor had, earlier in the morning, visited former governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, in Ibadan.
Meanwhile, the statement signed by Obasanjo said the meeting with the president centered on the future of the party after the factionalised special convention, adding that elders of the party would meet on how to resolve all issues by the end of the week.
“While some select elders are making efforts to get the situation resolved as soon as possible, it is imperative to emphasise that the move will bring back peace and return the party to its vigorous and dynamic election-winning way.
“I want to passionately appeal to both sides to sheath their swords, maintain the status quo, with earliest conveyance of the elders’ meeting before the end of this week.
“Members are equally enjoined to remain calm until the elders complete their peace-making meeting,” he said.
OBJ, Jonathan meet behind closed doors
Former president, Chief Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan, on Sunday, held a closed-door meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the outcome of the meeting was, however, not disclosed.
NAN reported that both Obasanjo, Jonathan, his wife, Patience and the visiting president of the Republic of Benin, Boni Yayi, had earlier held service at the Aso Villa Chapel.
The three leaders also visited the children’s church within the Presidential Villa.
Meanwhile, a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, said Presidents Jonathan and Yayi held bilateral talks.
The talks, according to Abati, focused on areas of strengthening development cooperation between Nigeria and Benin Republic.
Abati said the two leaders discussed trade and economic relations, adding, however, that Obasanjo did not participate in the talks.
Jonathan meets with Kwankwaso, Aliyu, Nyako, Ahmed, 12 others
In an apparent bid to reverse the split in PDP, President Jonathan, on Sunday night, summoned a meeting of governors elected under the platform of the party.
Governors present at the meeting at the time of this report included Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (Kano), Isa Yuguda (Bauchi), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Idris Wada (Kogi), Liyel Imoke (Cross River), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta), Ibrahim Shema (Katsina), Mukhtar Ramallan Yero (Kaduna), Garba Umar (Taraba acting governor), Saidu Dakingari (Kebbi), Theodore Orji (Abia), Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe) and Jonah Jang (Plateau).
Also in attendance was Vice President Namadi Sambo.
The president arrived at the meeting, held at the First Lady wing of the Presidential Villa, at about 9.25 p.m.
Also present were the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim; National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retd) and PDP’s attorney, Mr Joseph Gadzama.
Why Atiku, govs formed splinter group
It emerged on Sunday that the feuding governors of PDP, who teamed up with former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, to announce the formation of rival PDP on Saturday, took the decision to leave the Eagle Square when President Jonathan refused to intervene in their request for a change in the delegates list used for the convention.
Sources close to the party told the Nigerian Tribune on Sunday that the governors requested to meet with the president for a discussion immediately after his speech at the Eagle Square.
Following the request, Jonathan was said to have asked them and some other PDP governors to meet with him at the basement of the state box of the Eagle Square.
It was gathered that the governors requested a change in the unity list adopted for the convention.
They also requested that the president should intervene and ensure that the position of national organising secretary zoned to the North East was allotted to Kano State, because Kano is bigger than Kaduna, which is being made to produce the seat.
They also believed that the candidate adopted for that seat was a loyalist of Vice President Namadi Sambo.
Besides the seat of the national organising secretary, they also wanted the unity list doctored to accommodate Chief Sam Sam Jaja as deputy national chairman of the Party, while they were said to have equally requested that the president should facilitate the accommodation of the list of delegates prepared by loyalists of the governor of Adamawa State, instead of the one endorsed by the state executive put in place by the National Working Committee (NWC).
Jonathan was, however, said to have rejected the intervention.
According to a governor at the meeting, Jonathan told the agitating governors that the issues being raised were late in the day, as the stage was set for the conduct of free and fair election.
He was also said to have told the governors that they would have raised the issues before the convention date, adding that having promised a transparent process and convention, he would not intervene at that stage.
He also asked them to meet the national chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, for any further clarifications.
At that stage, the governors, who were said to have arrived the Eagle Square with a two-way agenda, went for plan B, which was to walk out of the convention ground and launch the new PDP.
Besides, it was also gathered that while the agitating governors had only mentioned their disagreement with Tukur as a ground for their agitation, they had, however, confirmed that one of the issues on their agenda was how to convince Jonathan to drop Sambo ahead 2015.
