July 22, 2013

OBJ/Jonathan parley: President in crucial talks with Tukur, others

Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan (centre) inspecting parade during the Nigerian Army Day Celebration in Abuja On Saturday (6/7/13)

By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor, Umoru Henry & Daud Olatunji
ABUJA— President Goodluck Jonathan, last night, met the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and major party stakeholders as a follow-up to the meeting he had with former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo weekend.

The meeting was aimed at resolving the grouses of senior members of the party. The confusion in the party has led to some Northern governors threatening to leave the party.

Govs to meet IBB, others

Meanwhile, five of the disaffected Northern governors are meeting today with two former heads of state, General Ibrahim Babangida and General Abdulsalami Abubakar as part of their consultations with statesmen on the alleged drift of the party. A meeting with General Theophilus Danjuma is also on the cards, it was learnt.

President Goodluck Jonathan (centre) inspecting parade during the Nigerian Army Day Celebration in Abuja On Saturday (6/7/13)

President Goodluck Jonathan (centre) inspecting parade during the Nigerian Army Day Celebration in Abuja On Saturday (6/7/13)

Last night’s meeting which was in progress at press time came as a result of complaints by the former president and the fact that some of the party’s big wigs were against the emergence of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.

Former President Obasanjo and other stakeholders complained of the crises that have gripped the party since the emergence of Tukur as Chairman.

President Jonathan, it was learnt, used yesterday’s meeting as a feedback to party stakeholders on his meeting with the former president in Abeokuta on Saturday. Among those at the meeting yesterday were Tukur and members of the Professor Jerry Gana-led Special Convention Planning Committee.

The urgency of last night’s meeting, it was learnt, followed insinuations that the PDP could soon implode, especially in the North, given warnings from President Obasanjo that some Northern governors could soon be leaving the party.

Nyako to leave PDP this week

Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State, it is believed could in fact be leaving the PDP as early as this week upon a resolution reached by his associates last week to abandon the party upon alleged ill-treatment from the Tukur-led national leadership.

During the closed-door meeting with Jonathan in Abeokuta, the former president was reported to have expressed strong reservations on the drift of the party and the bare-knuckle tactics employed by Tukur and President Jonathan to deal with their opponents.

Following the meeting between Jonathan and Obasanjo, four Northern governors, who had in the past pledged not to support Jonathan for a second term, met with the former president. All four – Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) and Sule Lamido (Jigawa) are also close political associates of the former president.

The four governors who arrived Abeokuta on Friday, a night before Jonathan’s visit, it was learnt, opted out of a meeting with Jonathan and arrived Obasanjo’s residence only after Jonathan had departed.

Though the four governors met Obasanjo only after Jonathan had left, it was believed that they had earlier relayed to the president their misgivings through other channels.

One of the issues allegedly raised was the continuing onslaught against Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State since his re-election as chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF.

The four governors, it was learnt, also conveyed to Obasanjo the hostility they received when three of them visited Amaechi last week during which they were pelted with stones by supporters of Nyesom Wike, the Minister of State for Education.

In his meeting with Jonathan, Obasanjo it was learnt, conveyed to him the agitation and misgivings of party stakeholders and the determination of some like Nyako to leave the party in the face of continuing antagonism by the national leadership.

Crisis in Adamawa

The party in Adamawa State has been in crisis since the emergence of Tukur as National Chairman with the party factionalised between supporters of Governor Nyako and others lined up behind Tukur.

Nyako was also reported to have told the former president of moves by Tukur to doctor the 2012 list of delegates in such a way that would remove Nyako’s supporters as delegates, thereby denying them a voice in the party.

Northern govs push for Presidency in 2015

The four governors who met Obasanjo, told him of their determination to push one of them (name withheld) for the presidential election in 2015.

Former President Obasanjo had in the run-up to the 2011 presidential election canvassed the election of Dr. Jonathan and reportedly brokered a deal between him and northern political stakeholders. However, Obasanjo is now believed to have distanced himself, following his shocking resignation as chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT).