By: Sunday Oyewole
There is strong indication that the crisis rocking the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may finally be resolved when peace talks resume on October 7.
This is because, the most contentious issue seems to have been resolved going by the words of the chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Godswil Akpabio of Akwa Ibom.
Speaking with State House correspondents on Monday shortly after having brief meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan, Governor Akpabio, said the aggrieved governors at the last peace meeting held on Sunday at the Presidential Villa, agreed that the President’s right to contesting 2015 election is not negotiable since it is guaranteed by the nation’s constitution.
It will be recalled that President Jonathan, his Vice, Namadi Sambo, and the BoT chairman, Tony Anenih had met with five of the aggrieved governors that have aligned with the Abubakar Baraje’s ‘New PDP’.
The six aggrieved governors in attendance were Babangida Aliyu- Niger, Rotimi Amaechi-Rivers, Sule Lamido-Jigawa, Abdulfatai Ahmed-Kwara, Rabiu Kwakwanso-Kano and Muritala Nyako-Adamawa.
Also on the Presidency/Bamanga Tukur’s side were five governors. They were Godswil Akpabio-Akwa Ibom, Liyel Imoke-Cross Rivers, Ibrahim Dakwambo-Gombe, Ibrahim Shema-Katsina and Idris Wada- Kogi.
Reading the communiqué at the end of the meeting, which was attended for the first time by Governor Rotimi Amaechi, Governor Babangida Aliyu announced that substantial progress had been made and that both sides agreed to sheathe their swords pending when talks resume on October 7.
The aggrieved governors have been consistent on three key demands that to them could guarantee peace and ensure their return to the main PDP fold. Top on their demands is that the President should not run in 2015, that Bamanga Tukur should step down as national chairman and that the Presidency should stop witch-hunting their members like former Governor Bukola Saraki.
About 2015, Governor Akpabio told correspondents that “of course on the issue of 2015, both sides agreed that it wasn’t an issue for discussion because every single person has a right to have ambition. Some of the governors may have ambition like I have ambition to go to Senate and you can’t discuss anything about another person’s ambition. You are the only person that can discuss your own ambition. Ambition is personal. So both parties agreed to that.
“In all other issues, we have put in place methodologies of settling them and of course it’s a process issue. Process is on. It was in the first place an internal issue of the PDP and so we are going to settle it internally and if you want to know how it is going to be settled, then you have leave being a journalist to join the PDP family.
“The PDP family is coming back together. We have started a process of total reconciliation and of course you know the house is very large, very robust and PDP is very entrenched and there is no way we can have internal wrangling without being able to resolve. So, clearly speaking it was just a family disagreement and the processes are in place now to bring everybody on board and Nigerians are very happy.”
The crisis that had been brewing within the ruling party since early this year blew open when former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and seven governors walked out of the PDP’s special convention ground at Eagles Square on August 31.
The group about an hour later announced the formation of a ‘New PDP’ under the national chairmanship of a former acting national chairman of PDP, Abubakar Kawu Baraje and a former Osun state governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola as National Secretary.
But one of the rebel governors who spoke with The Eagle Online said it was unfortunate Akpabio could sell such a dummy to the public.
He said there was no time the meeting agreed that Jonathan could run and that this still remains an issue.
He said it was unfortunate that due to an agreement, no one was allowed into the venue of the meeting with a mobile telephone, hence the proceedings could not be recorded.
He said such barefaced lie as told by Akpabio is one of the reasons they record at meetings with the opposing camp.
The governor added: “Imagine we did not record proceedings when we had the election of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, isn’t this how lies would also have been told?
“Anyway, we are not ready to banter words with Akpabio, when the time comes, let him come to enforce that as part of the issues already resolved.
“We are waiting for him.”