By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA-In its determination to mend fences with former members ahead of the 2019 general elections, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has intensified moves to convince former President Olusegun Obasanjo to rejoin the party in the next few weeks.
Saturday Vanguard gathered on Wednesday that apart from the party’s Contact and Integration Committee and the Reconciliation Committee currently reaching out to all disgruntled members who left the PDP, the National Working Committee of the party led by Prince Uche Secondus has come up with yet another means of reaching out to Obasanjo, the first elected President on the platform of the party in the 1999 general election.
The move, according to findings involves the deployment of Colonel Habibu Shuaibu (retd), a former Military Administrator of Niger and Plateau States to help convey the message of reconciliation to the former chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of the party. A dependable source said Colonel Shuaibu who remains a close confidant of former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida (retd) and Obasanjo is confident that the latter would let go of whatever grouse he nursed against the PDP.
The retired Colonel, it would be recalled, was recently named Deputy Director General (North) of the Kabiru Turaki Presidential Campaign Council and has been a good voice calling for nationwide support for the PDP in the wake of the public apology tendered on behalf of the party by Secondus at a public forum in Abuja not long ago.
A highly placed sourced who craved anonymity revealed that part of Shuaibu’s mission would be to pledge the party’s readiness to play by the rules in the processes leading to the choice of the Presidential candidate for the 2019 elections, in line with the renewed vision of the Secondus-led NWC.
“When the party held a press conference sometime ago to call on all those who left the party to feel free to return; it was a serious call for all those who love Nigeria and who want to see a better Nigeria after President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure in 2019. We are aware that Baba is aggrieved and as party, we are already re-positioning to correct the wrongs of the past.
“Talks have taken place and they will continue to take place because Baba at the end would agree with us that the All Progressives Congress (APC) does not have the blueprint to transform this nation for good. So, in addition to the formal channels of the party to address issues of reconciliation, the party is reaching out to him through other means,” he said.
When asked if “other means” included moves by the former Military Administrator, the source was evasive but would later give himself away when he said that “his close link with General IBB and the fact that he is one of the image makers of one of our Presidential aspirants makes him the natural pick to complement the incredible works our various committees have been doing.”
It is not clear if Shuaibu would also drum support for Turaki’s bid when he meets the ex-President in the next few days.
Obasanjo’s relationship with President Buhari is at an all-time low with the former President crying out recently of a plot to implicate and incarcerate him; an allegation the opposition warned against; given its capacity to heat up the polity, if truly such a move was in the works.