Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has acceded to the plea of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to wade into the leadership crisis rocking the party with the aim of resolving it.
Jonathan told a delegation of the party’s BoT lead by its Chairman, Senator Walid Jibrin, that the disagreement can be resolved amicably, adding that he has already started talking to the individuals involved in the matter.
“I have been talking to individuals but not in a way that is exposed to the media but I believe I should do more. It is regretably that we have conflicting court orders on this issue.
“Unfortunately, we have challenges but I think you should not be discouraged. This should not be beyond us as I believe that collectively, we can resolve it. Any sincere PDP member should know that PDP is bigger than any individual. Members have sacrificed their interest for the party,” he said.
While commending Jibrin for the regular briefings on the affairs of the party, Jonathan also thanked members of the PDP BoT for taken upon themselves to ensure that the party did not disintegrate.
A member of the BoT and one of the aspirants for the PDP’s chairmanship position, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, said Jonathan had expressed confidence that the crisis would be resolved.
Adeniran who spoke with journalists shortly after an hour of discussion with Jonathan in his private residence in Maitama, Abuja, described the former president as a loyal party person that believes in the PDP.
“It is part of those things when you commit to the consolidation of democracy in the country. He is in support of peace returning to the PDP family.
“All leaders of the party have been meeting the BoT which has just held it meeting yesterday and we are interacting and the party is moving forward. I am very optimistic that crisis will be resolved. PDP is a family and we will resolve the crisis. The convention will go on. You will witness the resolutions,” he said.
Another leader of the party, Chief Bode George, also spoke on the outcome of the discussions with Jonathan, saying that the former president had accepted to assist in brokering peace among the aggrieved parties.
“The meeting was perfect. I feel completely elated. When we were in power for 16 years all these crisis would have been resolved by the Villa. Now there is no Villa, it looks like a community where there is no headship.
Suddenly the spirit of discussion and camaraderie that evolves gave me this personal happiness. In our party, whoever is president, is always the leader of the party.
“Now, until another presidential candidate emerges, Jonathan remains the leader of the party. Of course he has been busy touring Africa, Europe and America.
“We are at a point where we cannot afford to allow the party to go under. And this is the most appropriate time as BoT to come to him to say we want you to intervene. It was a very warm meeting and very encouraging.
George assured party members that before the PDP convention, all those pundits and arm chair writers will bury their swords as every stakeholder would have reunited under one leadership. “It is of interest for Nigeria to have a credible opposition that will put a check on the ruling party in how they do things and to question whether the things they are doing is right or not. To that extent, a strong opposition is very important.
On whether Jonathan has agreed to broker peace, George said: “Absolutely he has not only accepted to assist in making peace but has given his word on resolving the crisis and to also make out time to attend our meetings. As you know he is a life time member of BoT having being a former president. So when people see the big masquerade they will be more careful.”
Earlier, Walid told Jonathan that the BoT decided to pay him courtesy call in recognition of his position as former president and to interface and inform him of the state of our party today.
“PDP is undergoing a lot of difficulties and challenges, it is important that we give you briefing. You are aware of the resignation of Anenih as BoT chairman, followed by the appointment of Bello. The members elected him as chairman.
The party held a convention in Port Harcourt and appointed a seven-man caretaker committee, headed by Ahmed Makarfi.
“The caretaker committee was given 90 days to organise convention. Fixed convention on August 17 after clearance from INEC. Preparation is in top gear. But it is sad to note that the party is faced with court cases. About 15 court cases. We abide by provisions of the party’s constitution. We have realised that we need reconciliations. Some committees have been set up to pursue reconciliation among party men.
“That is why we appeal to the former president that he aid the party to the reconciliation. It is your intervention that is very important for a way forward for the party,” he said.
Walid who came with some representatives from various zones of BoT, told the former president that they have great respect for him despite the fact that he has not been appearing in the activities of the party. We have visited Ciroma.
“We have embarked on programme of visit to our founding fathers, we have visited National Assembly. We are satisfied with the level of cooperation between PDP and other members in the National Assembly and they have played the opposition role very well. They have dwelt on policy of issues not on personalities.
Despite all that is happening, PDP is alive, anybody who wants to destroy PDP will not succeed,” he said.
Other members who were at the meeting with Jonathan were Abba Gana, Ahmadu Ali, Inna Ciroma, and Tunde Adeniran.