PDP Crisis: Another Peace Meeting Ends in Deadlock
Attempts by Former Heads of State Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida to broker peace between the warring faction of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP yesterday ended in a deadlock as the promoters of the break-away faction of the party known as “new PDP” insisted that the conduct of a fresh national convention was the only “immediate path to peace” in the party.
Obasanjo’s intervention came after two failed attempts by the leadership of the PDP to resolve the crisis, even as reports had it that President Goodluck Jonathan had directed party elders, especially his loyalists, to shun the parley with the former president on the grounds that he (Obasanjo) was responsible for the festering row in the party.
The meeting which had Obasanjo alongside former military president Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) Chief Tony Anenih, erstwhile national chairmen, senators Barnabas Gemade and Ahmadu Ali in attendance met with the two PDP factions at three separate venues at Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja.
While the elders met with the Bamanga Tukur-led PDP in Niger Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, the parley with the Baraje group took place at the Kaduna Hall, just as the joint parley took place at the Lagos Hall of the hotel.
Tukur was accompanied by governors Henry Seriake-Dickson Bayelsa), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Emmanuel Uduaghan Delta), Idris Wada (Kogi), Ibrahim Shehu Shema (Katsina), Isa Yuguda (Bauchi) and Liyel Imoke (Cross River).
On the side of Baraje were governors Lamido, Wamakko and Amaechi. Others included Sam Sam Jaja, Oyinlola, senators Danjuma Goje, Abdullahi Adamu and Bukola Saraki.
The elders had to shuttle between the meetings throughout the duration of the five-hour meeting.
No truce was however reached at the meeting as a leaders of the ‘New PDP’ said in confidence that As long as the demand for a fresh convention does not get attention, the crisis still lingers and we are not going to reduce any of our demands for peace, principal of which is the conduct of a fresh convention with Tukur stepping aside; that is the irreducible path to peace,” he said.
Briefing journalists after the meetings which ended at 2:55 pm, Obasanjo said: “Gentlemen of the press, I thank you for exercising patience. Let me point out, you have seen five of us as select elders of the party. We have taken it upon ourselves to prevent the worst from happening to our dear party.
“Two of our members are abroad and could not join us. They are Solomon Lar, Alex Ekwueme; and we are carrying them along. Whatever the reports we are making, suffice it to say that it is the family dispute within the PDP which we want to stem the tide of going to the brink. And I want to say that we have met with the two sides of the family; we have listened to them, and of course, we are going to put our heads together and go on from there.”
A pro-Jonathan governor also gave an indication that the crisis was not resolved at the meetings. “We are still on it; it is gradual process. God will help us to resolve it, at least in the interest of the party. God will see us through,” he said.
But there was a mild drama amidst the series of meetings as both Lamido and Amaechi taunted Tukur with “former chairman”.
As Funke, Obasanjo’s daughter, was exchanging pleasantries with Tukur, Lamido held her hand and dragged her away; but her insistence that she wanted to greet the chairman elicited a joke from Lamido who said: “Which chairman? You mean the former chairman?
Amaechi’s was even more dramatic as he accosted Tukur with a harder joke. “Former chairman, thank God we now have a brand new chairman who understands the constitution that if you suspend a party man and the NEC does not ratify that suspension after 30 days, the action (suspension) automatically lapses.”
The chairman of the new PDP, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, accompanied by Lamido, moved to inspect the secretariat of the new PDP located at Plot 3206 A, No. 4 Oyi River Crescent, Maitama District. It was the former office of the National Democratic Party (NDP).
Construction was still going on in the building as labourers were seen placing interlocking tiles on the road leading to it. The gate was painted in the red, white and green colours of the PDP. A partially covered signpost on the building revealed an insignia similar to that of the PDP.
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