*Could not persuadeÂ PDP BOT to rally against president
By Jide Ajani &Â Emma Amaize,
THURSDAYâ€™S public declaration by former President Olusegun Obasanjo that President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua should resign if his health is impeding him from performing in office is a fallout of the last meeting of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the PDP in Abuja, Sunday Vanguard can now reveal.
And with pressure mounting on the president to quit office or handover to the vice president as stipulated by the Constitution, the South South Governors are billed to meet later this week in Benin to take a decision on whether to throw in their lot with Vice President Goodluck Jonathan.
The VP is the highest ranking government official from the geo-political zone butÂ has receivedÂ little or no support from the governors since the agitation for the president to hand over to him.
Sunday Vanguard gathered that at the PDP BOT meeting penultimate Thursday, Chief Obasanjo, had tried in vain to convince the party leadershipÂ to wade into the brewingÂ political stalemateÂ in the country by compelling the president to hand over to his deputy in accordance with the provisions of the constitution.
He was said to have been disappointed by the attitude of the generality of the BOT members who
were against his position. He was said to have left the meeting with bottled up anger.
Besides, sources said he his frustrated with the Yarâ€™Adua administration and when an opportunity came for him to speak atÂ 7th Annual Trust Dialogue, he took it with both hands, saying: â€œIf you take up an appointment, a job, elected, appointed, whatever it is and then your health starts failing and you will not be able to deliever to satisfy yourself and satisfy the people you are supposed to serve, then there is a path of honour you are supposed to take.
â€œThere is a path of honour and morality and if you donâ€™t know that then you donâ€™t know anything.â€
The statement has not gone down well with supporters of President Yarâ€™Adua.
The National secretary of the PDP, Alhaji Abubakar Banje said on Friday that Obasanjo spoke for himself on the issue and not for the party.
* South-East governors meet Friday on VP
Meanwhile, South south governors are meeting this week in Benin, to parley on the state of the nation and take a position on Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan.
TwoÂ ofÂ the governors who spoke exclusively to Sunday Vanguard, yesterday on the meeting, which has been scheduled for Friday, explained why they (South_South governors)Â have been unenthusiastic overÂ Dr Jonathan, who is the highest political officer holder in the zone , since the debate over his taking overÂ as Acting President commenced.
Besides, selected youth leaders from the Niger-Delta, the Ijaw Youth Council and some organizational leaders are expected to hold a strategic security meeting todayÂ in Port_Harcourt to take aÂ decision on Vice PresidentÂ Jonathan and the post-amnesty programme.
A prominent Ijaw youth leader, Mr Kingsely Kuku who confirmed the Port_Harcourt meeting, yesterday, said,Â â€œThe youths will take a decision on the inauguration of Dr Goodluck Jonathan as acting president, whether it will be or not be and whatever we agree on will be implemented to the letter. We are equal stakeholders in the country, nobody owns the country more than the other and we are equally going to state our position on the post-amnesty programmeâ€.
Last Wednesday, the South_South Elders and Leaders Forum, led by elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark at meeting held in Abuja accused the governors and some political leaders of the zone of colluding with power brokers from other geo_political zones to scurry the inauguration of Vice President Jonathan as Acting President.
Why weâ€™re lukewarm
But one of the governors said, â€œWith dueÂ respect, the elders you are referring to donâ€™t know what is going on, they donâ€™t understand the undercurrents. But itâ€™s not an issue we want to comment on in the public, itâ€™s what we should talk inside. However, if they are saying the governors are not fighting for Jonathan to be made acting president, which is not the correct perspective to view it, they should find out why all the governors, let me put Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo state, who is of the AC aside, are unenthusiasticâ€.
â€˜The truth is that the vice president cannot claim to beÂ in good terms with most of the South_South governors and they donâ€™t like him because he is not straight with them. We believe and we know that heâ€™s working against the return of some of us as governors, so, why should we be supporting or empowering him to become acting president to kill our political aspirations?
â€œTake it from me, the South_South governors are not and can never be against the inauguration of Dr. Jonathan who hails from the zone as acting president, itâ€™s the highest political office in the land, which the zone wants to occupy for a long time and Jonathan is the only person constitutionally qualified in the country at the moment to fill that vacuum as soon as President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua transmitsÂ a letter on his absence to the National Assembly, as prescribed by lawâ€.
â€œBut the honest truth is that as politicians, none of the South_South governors, particularly those in the PDP trustsÂ Jonathan. He is known to be supporting those working against the re_election of the governors in their respective states. He is encouraging them, and so, why should the governors stick out their necks for him? That is the problem, itâ€™s not that we donâ€™t want him to be acting president but he is not in a straight line with usâ€.
The other governor who corroborated the account of his colleague said, â€œWe are only tolerating Dr. Jonathan because he is from our zone, if not, he has left us and every other person more confused on this matter since it erupted. There is no way he (Jonathan) should expect maximum support from the South_South governors when they know he is working against their political interest.â€
â€œFind out which of the South_South governors is the Vice President who is supposed to our leader close to. He is not in the best of terms with the governor of his state, Bayelsa, Chief Timipre Sylva. Itâ€™s is only one or two of us that he is even relating with to some extent but even those ones know that their opponents are hobnobbing with him in the night.
â€œYou see, this is not a matter to castigate the governors, we have our reasons for cold attitude but not that we are against him becoming acting president. In fact, that is one of the reasons weâ€™re meeting in Benin City, we will discuss the whole matter extensively, I mean Presidentâ€™. Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s absence from the country due to his protracted illness, the political undercurrents over the matter, the pronouncementsÂ so far from the judiciary and the protests by Nigerians. We are going to examine everything and come out with our positionâ€, he said.
Sunday Vanguard learnt that one or two governors have contacted some of the elders of the zone after their meeting in Abuja to acquaint them with the problem they were having with the vice president.
Jonathan should carry governors, others along
AÂ member of the National Assembly from the South_South told Sunday Vanguard, â€œI think what the governors are saying is true, even we, members of the National Assembly from Abuja have been trying since we came here and up till now that this matter is playing out to get the vice president to meet with us, but, he has keep on playing us till nowâ€.
â€œThey said he does not want others to think that heâ€™s is holding secret meetings with lawmakers from his zone, he is so much afraid to meet even with his own people on matters that affect him, why is this so, heâ€™s taking the issue of loyalty too far.Â That is what is affecting him and the governors too; he is not meeting with them they ought to for them to iron out their differences, so there is mistrust.
â€œYou can see that in his (Jonathanâ€™s) bid to show that he is loyal to President Yarâ€™Adua, he has alienated himself from his people who now think that itâ€™s better they relate with Yarâ€™Adua and his power brokers than confide to him because their secrets could be leaked out and it would look as if they were the ones working against Yarâ€™Aduaâ€, he said.
â€œMy information is that the governors of the South-South like Chief Timpre Sylva of Bayelsa State , Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State , Liyel Imoke of Cross River State are not in good terms with Jonathan. He is only at home with Emmanuel Uduaghan and Godswill Akpabio and you know, Adams Oshiomhole of Edo is an AC personâ€, the lawmaker added.