PDP Crisis: Jonathan will Only Accept Reasonable Terms – Presidency
The Presidency has said that though President Goodluck Jonathan is committed to timely resolution of the crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party, he will not accept unreasonable terms.
The Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Ahmed Gulak, said this in an interview with one of our correspondents while explaining the President’s stand on the formation of a faction of the PDP by seven governors and some chieftains of the party at the party’s mini convention in Abuja last Saturday.
Gulak also told the aggrieved governors to concentrate on governance and stop overheating the polity.
The presidential aide explained that Jonathan was in support of various reconciliatory efforts by the leadership of the party. He, however, said the President would only accept “reasonable terms” in the efforts to reconcile with a faction of the party called, New PDP.
Gulak said that conditions such as the governors’ call on the President to stop the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission from probing them was ridiculous and unheard of, saying the President would not accept such.
On Jonathan’s stand on the peace moves initiated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, he said as the leader of the PDP, Jonathan had no objection to any move that could restore peace to the party. He added that the President had no reason to believe that Obasanjo was behind the governors since they were matured enough to take personal decisions.
On whether the President would support the move by Dr. BamangaTukur to declare the seats of pro-New PDP lawmakers vacant, the presidential aide said since members of the National Working Committee were elected to run the affairs of the party, Jonathan would not interfere in their assignment.
Gulak said it was not true that the President was ready to negotiate with all the aggrieved governors, except Governor Rotimi Amaechi, saying Jonathan’s peace move was all inclusive.
He said, “The President as the leader of the party has no objection to any peace move either from inside or outside. He always encourages peace talks; he prefers solving disagreement through dialogue. He believes in peace.
“President Jonathan has no reason to believe that Chief Obasanjo is behind the governors. Obasanjo is there as a father and as an elder statesman. That is the belief of the President.
“The governors are mature enough. They can take decisions. The President won’t point accusing fingers at anybody. What we are concerned about is that these governors should concentrate on governance in their states and stop overheating the polity because we know that all these moves are about 2015 election.
“On the declaration of the seats of lawmakers sympathetic to the splinter group vacant, the party has made a statement. The President is not the one running the party. Members of the party’s NWC are independent-minded people that have the mandate to run the party.
“They should be allowed to run the affairs of the party. We will be running away from the fact if we say that the party cannot run its affairs.
“I read about one of the conditions reportedly being given by the governors that the President should stop the EFCC from investigating them. How can the President stop the EFCC from doing its job? That is ridiculous, it is unheard of. The EFCC is independent, the President cannot do that.
“What has peace moves got to do with EFCC? Agencies of government cannot be stopped from doing their work. Stopping EFCC means that the President can also stop the army, police, navy and others from doing their works. If that happens, what will people say?
“It is not true that the President is not ready to discuss with Governor Amaechi. Peace move is all inclusive, depending on reasonable and acceptable terms.”
But the Governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, has said neither he nor any of his colleagues in the new Peoples Democratic Party has made any unreasonable demand.
He said this in response to a statement by Gulak that the President would not accede to unreasonable demands.
Nyako who spoke through his Director of Press, Ahmad Sajo, told Saturday PUNCH that the members of the new PDP were only asking for a return to constitutional order within the party.
He said, “What we are asking for is simple. All the decisions that were taken that were arbitrary or in breach of the constitution must be reversed and constitutional order restored within the PDP. This is the minimum we ask.
“The sanctity of the constitution must be respected once they do that; there will be no crisis in the PDP.
“I don’t see what is unreasonable about this demand because even the President will not be President if there is no constitutional order.
“I don’t think the President will say a return to constitutional order is unreasonable.
“All we are saying is that the breach of the constitution must be reversed and subsequent decisions should be taken in accordance with the party’s constitution and the constitution of the land. If they do that, there will be no crisis.
“Anywhere there is a crisis, there is a breach of law, why do they breach the law, it is because of self interest.
“I don’t think asking the President to compel the National Chairman of PDP to act in tandem with the constitution of the party is unreasonable.”
Two other aggrieved governors however spoke to Saturday PUNCH in confidence as a sign of respect for party leaders engaged in the on-going reconciliatory efforts.
In separate interviews with one of our correspondents, they accused “some elements” within the Presidency of exacerbating the crisis by issuing “threats and spreading falsehood” in the media.
One of the governors said, “What is happening today is quite unfortunate.
“Never has the presidency as an institution been so desecrated. This level of pettiness is unparalleled.
“We are being vilified and called all sorts of names for demanding that our party practise what it has always preached-democracy.
“I will not dignify some of the claims in the media that we are making personal demands with an answer, because it is not worth it.
“However, to say the President will contest the election, let the heavens fall is not the way to go. No sacrifice is too great to make for the survival of this nation.”
His counterpart who spoke in a similar fashion said, “It is really sad.
“Look at it, by 2015 this man would have spent six years and there is nothing concrete to show for his rule.
“We have never had a President so divisive like this one. It is either he is using religion, ethnicity or unguarded utterances to polarise the nation.
“On top of this, he has surrounded himself with aides who lack respect and are so blinded by what they are getting that they do not care if the nation collapses. This nation is greater than the ambition of one man.”
When asked to respond to questions about whether Adamawa State was being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and if governor Murtala Nyako was part of those allegedly blackmailing the Presidency because of the activities of the EFCC, the Director of the Press to the Adamawa State governor, Ahmad Sajo, simply said, “I am not aware.”
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