PDP Crisis: Jonathan’s Oct 7 Peace Meeting With G-7 Governors Suffers SetBack
There are indications that the peace parley between President Goodluck Jonathan and the group of seven governors scheduled to hold on October 7 might not hold as scheduled.
The meeting is supposed to be a continuation of peace talks to resolve the crisis in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP after the last one held at the presidential villa in September.
The cancellation of the October 7 meeting seems to be at the behest of the G-7 Governors, even though President Jonathan has been under pressure to call the G-7 governors’ bluff ahead of the truce meeting.
Although the new PDP, to which the G-7 governors belong, said it had sent emissaries to the president explaining why the October 7 meeting should be postponed, a source in the presidency said the uncertainty hovering around the meeting was as a result of President Jonathan’s indisposition to engage the aggrieved governors in further talks.
But the new PDP, in a statement issued by its national publicity secretary, Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, said the caucus of the faction of the party took the decision for a number of reasons.
It said: “This decision was taken last night during the caucus meeting of the new PDP held at the Adamawa State Government Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja, during which it was discovered that the date of the proposed peace meeting clashes with this year’s Hajj, in which several of our key members are billed to participate.
“Our national chairman, Alhaji Baraje, and most of our other key members, including most of the G-7 governors and the five other governors that have indicated interest to join us by next week, as well as members of the National Assembly, former governors and business moguls are billed to perform the Hajj, which is already in operation.
“Alhaji Baraje, the progressive governors and other stakeholders performing the Hajj have been mandated to use the opportunity offered by the Holy Pilgrimage to pray for the restoration of peace and unity in our great party, PDP, as well as in our dear country Nigeria.”
But a presidency source confided that the request for a change of date by the new PDP may not be unconnected with President Jonathan’s refusal to confirm the October 7 date. “Under normal circumstances the president is expected to give clearance or what we call final confirmation a few days to such meetings, but in this case the president has not done that,” he stated. “Even his itinerary for the next one week does not reflect that he will meet with the G-7 governors. Certainly the president is not against reconciliation but reconciliation has to be done responsibly; it is in this regard that it is difficult for him to sit and discuss with people who pour invective on him on a daily basis. We won’t even encourage that for the sake of discipline.”
All efforts to confirm whether or not the president received the emissary or request for postponement were abortive as neither presidential adviser on political matters Ahmed Gulak nor his media and publicity counterpart Reuben Abati could be reached on telephone.
Nonetheless, the Alhaji Bamanga Tukur-led PDP, at the end of its weekly National Working Committee (NWC) meeting, expressed optimism that the October 7 meeting would resolve all issues. Briefing newsmen after the meeting, the party’s spokesman, Chief Oliseh Metuh, said he hoped that the party would be able to resolve the dispute. He further warned that the party is bigger than any individual.
He added that the custodians of the party administration were ready and capable to handle all matters that affect the party after the peace meeting.
He said: “We have already engaged in reconciliation agenda as espoused by the national chairman when he came to the office and we have been touring the country and doing it. We discussed the efforts and how we can continue. We mentioned our aggrieved brothers, we have left it for the meeting of October 7 to know how best to handle it.
“The National Working Committee (NWC) will meet and we hope that we will be able to achieve full reconciliation with our aggrieved brothers, but this party is bigger than any person or any group and PDP will survive all interests.”
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