Yesterday was a watershed in the long, recent history of internal crisis bedeviling the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) as a result of a peace deal brokered by former President Olusegun Obasanjo between President Goodluck Jonathan and aggrieved governors of the party.
The meeting which was held at the State House, Abuja yesterday was attended by President Jonathan, former President Obasanjo and all the PDP governors.
It was gathered that the process to fully resolve the Nigeria Governors’ Forum’s (NGF) issue began yesterday night at another meeting between the president, Chief Obasanjo and the governors.
It had been reported over the weekend that the former president had directed the aggrieved governors not to quit PDP for the All Progressives Congress (APC), advising that their grievances should be ironed out within the party.
It was learnt that the former president was further encouraged by the initiatives of the PDP Governors’ Forum, who at their meeting on Sunday, resolved to reach out to Obasanjo to broker the peace deal.
According to insider sources, the meeting at the State House tentatively agreed on some salient issues, the key one being what the sources called the resolve of the entire aggrieved not to quit the party.
“The reconciliation is ongoing but certain positions were agreed on. One, there should no longer be any media war among parties to the dispute. Two, the aggrieved should forget any thought of quitting the party. Three, that the parties and their grievances should be looked into,” the source said.
Further checks, however, showed that the peace move with the aggrieved governors is still an ongoing process with reports indicating that some of the governors complained of alleged ongoing attacks against their interests.
Sources close to the meeting said that most of the governors believed that their relationship with the chairman had broken down completely.
The sources further said that the meeting pinpointed Alhaji Bamanga Tukur as the source of the problem in the party and the sour relationship between the president and a number of the governors.
“Many of the governors stated that they don’t have issues with the president but that Tukur’s conduct was breeding crisis,” a source said adding that the elders of the party might consider the sack option if Tukur continues to be the problem.
Another source said that the chairman had targetted the governors, thus making his tenure crisis ridden.
A source further said, “Much of the issues being trumpeted actually have no bearing with the agitation of the governors. They were able to pinpoint that the crisis in the party revolved mainly around Tukur’s style. The governors see the situation as irredeemable and Obasanjo pleaded for time to enable the president wade fully into the division within the governors. There was a hint however that if Tukur continues to be seen as the pro blem, he coulkd become the sacrificial lamb.”
A source further said that when the issue of the crisis in the Nigerian Governors’ Forum came up for discussion, there was a suggestion that both rival chairmen, Governors Rotimi Amaech of Rivers and Jonah Jang of Plateau be asked to step down for a neutral candidate.
The source, however, said that there was no final resolution as the matter was left for the governors to decide among themselves.
Meanwhile, the reconciliation committee of the PDP yesterday hosted 13 non-PDP states with the committee chairman, Governor Seriake Dickson, declaring that “the PDP is a national party not based on ethnic or religious sentiments.
“PDP is involved in multi-level reconciliation at various levels.We are achieving success in our efforts and this meeting is part of the ongoing efforts to rebuild the party.We have 13 states here and we intend to brainstorm on how to move the party forward,” the governor said.
Governor Dickson posited that PDP is the only truly Nigerian party which he said focuses on issues rather than “whipping up ethnic sentiments in the electoral process, insisting that the PDP reconciliation process is taking into account previous and existing efforts in rebuilding the party.”
In a related development, the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku also yesterday boasted that there is no alternative to Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in terms of leadership quality and vision.
Maku who briefed the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) on the scorecard of the ministry said that none of the political parties making noise would have made Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) independent.