Two crucial meetings aimed at resolving the crisis in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party which led to the recent defection of five governors were held inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Sunday.
The first was between 11 governors and two deputy governors and Vice-President Namadi Sambo while the second was between President Goodluck Jonathan and the two remaining rebel governors – Sule Lamido (Jigawa) and Babangida Aliyu (Niger).
While Jonathan met with the aggrieved governors inside the First Lady’s Conference Room in the Villa; Sambo and the other governors met in House Seven.
The Jonathan, Aliyu and Lamido’s meeting which ended at about 10.29pm was adjourned till Sunday.
The Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, Chief Anthony Anenih, who briefed State House correspondents at the end of the meeting said Jonathan, and the rebel governors were happy that they were moving to restore confidence and trust in the PDP leadership.
“We have had our meeting presided over by the President with the Vice-President in attendance. We had useful meeting, the summary of it all is that we are happy that we are moving to restore confidence and trust. There will be a series of meetings between now and the weekend,” Anenih said.
Lamido restated his position that he would remain in the PDP.
“I stand by my principles which is one Nigeria which is based on law and order,” he said.
Aliyu also said he attended the meeting because he was still a member of the PDP.
Sambo, Wada, Imoke and Akpabio joined the meeting before it ended.
The meeting between the Vice –President, the other PDP governors and the two deputy governors had ended at about 8.30pm.
None of those who attended it was ready to speak with journalists.
When State House correspondents approached a factional chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State, he directed them to the Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, Governor Godswill Akpabio.
Akpabio, who said the meeting was at the instance of the Vice-President, declined to state what they discussed.
Sambo was joined at the meeting by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim and the Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe.
The other governors present at the meeting were Martins Elechi (Ebonyi), Sullivan Chime (Enugu), Idris Wada (Kogi), Jonah Jang (Plateau), Shehu Shema (Katsina), Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta), Theodore Orji (Abia), Isa Yuguda (Bauchi), Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa), Liyel Imoke (Cross River).
The deputy governors of Niger and Kaduna were in attendance.
The governors drove to the venue in a group from the Akwa Ibom State Govenor’s Lodge in Abuja where they had met earlier.
Five of the seven rebel PDP governors – Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (Kano), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto) and Murtala Nyako (Adamawa)- had last week defected to the APC.
At the meeting held by the 11 governors and the two deputy governors at the Akwa Ibom State Governor’s Lodge, before they headed for the Presidential Villa, five of their colleagues were not in attendance.
The five, who neither sent their deputies nor gave reasons for their absence, were Lamido, Garba Umar (acting Governor of Taraba State), Usman Dakingari ( Kebbi), Ibrahim Dankwambo( (Gombe) and Gabriel Suswam(Benue).
A source at the meeting told one of our correspondents that the 11 governors and two deputy governors took issues they discussed at Akwa Ibom State Governor’s Lodge to Sambo.
Topmost were the defection by Amaechi, Wamakko , Ahmed, Kwakwanso and Nyako and its implications for the PDP.
The source, who is one of the PDP governors, said that they also discussed how to stem the crises in the party and how to make sure that Aliyu and Lamido did not defect to the APC.
The source added, “The governors are not comfortable with the gale of defection in the party and that was why we decided to meet .When we leave here, we might meet with President Godluck Jonathan or Vice-President Namadi Sambo this(Sunday) evening.
“We need to reposition our party and that is what we are going to tell the President or the VP. “
He said they never thought that the aggrieved governors would ever defect to the APC,which they considered as arc enemy.
“We were astonished to hear that they have moved to the APC. It is bad and this implies that they are ready to team up with our enemies to send us out of power.”
It was also gathered that the governors accused the Bamanga Tukur-led National Working Committee of overheating the party by suspending chieftains without consultations and National Executive Committee meeting.
The governors, it was also gathered, lamented that the PDP NWC had refused to hold NEC meeting months after the August 31 mini-convention of the party.
Our source added, “We are not also happy about developments in the party.
“We are aware that no member of the party ought to be suspended more than a month and that it must therefore be ratified by NEC.
“But this NWC is just operating as if members are sole administrators of the party. They have refused to call for NEC meeting, yet they keep on suspending people without recourse to NEC and the constitution.
“We have not even ratified the Disciplinary Committee the NWC set up. This is wrong. We need to correct it.”
It was also gathered that the PDP governors discussed the issue of the economy, which they said was bad.
They allegedly said the opposition was already using the bad state of the economy to woo the electorate.