By: Sunday Oyewole
In furtherance of his resolve to ensure peaceful resolution of the crisis rocking the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday held meetings with stakeholders that are crucial to the resolution of the lingering crisis.
The first was a secret meeting with former military President Ibrahim Babangida and a former national chairman of the ruling party, Dr Ahmadu Ali, at the Presidential Villa. The closed door meeting was kept away from the media.
However, sources informed that the President enjoined the former military leader to help talk to the aggrieved governors to return to the main PDP. It will be recalled that the governors had visited the Minna Hill top residence of Gen. Babangida during their consultations with past leaders.
Earlier in the day, the President had met with three of his close allies, obviously to appraise the development. Those he met were Governors Godswil Akpabio of Akwa Ibom, Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta and Gabriel Suswam of Benue. It could not however be ascertained if the three governors were present during the talks with IBB and Ali.
Later at night, President Jonathan held another round of meeting with the aggrieved governors with the sole aim of prevailing on them to dump the ‘New PDP’, said to be the brainchild of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
The meeting which was held at the Conference room of the First Lady, Presidential Villa, was not also open for media coverage. It was attended by only four governors. They are Babangida Aliyu-Niger, Muritala Nyako- Adamawa, Sule Lamido-Jigawa and Aliyu Wamakko-Sokoto.
It was not clear why Governors Abdulfatai Ahmed- Kwara and Rabiu Kwakwanso of Kano did not attend. Also present were two loyalists of President Jonathan- Governors Liyel Imoke and Ibrahim Dakwambo of Cross Rivers and Gombe respectively.
The President in company of the chairman, PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), Tony Anenih, had met with the ‘rebel’ governors last week but was inconclusive.
Also, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, Tony Anenih and Dr Ahmadu Ali had followed up with another round of talks with the warring factions- Tukur and Baraje’s factions at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel last week.
Speaking at the post-convention dinner last Sunday, President Jonathan expressed confidence that the ‘minor crisis’ would soon be resolved and the party will emerge from it stronger ahead of 2015 election.
It will be recalled that the PDP internal crisis had been brewing since early in the year but became open a couple of weeks ago, when former Vice President Atiku Abubakar led seven governors out of the convention ground at eagles square, Abuja.
The seven Governors are: Babangida Aliyu, Rotimi Amaechi, Rabiu Kwakwanso, Abdulfatai Ahmed, Sule Lamido, Magartakada Wamakko and Muritala Nyako.
The group later surfaced at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua centre where they addressed a press conference, announcing the formation of a parallel national executive committee under the chairmanship of Abubakar Kawu Baraje.
Also, Dr Sam Sam Jaja and Olagunsoye Oyinlola were named Deputy National Chairman and National Secretary respectively. The Atiku faction known as the ‘New PDP’ was in the process of opening a parallel national secretariat when police stormed the place last Saturday and sealed off the building located at Number 4, Oyi River Crescent, Maitama, Abuja, purportedly acting on a court injunction.