- As Amaechi’s NGF retreats in Sokoto Saturday…
- Buhari, Tinubu parley IBB, Abdulsalami
- PDP’ll lose 2015 elections if, … – Oyinlola
As the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), under the chairmanship of Rivers state governor, Rotimi Amaechi, prepares for its retreat in Sokoto on Saturday, the seven aggrieved governors on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) would equally use the opportunity to finalize their terms for possible defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Contacted for comments on the agenda for the retreat, the NGF’s Director General, Asishana Okauru, said the governors would be discussing ‘key national issues’, alongside resource persons sourced both locally and internationally.
According to him, they would be brainstorming on issues bordering on the nation’s economic management, revenue generation and sharing, national security, good governance, and also compare
notes among themselves.
He added that they would also consider possible cooperation and the maximization of their areas of comparative advantage in order to ensure delivery of democratic dividends in their various states.
Asked whether political issues would feature on the agenda, Okauru said: “The governors are politicians and it would not be out of place if they choose to discuss politics at the retreat. But, our plan at the secretariat is to assemble resource persons, sourced both locally and internationally, to deliver lectures on those areas I mentioned earlier.”
But, our source, a serving senator, told our reporter that political horse trading is ongoing between the governors on the platform of the opposition party and those seven PDP aggrieved governors who are billed to be in Sokoto on Saturday for the retreat.
The source said the PDP G7 governors, who were instrumental in installing Governor Amaechi by shifting their support in his favour to defeat their party’s preferred candidate, Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau, would seize the opportunity of the Sokoto retreat to work out agreeable terms for decamping to the APC.
They are expected to be joined by other stakeholders in the breakaway PDP such as senators and members of the House of Representatives.
The G7 governors are Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu of Niger, Sule Lamido of Jigawa, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano, Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers, Murtala Nyako of Adamawa, Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto and Abdulfatai Ahmed of Kwara.
Part of the conditions, according to the source, is that they would extract the assurance that the governors and their supporters in the new PDP would not be treated as equal stakeholders with older members of the APC.
In a related development, the leadership of the opposition mega party yesterday stormed Minna abodes of two former Nigeria leaders, Generals Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (aka IBB) and Abdulsalami Abubakar, to woo them to their party.
Those APC leaders were the Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, General Muhammadu Buhari, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Masari, former Minister of Works, Alhaji Hassan Lawal, the party’s National Women Leader, Mrs. Sharon Ikeazor, alongside party leaders in the state.
Briefing newsmen after the meeting, Babangida said: “Nigeria is bigger than PDP. They came to talk about Nigeria and how to move the nation forward.”
IBB disclosed that his door would remain open to anyone wishing to consult him on how to move Nigeria forward, adding that the APC leaders were concerned about the current state of affairs in the country.
“The APC leaders visited me to discuss the welfare of the country which should be the responsibility of every Nigerian. Whether you belong to a party or you do not have a party. You have an assignment
assigned to you to protect the integrity of the country.
“People who come to talk about Nigeria and the way forward will always be welcome by me. We have to find a way forward for this generation; what we are doing is for this generation.
“The meeting had to do with the welfare, well-being, education, security and economic well-being of the country. Anything that would promote and move the country forward would be encouraged by me,” he said.
However, former Head of State, General Abubakar, who also spoke to newsmen after his meeting with the APC leaders disclosed that he could not be wooed by the APC as he has never been a politician. “I am not a politician, I am not a partisan politician and I don’t need to be wooed,” he said.
He disclosed that the APC leadership visited to brief him on the amalgamation of the new party, how they were doing, how far they have gone and how things are moving, adding that he has given them his advice.
“What I told them, they have already heard. I’ve advised them on how all of us need this country and to make sure that we maintain peace in the country.”
He added that Nigerians should be allowed to exercise their rights by joining any party of their choice, while urging the APC chieftains to do what was right for their party.
Abdulsalami said: “Whether you are in opposition or in government, in the various ways of your manifesto, you are serving the country. So, whatever role any party finds itself, they should play that role very well”.
The APC chairman, Chief Akande said they were in the state to consult with the former leaders. “We need to pick the brains of former rulers in this country in order to be wiser than we were before we came here”, he said.
Meanwhile, the embattled reinstated National Secretary of the PDP, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, has said that the ruling party will lose the 2015 general elections if it fails to put its house in order by reconciling with its aggrieved members ahead of the polls.
Oyinlola who addressed newsmen over his purported suspension by the party’s National Working Committee (NWC), said his reinstatement by the Alhaji Bamanga Tukur led exco would have paved the way for reconciliation with the aggrieved members of the party.
The former Osun governor condemned the refusal of the Tukur exco to obey the Appeal Court ruling reinstating him as the authentic PDP scribe. “I remain the secretary and I must be allowed to perform my duty because anything done in the name of secretary without my signature is absolutely illegal and will face the legal test at the court, and we don’t need to put our party into such ridicule and problems.
“They said that myself (Oyinlola), Baraje, Jaja and Kazaure were the pillars of New PDP, how can that be? How can Oyinlola be a leader of a faction where you have seven serving governors? I want to believe that they added these other people, the target was Oyinlola to circumvent the judgement of the Court of Appeal. They just added others so that it will not be too naked. Who is Oyinlola? Yes, a former governor; we have seven serving governors, what we committed should also follow them. Why have they not served the anti-party something on them?
“I have taken a number of steps to ensure that peace reign. Ruling with impunity and treating the party as if it is a subsidiary of somebody’s company is not the way to run a party and that is exactly what we are saying. What did the Constitution say? Let’s abide by it.
“We all know that factionalisation of a ruling party will have a collateral damage on the unity of the country, more so when we have been in power in the last 14 years. To have a new beginning now means stepping backward in terms of development. And that is why we were making efforts to make sure that it is reconciled. Somebody who wants a united family cannot say others can go to blazes.
“I want to pray and believe that reason will prevail and will bring the crisis to an end. If it is not done, that may mean the end of PDP as a ruling party”, he stressed.
Oyinlola, who faulted his suspension by the Tukur led Exco, maintained that the action taken was null and void, citing the provisions of Section 57 (6&7) of the PDP Constitution.
He also said his referral to the Alhaji Umaru Dikko led Disciplinary Committee was of no effect because the committee has yet to be ratified by the PDP National Executive Committee (NEC).