Nigeria News

PDP crisis: Jonathan fights back

The crisis that is rocking the ruling Peoples Democratic Party may take a turn for the worse soon.

Multiple sources in the party told Sunday PUNCH on Saturday that President Goodluck Jonathan would soon launch a counter attack to battle the forces that were whittling his influence in the ruling party.

SUNDAY PUNCH’s investigations on Friday showed that while President Jonathan had shown little interest in taking the fight to those against him in the party, hawks within his circle were goading him to stem his loss of ground to governors elected on the platform of the party and former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Our correspondents learnt that some of the President’s allies want him to drop ministers known to be close or loyal to Obasanjo and the governors. Feelers from the camp show that the hawks may prevail.

In recent times, the President has lost out in the power play in the party, which analysts have linked to the 2015 elections.

Last week, an attempt by the President’s camp to install one of his associates, Chief Tony Anenih, as the Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees failed. Rather, Obasanjo, who stepped down from the position last year, almost installed his preferred candidate, Dr. Ahmadu Ali.

State governors on the platform of the PDP have also moved against the party leadership over its handling of the crisis in the Adamawa State chapter of the party. The governors want party chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, sacked for dissolving the Adamawa State party executive believed to be loyal to the governor. The governors reportedly turned down a plea by the President for Tukur to retain his job. Tukur, who hails from Adamawa State, is a strong supporter of Jonathan.

The PDP National Working Committee, led by the Deputy Chairman, Dr. Sam Jaja, had on Wednesday dissociated itself from Tukur’s action in Adamawa. The NWC later rescinded the decision to dissolve Adamawa executive of the party.

On Thursday, the governors said the National Executive meeting of the party should be convened immediately.  They also endorsed the decision of the NWC to rescind the decision on the dissolution of the PDP executive in Adamawa State.

Although Jonathan has not formally declared his interest to seek re-election, his loyalists have linked his recent actions to the politics of the 2015 election.

One of the President’s aides, who pleaded anonymity, said the thinking in government circles was that it would be difficult for Jonathan to get the party’s ticket for the 2015 presidential election if his loss of influence was not quickly stemmed.

But Jonathan, who spoke to our correspondent through his Special Adviser on Political Matters, Ahmed Gulak, insisted that he was still in charge despite the recent developments.

“The President is fully in charge. It is not true that he is losing grip of the party. The differences among members of the party are normal in a very big party like the PDP. But the President is addressing them and he is on top of the situation,” Gulak explained.

Since the disagreements became a public knowledge, Jonathan had held a series of meetings with stakeholders in the party.

On Tuesday, he held what party stalwarts described as a “strategic meeting” with members of the BoT. A day later, he met with the members of the National Working Committee.

The meeting where the governors reportedly turned down his plea for Tukur was held on Thursday.

Sunday PUNCH also gathered that Jonathan had cemented his ties with a former Ogun State Governor, Gbenga Daniel. Daniel fell out with Obasanjo during the 2011 elections when the former’s supporters defected to the PDP.

Loyalists of the President also told one of our correspondents that in the days ahead, the administration might use board appointments to break the ranks of PDP chieftains loyal to Obasanjo.

A source in the presidency said, “This is a political era. Although the President may not be confrontational, he is going to use what he has to fight his opponents, including Obasanjo.

“He has resisted the pressure to drop ministers because of their closeness to Obasanjo and some governors that are fighting him, but that may change.

“In the next few months, more board appointments will be made and those who have been confrontational with the President should not expect anything. In politics, you use what you have to get what you want. You cannot be wining and dining with someone’s enemies and want to remain his friend.”

Meanwhile, close associates of Tukur jubilated on Friday when the party’s National Secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, was sacked by a Federal High court. Oyinlola is one of the staunch allies of Obasanjo.

At the party’s presidential campaign office located at Legacy House, Maitama, Abuja, Tukur’s associates expressed happiness over the matter.

As soon as the judgment was delivered, one of them immediately sent messages to reporters, asking them to come to Legacy House where he said the proceedings of the court would be served on the party.

“You can see that God is on our side,” an aide to Turkur said, as he gave a copy of the judgment to Sunday PUNCH correspondent.

Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi
Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi
Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC and CEO of Portia Web Solutions. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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