It was gathered that the G5 governors and others in their camp believed that if Jonathan must contest in the next election, one of them must emerge as his running mate.
Dissenting views in the presidency
It has been confirmed that the presidency is tinkering with two options in dealing with the crisis within PDP.
A source in the know told the Nigerian Tribune that while a group of advisers and operatives at the Presidential Villa were of the view that the president should go for the broke and deal decisively with the recalcitrant members of the PDP, others were of the view that the president should meet them half way.
One of the forces had argued that the recalcitrant PDP members be expelled, while the state executive committees in the six states be dissolved.
Others were, however, of the view that the president should hear the governors out and meet their demands half way.
But it was stated that the demands of the governors were not clearly stated other than the loud issue of their rejection of Tukur as chairman of the party.
A source said the request for the removal of Sambo was a tall order.
“Their request for the post of PDP national secretary, national organising secretary and deputy national chairman are difficult tasks that must go through the party system.
“The president would have loved to meet some of their demands directly within his powers. But how does he remove his deputy, who has been loyal to the government and the party all along? How does he pick the party officers outside the national convention?
“The move by the G5 governors and Atiku was principally to draw Jonathan out and make him to negotiate on their terms.
“We are studying their actions and the president is not going to be stampeded into taking political actions or kick starting the 2015 talk when he had asked Nigerians to wait till 2014,” the source said.
Reactions trail development
Ondo State chairman of the PDP, Ebenezer Alabi and its governorship candidate, Chief Olusola Oke, expressed divergent views over the developments.
While Alabi said it was unfortunate and portended great danger for the party, Oke believed the party would come out stronger.
Alabi, in his reaction to the crisis, said it was high time the party started soul searching to resolve its lingering crisis.
He, however, regretted that the grievances of the aggrieved governors were not addressed by the leadership the party, despite the several consultations and reconciliatory moves.
Oke, on his part, said the convention was not only a huge success but an open demonstration of genuine commitment of the party to democracy in the country.
“Unlike elsewhere, PDP has shown that internal democracy, transparency and adherence to rule of law and popular wish are its greatest asset,” he said.
A chieftain of the party in the South-West, Chief Ishola Filani, said “the party has not broken into two. It was after the convention that this thing happened. We held a very successful convention.
“Self interest could have dictated what the group that went to gather elsewhere did. It could be group interest or expression of dissatisfaction.
“The facts are not yet out, but PDP is one, we are all one. When the facts are out, it will guide the party to resolve the problems. I don’t blame anybody for the situation.”
Former Lagos State Commissioner of Police and social crusader, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, said PDP lacked internal democracy.
Tsav, in his reaction, said though he was not into partisan politics, but as an electorate, he owed it a duty to contribute to the problem rocking PDP.
“I am not surprised at the break-up of PDP, because the party lacks internal democracy, a party which allows spouses to interfere in machinery of government.
“People are insincere and blinded by their personal and parochial interests, rather than the nation and its people. Greed for wealth, political offices and desire for good life and deceit have further compounded the problems of PDP,” he said.
Also, former member of Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Chief Abu King Shuluwa and Minister of Interior, Mr Abba Moro, while speaking with the Nigerian Tribune through telephone, said the development would not disintegrate the party.
Shuluwa noted that the party had long been enmeshed in crisis, but regretted that the leadership did not show much concern before it degenerated.
“It is unfortunate that some people are running the party as their personal property, not minding what the crisis could portend,” he said.
Moro, also speaking on the issue, castigated the splinter group for walking out of the convention, stating that belonging to any party was voluntary.
Moro, however, said the crisis would be resolved as soon as the leadership settled down.
In his reaction, Lagos State PDP chairman, Tunji Shelle, in a statement he signed, said “the news of the parallel NWC is embarrassing to me as a member of the party and I believe every stakeholder should feel concerned by this unfortunate development.
“I am, however, inclined to appeal to the aggrieved members to allow truce, especially as some notable leaders of the party have risen up to the occasion, with a view to resolving the acrimony.
“The fact that the aggrieved persons have not defected but allegedly created a parallel NWC shows that they are still passionate about the party, even as their actions may have been too spontaneous, radical and threatening to the integrity of the party.”