PDP Crisis: Jonathan Draws Battle Line, Rejects G-7 Govs’ Demands
President Goodluck Jonathan has drawn a battle line with the governors who staged a walkout on him and announced the formation of a faction penultimate Saturday, a day the party was holding its special convention.
A pro-Jonathan governor who in confidence said the president had resolved not to acquiesce to any of the demands the seven governors presented to the PDP Elders’ Committee led by former president Olusegun Obasanjo on Friday.
At the meeting summoned by the former president which was attended by former military president Ibrahim Babangida, chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT) Tony Anenih, senators Ahmadu Ali and Barnabas Gemade (both former national chairman of the PDP), the governors led by their factional chairman, Alhaji Kawu Baraje, insisted on the following as the immediate terms for peace: immediate resignation of PDP national chairman Bamanga Tukur, conduct of a fresh national convention, a commitment from President Jonathan that he would not run for a second term in 2015, recognition of Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State as chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), lifting of the Rivers governor’s suspension, reinstatement of the Rivers and Adamawa state chapters of the PDP, a directive by the president to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to stop investigating some of the governors in the new PDP, their officials and certain leaders in the fold.
According to the governor, President Jonathan had received early briefings from Anenih and the Bayelsa State governor, Henry Seriake Dickson, on his arrival from Kenya on Saturday.
While Anenih was said to have briefed the president in the evening of Saturday, Governor Dickson was the president’s guest in the early hours of Sunday to present what the source described as “preliminary report” by the governors in the president’s camp. The Bayelsa governor was said to have also used the meeting with the president to request a meeting with the pro-Jonathan governors.
As at the time of this report, the president was in a dinner with members of the PDP BoT, stakeholders and other loyalists after his meeting with the governors loyal to him.
The governor said: “There is no way the president can allow such impunity to continue in the party all in the name of unity and cohesion; none of these governors, I am sure, would have tried this nonsense under Chief Obasanjo; and maybe because the man had always presented a meek mien, they think he is weak and does not know what to do at the right time.
“I know he is waiting for the report of the Elders’ Committee, maybe on Monday or Tuesday, but I can tell you that the issues raised by the seven governors are dead on arrival. I can beat my chest on this because they have crossed the lines of respect, and disrespect has crept in.
“From all indications, Mr President has called their bluff because, in the first place, most of the terms for settlement are either premature or irresponsible. How can they say the president should say he would not run? Is that possible by any circumstance?
The governor further disclosed that the president’s resolve was informed by the fact that he had held a closed-door meeting with three of the seven governors at the villa two days to the walkout and the formation of the new PDP. The president was said to have pleaded with them to sheathe their swords in the war of attrition that had characterised the party, he said. It was agreed at the meeting that Governor Amaechi was to have a one-on-one meeting with the president after the convention where all issues of discord were to be ironed out.
“The outcome of the walkout and swiftness with which the new PDP was formed, including the prepared speech by Baraje, meant that the action of the governors was premeditated, hence agreeing to their terms may be difficult,” the governor added.
However, it was gathered that President Jonathan has set up three special committees to deal with the festering PDP crisis. Details of the membership of the committees are still sketchy as at press time. But it was gathered that the committees are political, legal and contacts committees.
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