Jonathan intensifies consultations in South West

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By EMMANUEL AZIKEN, Political Editor & DAPO AKINREFON

President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday continued consultations on his political direction in Lagos in meetings with stakeholders and solicitations for prayers for the country from religious leaders.

In a surprising development, the president, however, left regional leaders of his party out of the consultations as many of them expressed surprise on the president’s business in the nation’s commercial capital city.

The president’s efforts to woo support for his political future in the south was also being helped in the north by efforts by the new national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Alhaji Adamu Mu‘azu to break the ranks of the opposition in the north as represented by All Progressives Congress, APC.

Jonathan with the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, during the President's visit to Oba in Lagos yesterday.

File: Jonathan with the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, during the President’s visit to Oba in Lagos.

Mu‘azu, it was learnt, is wooing former Governor Mohammed Danjuma Goje of Gombe State back to the party with the offer of sharing the party structure between him and his former political godson, Governor Dankwambo. Mu‘azu, it was learnt, has also made entreaties to the 2011 gubernatorial candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Mr. Marcus Gundiri.

The efforts of the president and Mu‘azu, are, however, being challenged in Anambra State, where stakeholders in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP are said to have vowed to oppose his candidacy in 2015. Anambra PDP chieftains Vanguard learnt, are peeved by what they alleged to be the betrayal of the party and its candidate, Mr. Tony Nwoye in last November’s gubernatorial election in the state.

The president’s consultations in Lagos yesterday commenced after the morning church service in a parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, where the general overseer, Pastor Enoch Adeboye presided. Following the church service, the president retired to State House, Marina where he met with different stakeholders. Details of the meetings and persons were, however, shielded from newsmen.

PDP officials in the region were left out of the consultations senior party officials disclosed on the condition of anonymity.

The national chairman of the party, however, is believed to be wooing former members of the party who left to the APC back to the party. One of the targets of Mu‘azu’s peace shooting missions Vanguard learnt yesterday, is Senator Goje, the immediate former governor of Gombe State who recently declared for the APC.

Goje it was learnt has been offered 50% of the party executives in Gombe State while the remaining structure is to be left in the hands of Governor Dankwambo.

Efforts to get Goje’s reaction to the entreaty were unsuccessful yesterday. Calls to his mobile phone did not go through, and a text message was yet to be replied as at press time yesterday.

Mu‘azu’s peace shooting efforts it was learnt, has also spread to Adamawa State, where he is alleged to have wooed Gundiri, the ACN’s gubernatorial candidate in 2011 to the party.

Sources told Vanguard that Mu‘azu is promising to back Gundiri for the PDP gubernatorial ticket in 2015.

Gundiri and the gubernatorial candidate of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC in the 2011 election, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa were initially peeved by the movement of Governor Murtala Nyako into the APC, which before his coming was built around the two former gubernatorial gladiators.

Mu‘azu is said to have gone for Gundiri based on the strong showing he made in the 2011 gubernatorial election, believing that backing him in 2015 would help defeat whoever Nyako backs in 2015.

Mu‘azu, it was learnt is also making similar efforts of support to back Rep. Ibrahim Gusau, a member of the House of Representatives, who last week defected to the PDP following the alleged failure of APC authorities in Zamfara State to allow his supporters to register in the APC membership registration exercise.

Gusau told Vanguard that he left the APC because of the alleged hostility of the APC authorities in the state. Gusau has been in a running battle with the APC state leader, Senator Sanni Yerima and Governor Abdulaziz Yari since word leaked of Gusau’s alleged plans to contest the 2015 gubernatorial election.

The efforts of the president and Mu‘azu nonetheless could be eroded by misgivings by PDP members and stakeholders in Anambra State.

Party stakeholders including appointed and elected office holders at a recent meeting in Awka, the state capital took a resolution not to back the president in his 2015 bid based on what they claimed was his lack of support for Nwoye and the party in the 2013 gubernatorial election.

“The president backed APGA’s candidate and asked us at the rally to vote according to our conscience, so we are going to vote for our conscience in 2015 election,” a party stakeholder present at the meeting told Vanguard.

“The president has shown that he is not a good party man and we will pay him back in his own coins. And see the man he said we should back, that is Peter Obi, Obi conducted local government elections and did not allow PDP one local government area in all the contest.”

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