Jonathan, Obasanjo row get messier

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Our reporter

Messier! That aptly  captures the feud between President Goodluck Jonathan and former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Both leaders went deeper into the trenches in their battle for the soul of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the weekend.

While Jonathan moved to consolidate his grip on the party which, on Friday, sacked Obasanjo’s loyalists, from the South West, from the National Working Committee (NWC), the former president’s  loyalists  hinted they were taking their case to the National Executive Committee (NEC) for intervention.

The Obasanjo loyalists also accused the PDP  national  chairman, Alhaji Bamangar Tukur, of replacing the sacked supporters of the former president with a caretaker committee in the South West zone headed by his associate, Mr Ishola Filani.

Filani was a special adviser to the PDP national  chairman, perceived to be on the side of Jonathan in his feud with Obasanjo.

The Jonathan, Obasanjo feud climaxed on Friday with the sack of the latter’s associates, Mr Segun Oni, PDP national chairman, South-West, and the national auditor, Mr Bode Mustapha, from the National  Working Committee (NWC).

The sack was the fallout of the court  verdict which earlier ousted the PDP national secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, also an Obasanjo  associate.

Total grip
Sunday Vanguard gathered, at the weekend, that the president, as part of moves to have a total grip of the party, will hold a meeting with members of the G-84, comprising state chairmen of the party, members of the NWC, members of the Board of Trustees, BoT, and some select  members of the NEC.

President Jonathan and Gen. Obasanjo (Rtd)

President Jonathan and Gen. Obasanjo (Rtd)

The first leg of the meeting was held on Thursday, but  Jonathan, as learnt, asked Vice President Namadi Sambo to preside, just as  the  issues  reportedly raised were, among others, the need for the party to grow in an atmosphere of peace and unity.

At the meeting, Sunday Vanguard that those in attendance commended the president  on his achievements especially in the area of the economy, infrastructure and assured of their unalloyed support to the Jonathan administration.
Sambo was said to have thanked them for the visit and they pledged their support.

According to a source close to the Presidency, a follow-up meeting was being planned where the G84 members will meet  with the president on the need to be with him at all times as the leader of the party.

Prior  to the last meeting of the  BoT, held January 7, where a new chairman ought to have emerged, there very strong indications that  Jonathan relaxed, but what happened the night before the meeting was cancelled opened his eyes to the intrigues in the party.
As the PDP leader, he was said to have found that he was not  in charge especially against the backdrop that his favoured candidate would have lost as  Obasanjo and his  former Vice, Atiku Abubakar, though not at the meeting, were in charge of the events of the day, save for the Professor Jerry Gana-led committee coordinating the parley.

Another move was a motion by Senate President David Mark at the BoT meeting to have another five-year tenure for the Secretary, Senator Walid Jibrin, from Nasarawa State and that blocked the chances of Obasanjo’s loyalist and former Chairman of the PDP, Dr.  Ahmadu Ali, from becoming the Chairman of the BoT and to pave the way for Chief Tony Anenih, whom Jonathan is said to be backing for the position.

To start with, the president, through the PDP National Chairman, Tukur, immediately asked Onwe Solomon Onwe, an ally of Jonathan, to step into the shoes Oyinlola, an associate of  Obasanjo.

In sacking Oni and Mustapha on Friday, the PDP NWC also axed the Ogun State faction of the party loyal to Obasanjo.

The NWC recognised the faction of the PDP which has been in opposition to the former president.

‘Our case for the PDP NEC’

The chairman of the Obasanjo faction of the Ogun PDP, Senator Dipo Odujinrin, who spoke on behalf of the loyalists of the former president after an emergency meeting that lasted about seven hours in Abeokuta, the state capital, yesterday, said they were taking their case to the party NEC.

According to Odujinrin, Obasanjo’s followers were shocked by the action of the NWC in sacking the PDP zonal leadership and the former president’s faction of the party in Ogun.

According to him, the Obasanjo group will seek to get the NEC to reverse the NWC action.
Odunjinrin explained that their move was in accordance with Article 31 Sub-Section 2(8) of the party’s constitution.

“At our meeting this afternoon, we resolved in accordance with Article 31 sub-sections 2 (8) of our constitution to appeal to the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party which is the much higher body than the National Working Committee (NWC) and we believe that our appeal to that body would receive a favourable consideration and this injustice is corrected,”he stated.

“We put our faith in the National Executive Committee of PDP and trust that the right thing will be done”.
The ousted chairman also said that the impatiality of the members of the South West caretaker committee of the PDP was doubted, stressing that the chairman of the committee, Ishola Filani, was a special adviser (politics) to Tukur.

“I believe that the NEC will do the right thing so that it would not affect the fortune of our party in future elections”, Odujinrin stated.

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