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I HAVE NO HAND IN PDP CRISIS – JONATHAN

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Former President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has denied any involvement in the crisis currently rocking the Peoples Democratic Party.

Five governors are currently at loggerhead with the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and are insisting on the removal of the PDP Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu.

There have been unsuccessful moves by the party to bring the warring parties to the negotiation table as governors Nyesom Wike, Seyi Makinde, Okezie Ikpeazu, Samuel Ortom and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Rivers, Oyo, Abia, Benue and Enugu states, respectively, continue to keep a distance from Atiku’s presidential campaign activities and insisting on Ayu’s removal.

A former governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam, had on Thursday stated on Arise Television programme, The Morning Show, that Jonathan had been drafted to resolve the crisis.

Reports indicated that the aggrieved governors had thrown open the door of reconciliation, with Atiku immediately pledging his readiness to negotiate with them in the overall interest of the party.

Reacting to the development, the former President in a statement signed by his Media Adviser, Ikechukwu Eze, denied having anything to do with the crisis rocking the party.

The statement titled, ‘Re: Aggrieved PDP governors loyal to Jonathan’, read in part, “Our attention has been drawn to news media and social media reports linking former President Dr Goodluck Jonathan’s name to the current troubles in the Peoples Democratic Party with a false claim that the aggrieved PDP governors are demonstrating their loyalty to him.

“We would have ignored the strange tale since it is obviously baseless. However, we are offering this clarification because we have been reached by many Nigerians, who are concerned that such fabrication with a vague and suspicious attribution could be given undeserved prominence on the front pages of some national dailies.

“We are also not unmindful of the fact that, this being an electioneering season, bizarre tales are often contrived, propagated and weaponised to either smear others or deliver cheap political advantage to the purveyors.

“First, we would like to make the point that it is not out of place if there were crises in a political party like the PDP and a former President, who served under the party’s platform, is called upon to intervene. That being the case, we initially did not see anything wrong with the headlines in some papers, indicating that the former President was being persuaded to help resolve the issues in the party.

“However, we are dismayed that the seemingly purpose-minded headlines were only cast to mask the mischief of the sponsors of the story and hoodwink the unsuspecting populace. Our attention was called to provocative and insulting statements in separate but similar versions of the story in different news media, either claiming that ‘the whole thing we are seeing in the PDP…is orchestrated for President Jonathan’, or that ‘he (Jonathan) is encouraging governors Nyesom Wike, Makinde, Ikpeazu, Ugwuanyi and Ortom to behave the way they are doing’, knowing that ‘these five governors are fighting his cause’.

“We believe that such duplicitous statements could not have emanated from the camps of those who truly wish the party well. It simply shows that the so-called ‘sources’ of the story are not disposed to the peace and unity they pretend to be seeking in the PDP.”

The former President also dismissed claims that he was nursing a grudge against the party’s flag bearer, Atiku.

Eze said, “How could anybody turn around in 2022 to accuse Jonathan of bearing a grudge against the PDP when the former President had campaigned vigorously for the party and its presidential candidate during the 2019 elections?

“Those who insinuate that Dr Jonathan is not happy with the PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, because of whatever roles he played ahead of the 2015 elections forget that the former President actively campaigned for Atiku in 2019, attending the flag off of his campaign in Sokoto and subsequently participated in the campaigns in some states like Rivers and Bayelsa.

“The fact that Dr Jonathan stood out as an exemplary politician who, throughout his political career, abhorred treachery and mean-mindedness, and played politics without bitterness, needs no gainsay.  Unlike many of his detractors, the former President has, out of office, progressed to a higher level of statesmanship, faithfully applying himself to causes that promote peace, love, unity and progress across the entire West African sub-region.

“It is Dr Jonathan’s wish that the PDP is able to resolve its internal crisis, unite all members and have a good showing in the forthcoming 2023 elections. We wish to however point out that it will be difficult to achieve this aspiration if some forces in the party continue to engage in mudslinging, disinformation and manifest tendencies that negate the values that are dear to loyal party members.

“Former President Jonathan has served this country meritoriously at both the state and federal levels. He has now been out of office for almost eight years and Nigerians have come to trust and love him for who he is. While in office, he had no enemies to fight. He still has no enemies to fight now that he has become a private citizen.”

Atiku camp reacts

Meanwhile, Atiku has expressed readiness to negotiate with the five aggrieved governors to resolve the lingering crisis in the party.

In a statement signed by his Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, the presidential candidate said he was excited over reports that Wike and his group “are favourably disposed to the resolution of the issues with the PDP candidate.”

The statement read in part, “Atiku Abubakar expresses his commitment to a negotiation that will resolve the crisis of confidence and pave the way for a much stronger and united PDP.

“The former Vice-President of Nigeria notes that never at any time of the differences that have ensued have the doors been shut to Governor Wike and his group.

“He enjoins every leader of the party and their supporters irrespective of their leanings to be open-minded and support the process of resolution of the extant issues.”

‘We’ll resolve crisis’

Meanwhile, Atiku has given an assurance that the lingering crisis in the PDP will be resolved and the party will come out stronger.

Atiku, who gave this assurance when he visited Minna on Friday for a high-powered meeting, said the crisis was a family quarrel that would be resolved.

“It is a family quarrel and we believe that we will resolve it before the elections and you will see a very united and strong PDP that will face the elections,” he told journalists.

The presidential candidate also stated that his camp would not be weary of reaching out to the G-5 governors, adding that they were family members and would resolve their differences.

“We have always engaged the five governors and we will continue to engage them,” he added.

Atiku also described the recent attack on his convoy in Borno State as unfortunate and accused the political leadership in the state of sponsoring the attack.

“The Borno incident is unfortunate and the whole thing was sponsored by the political leadership in the state,” he claimed.

Atiku also stated that it was wrong to sign a peace pact and go against the agreement.

“It is most unfortunate that this is happening when a peace accord was signed,” he added.

Members of his entourage included his running mate, Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa; the Director-General of his campaign council and Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal; Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku; a former governor of Adamawa State, Senator Boni Haruna; a former governor of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha; a former Jigawa State governor, Sule Lamido; and a former Niger State Governor, Dr Babangida Aliyu.

Others are Ali Gusau, Senator Ben Obi, Senator Dino Melaye, Senator Abdul Ningi and the Niger State PDP Chairman and executive members of the party in the state.

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HOW POWERFUL FORCES TRIED TO STOP TINUBU CANDIDACY – APC VICE CHAIR

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APC Presidential Candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu

The National Vice Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (North-West), Mallam Salihu Lukman, on Tuesday, said some forces outside the APC made attempts to use former President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor of the Central Bank, Dr Godwin Emefiele, to prevent Bola Tinubu from being chosen as the APC presidential candidate.

According to Lukman, it took the combined efforts of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), the National Working Committee and the resilience of the APC governors to abort the move.

Lukman, who is a member of the APC National Working Committee, made the claim in a statement titled, “Electoral contests and public expectations: Matching hopes with realities.”

Tinubu polled 1,271 votes to defeat former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Vice President Yemi Osibanjo and 12 others to win the APC presidential primary last year June.

According to Lukman, when it became obvious that the kites of Jonathan and Emefiele would not fly, the masterminds of the plot, who were not card-carrying members of the APC, positioned the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, for Buhari to anoint as the party’s consensus candidate.

He said, “It may also be important to note that the emergence of Asiwaju Tinubu as APC presidential candidate was the product of strong internal contest. There may be temptation to narrow the contest to the dynamics around the question of whether there will be an anointed aspirant who would have been crowned as the consensus candidate, which wouldn’t have been Asiwaju Tinubu.

“Many had their preferred candidates for the position of national chairman. Some of the presidential aspirants were able to expand their lobbies to some of the influential people around the President and perhaps succeeded to convince President Buhari to nominate Senator Abdullahi Adamu for the position. And shortly after the election of Adamu as the National Chairman of the APC, negotiation for the emergence of a so-called consensus presidential candidate was activated.

“It may also be important to remind Nigerians that the scheming around emergence of a so-called consensus candidate was ridiculously stretched beyond the APC to include people like former President Goodluck Jonathan and Mr Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria. These were never members of the APC. But with the active collaboration of some influential people outside the APC, some sophisticated mobilisation of so-called ‘hundred eminent businessmen, political, media and civil society leaders, including 14 current governors, 13 former governors as well as three former senate presidents’ commenced around April 2022.

“Gradually, this scheming shifted and was entrenched within the APC. By May 2023, when the party began to sell its nomination forms to aspiring candidates, forms were purchased by some APC leaders for former President Goodluck Jonathan and Mr Godwin Emefiele.  Eventually, when these schemers couldn’t succeed in popularising both former Jonathan and Emefiele as possible contenders to emerge as consensus presidential candidates for the APC, the Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan was recruited and promoted. It is on record that Adamu, on the eve of the convention that birthed Asiwaju Tinubu as the presidential flag bearer, announced to NWC members that Lawan was their consensus candidate of the party.”

Continuing, the Kaduna-based politician explained that aggrieved members of the NWC along with some progressive governors rose against the move.

Lukman disclosed that part of the plan promoted within the APC to attempt to popularise the choice of Lawan, as a consensus candidate, became the focal point after the opposition Peoples Democratic Party elected Atiku Abubakar, a fellow northerner as presidential candidate.

“This is completely inconsiderate of the popular agitation for power shift in the country. It is also insensitive of the potential instability that the choice of another northerner emerging as President of the country could cause. Ahead of the APC National Convention, APC governors from the North had already declared their opposition against a northerner emerging as APC presidential candidate.

“Combinations of all of these in so many ways contributed towards tilting support of many APC leaders towards Asiwaju Tinubu. Certainly, Asiwaju Tinubu’s personal quality, given his track records both as a businessman, politician, and elected Governor of Lagos State between 1999 and 2007 were also there. He has over the years proven himself as a fighter for democracy. This is one characteristic that has defined him and perhaps strengthened him to survive many personal attacks on his person and his integrity. The administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo investigated him on many of the issues that are being used to smear his name such drugs. Renown radical lawyer and human rights activists, the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, challenged his academic credentials unsuccessfully in courts. Many journalists and activists questioned his integrity but were not able to establish any proof.

“Again, thanks to President Buhari, the contest for the presidential candidate of APC was thrown open and Asiwaju won with a wide merging,” he stated.

When asked to react to the revelation, the Publicity Director of the APC, Bala Ibrahim, told our correspondent that the party had moved on and wouldn’t like to delve into an issue that could reopen old wounds.

“Whatever happened before the emergence of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as the candidate of the APC is something that should left in book of history. Now, he is the candidate of the party and it is the collective will of the same party. Everybody is putting his hands in the deck to see to it that Tinubu is successful,” he said.

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ONLY MENTALLY-CHALLENGED PEOPLE WILL VOTE APC – AYU

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PDP National Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu

The Peoples Democratic Party National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, on Monday, urged Nigerians not to waste their votes by voting for the ruling All Progressives Congress.

Speaking on Monday during the PDP presidential campaign rally in Benue State, the main opposition party chairman claimed that only people with mental problems will vote for the APC.

Ayu said, “All of you know that you have suffered in this country in the last eight years APC, only somebody who has a mental problem will vote for APC. Do not waste your vote.”

Speaking on the PDP internal crisis, Ayu said reconciliation moves were ongoing and that the PDP leadership was in talks with aggrieved party members.

“The party is not divided. There are a few members who have grievances. We are talking to them. We want to make sure they come back and work with us fully. One week is enough to change everything. This thing has been going on and I want to assure you that we’ll receive everybody back,” he said.

He also appealed to Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, to join the PDP campaign train and participate in activities that would guarantee PDP’s victory during the presidential election.

“I am appealing to my younger brother, Gov. Ortom to come back and join us so that we will fight to rescue Nigeria. Gov. Ortom has nowhere to go, his only house is the PDP and anytime that he comes, we shall be more than happy to receive him land all the PDP governors.

“We want all our candidates, all our governors to be with us because if you allow APC to win this election, you will regret it.”

Ortom and other four aggrieved PDP governors have been calling for the resignation of Ayu after the party’s presidential primary last year.

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ORTOM SHUNS ATIKU CAMPAIGN, AYU SLAMS GOV

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Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, his deputy, Benson Abounu, commissioners, aides and the 22 local government chairmen of the state were absent at the campaign rally of the presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

Benue is being controlled by PDP with the national chairman of the party, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, hailing from the state.

Leading the campaign rally for Atiku in the state are former governor of the state, Senator Gabriel Suswam, former president of the Senate, David Mark, and the three senators representing Zone A, B and C; Suswam, Orker Jev and Abba Moro, were in attendance.

Also, the party governorship candidate and his deputy, Titus Uba and John Ngbede, respectively, and some state working committee members attended the rally.

Speaking at the rally, Ayu appealed to Ortom, who had not shown support for Atiku, to join hands with the party to be able to rescue the country.

Ayu said that he met with one of the G-5 governors, the Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, two days ago and also urged him to work with them.

According to the PDP chairman, there is no division in the party.

Ayu said, “What we have is some of our members who are aggrieved but we are appealing to Governor Ortom to come back and join us to rescue the country. Governor Ortom has nowhere to go. We have already resolved our issue with Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu. I was with him two days ago and he has agreed to work for the success of our party.”

Atiku, while speaking with the mammoth crowd at the rally, promised to ensure that the crisis between the people of the state and Fulani herders would be resolved if voted into office.

He said, “I am the umbrella of Tiv people worldwide. If you vote for me, I will make sure peace return to Benue State. I will come to the state and make sure Fulani signs a peace pact with the people of the state.”

Atiku also promised that the $10m promised in his blueprint would be injected into the economy to create jobs for the youth.

He further assured the people of Benue State that he would fix the federal roads that pass through the state, just as he promised to reopen the railway line that passed through the state and ensure that the Academic Staff Union of Universities no longer embarks on strike.

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