How Obasanjo Gave Tacit Support to the Emergence of ‘New PDP’
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo was fully aware of plans by aggrieved Governors of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) together with some other leaders of the party to walk out of last weekend’s mini-convention as a prelude to forming a breakaway faction, it was revealed on Tuesday.
Obasanjo, according to sources, was not only involved in the emergence of the ‘New PDP,’ he indeed gave tacit support to the breakaway group, since according to him, all efforts to resolve the crisis rocking the party had come to naught.
Obasanjo, it is said, was privy to the plans by the aggrieved governors to stage a walkout if their interest was not protected.
The former President, according to sources, was not only notified, he gave his support to the move, should things go awry at the convention ground.
He was said to have been uncomfortable with the way the leadership of the party was carrying on in spite of efforts to resolve some internal crisis.
It was learnt that efforts were made by elders of the party, including Obasanjo, to get the leadership to address some critical issues raised by some aggrieved members; and assurances were given that those issues would be considered during the mini-convention.
However, there were indications that the leadership of the party was likely not going to keep to their promise, prompting the aggrieved members to hatch a Plan B, which Obasanjo endorsed.
It is said that was one of the reasons why he stayed away from the convention. When it was obvious that the party leadership was about to pull a fast one on them, the aggrieved members led by the seven governors walked out of the convention ground and headed for the Yar’Adua Centre where they declared their intension to work independently of the Tukur-led PDP.
The faction broke away last Saturday during the party’s mini-convention in Abuja in what has been variously described as its toughest crisis since its formation 15 years ago.
But curiously, as soon as this happened, Obasanjo who was conspicuously absent at the convention, flew to Abuja on Sunday to meet with President Goodluck Jonathan and some of the factional members of the party, including the aggrieved Governors.
The Sunday meeting was attended by 16 Governors and Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Bamanga Tukur-led PDP, Tony Anenih.
It was reliably gathered that the former President’s anger over the treatment meted out to many of his protégés in recent times by the party has not waned, which was why, it was gathered, he directed the Governors to walk out of the convention venue to demonstrate their reservation to the way the leadership was running the affairs of the party.
Besides, the source said, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar was really never in the picture when the plan to break the party was hatched.
“He was brought in few minutes before the commencement of the convention by Kano State Governor, Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso, who informed him about their plan,” said the source who craved anonymity.
The source added: “Atiku replied that they can always count on him in any plan, adding that he has been telling them that the party has been captured by forces against the interest of Nigerians.
“Atiku told Kwankwaso that the Governors should be bold enough to break the back of the party Chairman, Bamanga Tukur, and to move against him.
“So, as soon as it became clear that the aggrieved members’ interest was not being taken into consideration and the Adamawa Governor, Murtala Nyako, led his state delegates in a walkout, Kwankwaso gave Atiku the signal and they all walked out.”
The source, however, said the emergence of Atiku as leader of the faction, forced Obasanjo to retrace his steps from coming out to endorse the group.
“The original plan was for Obasanjo to be named the Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the New PDP on Sunday. And the full involvement of Obasanjo ‘boys’ in the faction should have sent enough message that the former President was fully in the know of what was going on,” the source said