PDP Reconciliation: Jonathan Meets Obasanjo, Amaechi, Five Northern Governors
President Goodluck Jonathan in a renewed effort to improve the relationship between him some of the estranged members of the Peoples Democratic party, PDP held a closed door meeting with former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Monday.
As a prelude to the meeting with Obasanjo, the president had on Sunday night met with Governor Rotimi Amaechi and five PDP governors in a meeting that lasted till the wee hours of yesterday morning at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Atb the meeting between Jonathan and the Governors, which ended at about 4.08 am yesterday, it was gathered that the governors advised the president not to create the impression or perception that he has a problem with the former president.
In furtherance of the peace initiative, the former president yesterday night met with the governors in a bid to address all the issues that have contributed to the cold war between the incumbent and one of his predecessors.
Less than a year after the 2011 general election, which Jonathan won with the active support of Obasanjo, the relationship between the men soured, often resulting in public spats.
The point of disagreement is widely believed to be Obasanjo’s perceived opposition towards Jonathan’s undeclared second term ambition. Things came to a head in April last year when the former president resigned as chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT).
As a result of the simmering feud, the former president has tacitly stayed away from taking part in party activities and some state functions, including a mid-term report dinner which the president organised on June 26 to celebrate his second year in office.
As part of efforts to paper the cracks in the relationship, Jonathan during a visit to Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, on July 20 to condole with his spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, over the death of his mother, had visited the former president at his Owu home.
However, it was gathered that yesterday’s peace talks with Obasanjo explored how to strengthen the relationship between the president and the former president.
One of the governors involved in brokering a truce between the two party leaders told some reporters in Abuja that contrary to insinuations, the aim of the meeting was not about 2015 elections but how to foster better ties between Jonathan and Obasanjo, adding that “the cat and mouse” relationship between them was affecting the affairs of the PDP.
Obasanjo, in accepting the peace deal, wrote to all PDP governors slating a meeting for Monday.
The former president informed the governors that the meeting would not end without a resolution of other issues affecting the PDP as a political party.
According to the source, the peace deal was as a result of several consultations initiated by Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, and his Cross River State colleague, Senator Liyel Imoke, who had met Obasanjo both at his Ota residence and in Abuja to explore the possibility of reconciling Jonathan and the former president.
“It was a combination of these meetings that eventually led to the summoning of the Monday night meeting between Obasanjo and all the PDP governors to discuss the shape and fate of the PDP in the face of the emerging challenges,” the governor said.
Obasanjo, in his letter to the governors, said none of the PDP governors would leave the meeting until all the contentious issues that led to the crisis in PDP had been thrashed out “even if it takes us from 8 pm to 8 am the next day”.
Giving details on why the PDP governors stepped into the face-off between Obasanjo and Jonathan, the source said: “We are worried by the body language of the former president. The refusal of the former president to be part of the May 29 activities was very worrisome for us.
“Also, the perception that President Goodluck Jonathan and former President Obasanjo are fighting is not helping the party and the presidency.
“PDP as a party is shaking with the registration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and therefore we need to put our house in order.
“We want Baba (Obasanjo) to help douse tension within the party by openly identifying with the party and the presidency. We expect the former president to talk to the four governors from the north, because they are all his boys.
“The meeting is not about the presidential election coming up in 2015, but the party. There must be a party first and foremost before any other thing.”
According to him, the meeting with Obasanjo would discuss the situation in the PDP because “none of the party’s governors is on speaking terms with the National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.
“Since the national chairman assumed office in March last year, there has not been a single meeting between him and governors. We think that this is not a good signal and something has to be done about this. These are some of the main items on the agenda of the meeting.”
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