DESPITE desperate moves to find peace, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seems to be sinking deeper into crises.
It is all about the 2015 presidential race – going by the position of the party’s Kawu Baraje faction, which said yesterday that President Goodluck Jonathan should be stopped from getting a third term in office.
This was one of the issues tabled by the faction when Baraje and his team visited Senate President David Mark at the National Assembly.
Baraje was accompanied by Governors Musa Kwankwaso (Kano), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Babangida Aliyu (Niger) , Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) and Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers).
Others in the delegation were factional National Secretary Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Deputy National Chairman Sam Sam Jaja and National Youth Leader Timi Frank, among others.
The group was first received by the 22 Senators supporting the New PDP and then Mark.
Baraje urged Mark and the Senate to help find solution to the logjam in the party.
He demanded, among other things, Amaechi’s recall from suspension and his recognition as the elected chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF).
He also demanded “the reversal of the dissolution of the party executives in Rivers and Adamawa states, conduct of a fresh convention by the PDP due to the lapses in the recent one, removal of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur as National Chairman of the party, strict adherence to party constitution and total objection to third term for President Goodluck Jonathan from the back door”.
President Jonathan was sworn in on May 6, 2010 to complete the tenure of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua.
Jonathan won his election in 2011 and took an oath of office on May 29, 2011. There have been arguments over Dr. Jonathan’s eligibility for another term, with some saying since he has been sworn in twice, he can no longer run.
Others say the President only completed the late President Yar’Adua’s tenure in the first instance.
President Jonathan is yet to speak openly on his political future. He says he is concentrating on his current mandate.
Baraje said: “I call on you and the Senate to look at all the steps we have taken with the aim of finding solution to the problems of impunity and injustice in the PDP.
“We call on you and the Senate, as members of the ruling party that the issue of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has gone beyond the ordinary man on the street.
“All the negotiations that have been carried out by ASUU and the Federal Government have yielded no result. Our students and our children are at home exposed to all sorts of dangers.
“ I call on you and the Senate to please quickly intervene and ensure that our universities are reopened.
“We can no longer keep these children at home. I also call on you and the Senate to ensure that the 2013 budget is faithfully implemented.”
Mark told the group that he would continue to stand for justice, fairness and equity, notwithstanding the circumstances.
He said: “Even if you have a knife to my head, I will stand for justice, fairness and equity.”
He urged the warring groups to come together and uphold a strong and united party.
Mark promised to remain in the PDP, saying he would not live to see a fallen Party.
He pleaded with the group not to defect to another party.
He said: “We are stronger and better as one big , strong and united party . We need to work together and make our democracy sustainable.”
He urged the opposing groups to lay the cards on the table honestly and objectively to help find solution to the crisis rocking the party.
Mark promised that the lawmakers elected on the platform of the party would remain united and cohesive.
He said what makes for the good of the nation and her citizens would be their watchword.
He stressed that the leadership of the National Assembly has no intention to declare the seats of Senators or House of Representatives members vacant on account of the crises.
He expressed the hope that the issues would be resolved amicably soon.
Mark said: “I will remain in PDP. All of us collectively, whether it is Baraje led or Bamanga led want to see our house stand and stand erect and stand in such a way so that it can stand the test of time.
“The obvious problems that you have raised here have all been in the newspapers. I have had occasions to plead with our elders. You have also met with our elders led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
“Both parties have presented their cases and I believe that the elders’ committee has also made a submission to Mr. President.
“Subsequently, you have also met with Mr. President and from what I gathered there is progress. It is slow but the progress in any peace move is better than no progress at all. As long as there is dialogue, there must be progress.
“The essence of our meeting from time to time is to exchange ideas, look at the areas where we have differences and try to iron them out.
“My position on the crisis in the PDP has always been that whatever happens, we must keep the members of the PDP in the National Assembly united because that is the only thing that can stand the test of time.
“Yes, we are a large family, there will be crisis but we should not translate that crisis to the floor of the Senate because once you do that then we are divided in the Senate.
“The Senate remains one united family and I have not declared anybody’s seat vacant. I have no intention whatsoever of doing that because this is a crisis that we are working on and trying to resolve.
“As long as we are trying to resolve this crisis, all the sides to it must be prepared o give and take.”
Mark said: Having spoken with you, I am also going to discuss with the Bamanga group and we will all be very frank because if we don’t put all the cards on the table, then we are not going to find a solution.
“We agree that there was a problem but it is a family problem and we will solve it. When we solve it, we will be stronger when we come out of it.”
“We should not allow the crack to continue so that lizards and all sorts of reptiles don’t begin to get into the house. What we will do as elders is to make sure that where the crack is, we cover it.”