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The breakaway faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Wednesday claimed that its membership has swelled with the decamping of five more governors of the ruling party to the group.
Although the splinter PDP did not name the five governors that had joined it, if the claim is correct, it would bring the number of governors in its fold to 12.
The New PDP said the new governors would join them at their meeting on the next adjourned date slated to hold after the Eid-el-Kabir holiday.
Last night, THISDAY was privy to the names of the five governors, but would publish their names when they actually attend the meeting.
Currently, the New PDP boasts seven governors. They are Governors Rabiu Musa Kwanakwanso (Kano), Ahmed Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto) and Chibuike Amaechi (Rivers)
The seven governors and former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, alongside some party stalwarts, had on August 31 stormed out of the special national convention of the PDP in Abuja to form the New PDP.
Also, the faction confirmed that the Monday, October 7 meeting between President Goodluck Jonathan and the seven aggrieved governors would not hold. This is as a result of the Salah holiday, which comes up next week.
The president and the governors, had at their last meeting on September 15, agreed to adjourn the next peace meeting to October 7.
But the seven governors are said to be seeking an adjournment on the grounds that some of them will be travelling to Saudi Arabia to observe the Muslim pilgrimage.
In a statement, signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the New PDP, Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, the faction said it had sent an emissary to the president seeking a postponement of the reconciliation meeting billed for October 7.
The statement said: “This decision was taken last night during the caucus meeting of the New PDP held at the Adamawa State Government Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja, during which it was discovered that the date of the proposed peace meeting clashes with this year’s Hajj, in which several of our key members are billed to participate.
“Our National Chairman, Alhaji Baraje, and most of our other key members, including most of the G7 governors and the five other governors that have indicated interest to join us by next week, as well as members of the National Assembly, former governors, and business moguls, are billed to perform the Hajj, which is already in operation.
“Alhaji Baraje, the progressive governors and other stakeholders performing the Hajj have been mandated to use the opportunity offered by the Holy pilgrimage to pray for the restoration of peace and unity in our great party, PDP, as well as in our dear country, Nigeria.”
The group also called off its meeting earlier slated for October 5 because of the Hajj.
The faction reassured its supporters and Nigerians of its commitment towards bringing back the glorious days of PDP.
It further apologised to the president for the postponement, saying, “We sincerely regret the inconvenience(s) in any form this may cause our beloved president, party faithful and Nigerians, as praying to our God should be the utmost for us, particularly now knowing very well that with God the elusive peace in our party and country can be achieved.”
However, the mainstream PDP appeared to be ignorant of the postponement of the October 7 meeting yesterday.
Speaking on the crisis that has polarised the party, the National Publicity Secretary of the mainstream PDP, Olisa Metuh said that the party was already engaged in a reconciliation agenda.
“We are already engaged in a reconciliation agenda as espoused by the National Chairman (Bamanga Tukur), when he came to the office and we have been touring the country and doing it.
“We discussed the efforts and how we can continue. We mentioned our aggrieved brothers and we have left it for the meeting of October 7 to know how best to handle it.
“The National Working Committee (NWC) met and we hope that we will be able to achieve full reconciliation with our aggrieved brothers, but this party is bigger than any person or any group and PDP will survive all interests.
“This is a national party, the custodians of the party’s administration are ready and capable to handle all matters that affect this party after the peace meeting,” Metuh said.
Meanwhile, the Niger State governor yesterday accused the presidency of using money to induce people to foment trouble in his state.
Aliyu, who made this know in Minna yesterday the launch and distribution of 50 Toyota Hiace buses to the 25 local government areas under the SURE-P mass transit scheme, said some people from the state have been travelling to Abuja to collect money to make the state ungovernable.
“We heard that some disgruntled elements in Niger are running to Abuja to collect money, they should go and collect their share.
“Those who are thinking that they can cause problems in Niger because they have collected money from Abuja, we are ready and waiting for them both democratically and security wise,” he said.
The governor blamed the prolonged crisis within the party for creating avenues for opportunists to want to make money out of the crisis.
“We know that in any struggle or negotiation, when it is prolonged, people begin to capitalise on it and use it as a money making venture.”
Aliyu stressed that the reason the aggrieved governors walked away from the mainstream PDP was because they felt the party should not be run like a personal estate.
He added that as long as the PDP was not democratic, Nigeria would not be democratic, stating, “If PDP is thriving, Nigeria will reap the rewards and if PDP is democratic, Nigeria will be democratic.”
Aliyu thanked the state PDP for standing by him and believing in the struggle for a better PDP.