From Ndubuisi Orji and Fred Itua, Abuja
Disturbed by the lingering crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has reached out to former President Goodluck Jonathan, to act as a mediator between him and the aggrieved governors as well as their supporters.
Saturday Sun had last week exclusively reported that Atiku was shopping for PDP leaders to intervene in the lingering crisis. It had also reported that Jonathan might be approached to play a leading role.
Saturday Sun gathered that a private meeting was held at the residence of Jonathan.
The PDP national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu and the party’s Vice Presidential candidate, Ifeanyi Okowa.
Party sources said the parley between Jonathan and the PDP presidential candidate was part of renewed efforts by the latter to find a resolution to the impasse between him and the G-5 governors.
The G-5 governors, which includes Governors Nyesom Wike, Rivers; Samuel Ortom, Benue; Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Enugu; Okezie Ikpeazu, Abia and Seyi Makinde Oyo, have been on a war path with the PDP candidate and the party leadership since the emergence of Delta governor, Ifeanyi Okowa as Atiku’s running mate.
A member of the PDP National Executive Committee (NEC), who is also an ally of the national chairman, told Saturday Sun that Atiku during the meeting solicited Jonathan’s support for his presidential bid, as well as resolution of the issues in the party.
The source expressed optimism that the former President would be able to help broker peace for the feuding PDP leaders, to enable the opposition party go into the election with a united front. The aggrieved governors had recently pulled out of the PDP presidential campaign council, alongside their supporters, insisting on Ayu’s replacement with a Southerner, as a condition for reconciliation.
However, the PDP chairman has said he would not resign as he was elected for a time of four years, while Atiku, on his part, has continued to maintain that he could not force Ayu to quit. It was gathered that Atiku, who had said he has moved on as far as the crisis was concerned, was compelled to seek a rapprochement with the aggrieved governors, following threats by Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State to quit the PDP presidential campaign, over alleged plots by the former vice president’s men to sabotage his second term bid. However, in the last one week, there have been no substantial progress in the peace efforts, as both parties have continued to maintain their hard stance on the PDP crisis, with the Wike group insisting that there was no going back on their demand for Ayu’s replacement.
A source close to one of the aggrieved governors told Saturday Sun that in as much as the G-5 is disposed to having a reconciliation with the party, the situation as regards the peace move is “motion without movement.”
Saturday Sun gathered that Atiku’s moves to get Jonathan’s intervention is because of his relationship with the aggrieved governors, particularly the Rivers State governor, Wike and his Bauchi State counterpart, Ortom who were both ministers while Jonathan was president.