Jonathan shatters PDP’s hope
From Fred Itua, Abuja
The fragile attempt by leaders of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to reconcile the G-5 governors with the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, may have finally collapsed, following former President Goodluck Jonathan’s refusal to mediate in the crisis.
The collapse has also been tied to new antics deployed by the five governors to stop supporters of Atiku from campaigning in Rivers, Oyo Benue, Enugu and Abia States, ahead of next year’s presidential election. A fortnight ago, Atiku, in company with some PDP leaders, had met with Jonathan at his Abuja residence, to ask for his support in prevailing on the five aggrieved governors to support his presidential bid. Few days after the visit, Wike revealed how Atiku’ in 2015, refused to support Jonathan, and also explained how the presidential candidate insisted that the ticket be relinquished by the former leader.
Since the revelation by Wike, Atiku’s camp has neither denied nor confirmed the allegations. Instead, the camp has maintained a loud silence.
Beside Wike of Rivers State, other members of the G-5 governors are Seyi Makinde of Oyo State; Samuel Ortom of Benue State; Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State.
Attempts to woo Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State into the group did not yield the desired fruit.
Saturday Sun gathered that allies of President Jonathan have advanced reasons for the former president’s apathy towards performing any mediatory role. A close ally to Jonathan, who didn’t want to be named, said the former president had yet to forgive Atiku for conniving with some governors in 2015 to humiliate him, despite his many appeals.
He said though Wike might likely listen to Jonathan and soft-pedal, he noted that the former president feels slighted that his relevance was only appreciated by Atiku and his men every four years when the latter is running for elections.
The source revealed how Atiku snubbed Jonathan and refused to give any space to the people the former President nominated to serve as members of Atiku’s campaign organisation in 2019. He said Atiku only visited Jonathan before the primaries in 2019 and snubbed him thereafter as soon as he secured his ticket. The former president’s ally wondered why Atiku has suddenly remembered Jonathan to again help him in reconciling aggrieved governors of the party.
“Atiku doesn’t have any regard for Jonathan. He’s one of those who believe strongly that Jonathan didn’t deserve to be president. Even as president, Atiku didn’t respect Jonathan. That has not changed.
“He’s only showing some courtesy now that his election bid is threatened. In 2019, Jonathan supported Atiku against the wish of his supporters who were opposed to such support, including Wike.
“As soon as Atiku secured the ticket, he suddenly started ignoring Jonathan and even refused to accommodate the people former president nominated to serve as members of the campaign organisation.
“Since Atiku lost in 2019, he has not deemed it fit to reach out to Jonathan. The former president doesn’t want to be used again. So, he has politely refused to help Atiku. Even Olusegun Obasanjo is unwilling to step in too,” the source told Saturday Sun.
With Jonathan’s refusal to help mediate, Saturday Sun has gathered that Atiku has decided to move on without the G-5 governors and has also approved some measures expected to be taken in the coming days in weakening the rank and file of the governors.
It was gathered that the first phase started during the week, with pockets of protests in Abuja by Atiku’s supporters, calling for the resignation of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tajudeen Ariwoola, following a statement credited to him, wherein he allegedly took sides with the G-5 governors. The second phase, it has been gathered, is to set up covert campaign structures in the five States of Rivers, Oyo, Benue, Enugu and Abia.
The covert structures, it was further gathered, is to infiltrate the various communities and PDP leaders who are secretly rooting for Atiku. The source said any attempt by Atiku’s supporters to openly canvass votes in the five states being governed by the G5 governors might lead to a serious face-off that may not work out in their favour.
He said: “Atiku’s campaign organisation has been informed that Jonathan is not willing to work for the former vice president.
“Atiku has decided to move on. He also knows that Northern votes are almost secured and he needs some level of support from the South. South-South geopolitical zone is PDP’s stronghold.
“Atiku is ready to use the next two months to take the fight to the region and he believes he will succeed. They’ll infiltrate Wike’s camp and make it difficult for him to upstage Atiku in the region.
“Even in the South East, Peter Obi will not have it all rosy. Atiku’s men are there and working too. The fight will be between Obi and Atiku in the region.”
Meanwhile the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, has said that he is not aware that former President Goodluck Jonathan has declined to intervene in party’s crisis.
Ologunagba said “I don’t have that information. I am not aware of that.”