Obasanjo Aware of Jonathan’s One Term Pact, Says G-5 Governors
The five northern states’ governors opposed to the alleged plan by President Goodluck Jonathan to run for another term in 2015 have said that former president Olusegun Obasanjo was aware that the incumbent Nigerian leader agreed to serve for one term.
The governors who are elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have therefore challenged Obasanjo to speak out on the matter, insisting that Jonathan in 2011 had a pact with the north not to seek re-election after his first term in office.
The governors are Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (Kano), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto) and Muazu Babangida Aliyu (Niger).
Since they insisted on the removal of the PDP national chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, from office to pave way for peace in the party, the governors have been having a running battle with President Jonathan.
According to the governors, Obasanjo had at the grand finale of the PDP presidential campaign in March 2011 acknowledged the pact when he said: “We are impressed with the report that Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has already taken a unique and unprecedented step of declaring that he would only want to be a one-term president. If so, whether he knows it or not, that is a sacrifice and it is statesmanly. Rather than vilify him and pull him down, we as a party should applaud and commend him and Nigerians should reward and venerate him. He has taken the first good step; let us encourage him to take more good steps to achieve what we need to achieve for this country by voting for him in landslide victory as the first elected president of Nigeria on basis of our common Nigerian identity and for the purpose of actualising the Nigerian dream. God bless you all.’’
A source close to one of the governors said the lingering crisis in the PDP has continued unabated because Obasanjo has kept silent over the controversial one-term pact Jonathan allegedly entered into prior to his emergence as the PDP presidential candidate in 2011.
The source said the raging controversy on whether Tukur should resign or not is not the thrust of the current crisis in the party, but “just an aspect of it.”
He said: “All the noise about Tukur’s resignation or not as national chairman of the party is just an aspect of the crisis that is not as important as the main issue that all leaders of the party have been running away from. We have not asked ourselves why the crisis has not ended, even when the former president has made very frantic efforts to intervene and settle the problems; it is not about Tukur, it is beyond Tukur.
“For instance, the governors want a situation whereby someone would be courageous to say this was what happened at a particular time and who played what roles; that is the essence of the endless crisis and the consultations that have been undertaken in the last one month or so.
“At their meeting with the former president in Abeokuta, Ogun State, the governors, to the best of my knowledge, told him to save the PDP from further crisis by speaking out on the controversial one-term pact President Jonathan had with the governors in 2011 because, if not for him, the permutations trailing the 2010 presidential primary would have been different.”
He disclosed that it was Obasanjo who pleaded with the governors to support Jonathan in the presidential primary just as the support came after the said agreement had been reached, adding: “Obasanjo’s speech at the grand finale of the 2011 presidential campaign of the PDP at the Eagle Square in Abuja was informed by the acceptance by Jonathan to do one term in office.”
The source said, contrary to insinuations, the five northern governors will not leave the PDP because “they have vowed to fight on in the party and redress the injustice and inequity”.
Governor Lamido’s chief press secretary, Umar Kyari, confirmed that his principal and other governors who are involved in the nationwide consultation with prominent Nigerian leaders to save the PDP will not dump the ruling party.
“The issue is that very many stories are already flying that the governors are behind the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) and all that. To be honest with you, they are members of the PDP who started the party from inception and cannot afford to abandon it for total strangers because of disagreements; whatever the disagreements are, they have to be sorted out from within the PDP and not from outside,” Kyari said.
Governor Aliyu had early this year stirred controversy when he disclosed that President Jonathan signed an agreement with PDP governors that he would serve a term of four years only if he emerged as the party’s presidential candidate and subsequently elected president.
The governor said the agreement became necessary in view of the agitation from the north that the region must complete the late president Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s term.
It was alleged that no fewer than 20 governors elected on the platform of the PDP signed the agreement with the president in December 2010.
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