Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate and former vice president Atiku Abubakar might have shifted base to former military president Ibrahim Babangida to wade into the PDP crisis.
Atiku yesterday accompanied by the caucus of his campaign team held a closed door meeting at IBB’s uphill home for about one hour with IBB.
In his entourage were governor of Delta State and vice presidential candidate Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State and former Jigawa governor, Sule Lamido.
Others are former Osun governor, Mr Olagunsoye Oyinlola, former Adamawa governor, Mr Boni Haruna, former Niger governor, Dr Muazu Babangida Aliyu and former Imo governor, Mr Emeka Ihedioha, former National Security Adviser, Lt. Gen. Aliyu Gusau, Senator Dino Melaye and Senator Abdul Ningi.
It was learnt that the main reason for the meeting was to ask IBB to intervene in the crisis in the party, and they will be holding another meeting with River State Governor Wike soon.
Emerging from the meeting, Atiku assured that the lingering crisis in the PDP would be resolved very soon and the party would present a united front for the 2023 elections.
He maintained that the crisis is a family affair and dialogue was in progress with the G5 Governors to resolve all issues.
He said: “We have always engaged the five governors and we will continue to engage them. This is a family quarrel and we believe that we will resolve it before the elections and you will see a very, very united and strong PDP that will face the elections.”
Atiku did not disclose the details of his meeting with Babangida but he was visibly elated at the outcome as he added that his visit was to pay respect to IBB and to remind him of his contributions to the country.
“It is customarily for us to come and pay our respect to Babangida for his services to the country. We consider him the father of post-war independence and he also nurses the current democratic dispensation in the country. We will continue to come and pay our respect to him and remind him of his contribution to this country,” he said.
Former president Goodluck Jonathan yesterday said he had no grouse with the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar.
The former president also said the PDP governors who are at variance with Atiku, are not doing his bidding just as he urged the party members to endeavor to resolve the current impasse.
Jonathan stated this while reacting to a report that he would be approached by PDP leaders to intervene in the friction between Atiku and the agitating governors led by Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike.
A party source had claimed that Wike and the four other governors namely; Samuel Ortom (Benue), Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Dr Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) were doing Jonathan’s bidding.
While Wike worked as minister of education under Jonathan’s presidency, Bala Mohammed and Samuel Ortom were minister of FCT and minister of state, trade and investment respectively.
The five governors have consistently distanced themselves from Atiku’s campaign.
They have insisted on their demand that the national chairman, Dr Iyochia Ayu, steps down, saying northerners should not be the party’s national chairman and presidential candidate.
But Jonathan in a statement signed by his special adviser, Ikechukwu Eze yesterday, kicked against insinuations that the governors were acting out his proxy war with Atiku.
He urged the PDP to resolve its internal crisis, unite all members and have a good showing in the 2023 elections.
The statement titled “Re: Aggrieved PDP Governors loyal to Jonathan” said, “Our attention has been drawn to news media and social media reports linking former President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s name to the current troubles in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), with a false claim that the aggrieved PDP governors are demonstrating their loyalty to him.
“We would have ignored the strange tale since it is obviously baseless. However, we are offering this clarification because we have been reached by many Nigerians who are concerned that such fabrication with a vague and suspicious attribution could be given undeserved prominence on the frontpage of some national dailies.
“We are also not unmindful of the fact that, this being an electioneering season, bizarre tales are often contrived, propagated and weaponized to either smear others or deliver cheap political advantage to the purveyors.
“First, we would like to make the point that it is not out of place if there were crises in a political party like the PDP and a former President who served under the party platform is called upon to intervene. That being the case, we initially did not see anything wrong with the headlines in some papers, indicating that the former President was being persuaded to help resolve the issues in the party.
“However, we are dismayed that the seemingly purpose-minded headlines were only cast to mask the mischief of the sponsors of the story and hoodwink the unsuspecting populace. Our attention was called to provocative and insulting statements in separate but similar versions of the story in different news media, either claiming that “the whole thing we are seeing in the PDP … is orchestrated for President Jonathan,” or that “he (Jonathan) is encouraging Governors Nyesom Wike, Makinde, Ikpeazu, Ugwuanyi and Ortom to behave the way they are doing”, knowing that “these five governors are fighting his cause.”
“We believe that such duplicitous statements could not have emanated from the camps of those who truly wish the party well. It simply shows that the so called ‘sources’ of the story are not disposed to the peace and unity they pretend to be seeking in the PDP.
“How could anybody turn around in 2022 to accuse Jonathan of bearing a grudge against the PDP when the former President had campaigned vigorously for the party and its Presidential candidate during the 2019 elections?
Those who insinuate that Dr. Jonathan is not happy with the PDP’s Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, because of whatever roles he played ahead of the 2015 elections forget that the former President actively campaigned for Atiku in 2019, attending the flag off of his campaigns in Sokoto and subsequently participating in the campaigns in some states like Rivers and Bayelsa.
“The fact that Dr. Jonathan stood out as an exemplary politician who, throughout his political career, abhorred treachery and mean-mindedness, and played politics without bitterness, needs no gainsay. Unlike many of his detractors, the former President has, out of office, progressed to a higher level of statesmanship, faithfully applying himself to causes that promote peace, love, unity and progress, across the entire west African sub-region.
“It is Dr. Jonathan’s wish that the PDP is able to resolve its internal crisis, unite all members and have a good showing in the forthcoming 2023 elections. We wish to however point out that it will be difficult to achieve this aspiration if some forces in the party continue to engage in mudslinging, disinformation and manifest tendencies that negate the values that are dear to loyal party members.
“Former President Jonathan had served this country meritoriously at both the state and federal levels. He has now been out of office for almost eight years and Nigerians have come to trust and love him for who he is. While in office, he had no enemies to fight. He still has no enemies to fight, now that he has become a private citizen,” he said.
PDP G-5 Govs In Closed-door Meeting In Enugu, Consider Options
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and four other aggrieved governors of the party met in a closed-door meeting in Enugu State yesterday.
The other governors include Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu, Samuel Ortom of Benue and Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State.
They were received at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu by Governor Ugwuanyi and they all moved to the Government House for the meeting.
At the time of filing this report, the governors were yet to issue a statement but our source at the meeting said they were thinking of more options available to them on the current crisis in the PDP.