Jonathan yields grounds, Governors lose senate struggle

There were indications yesterday that President Goodluck Jonathan and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, National Working Committee, NWC, may have succumbed to the aggrieved senators’ demand for automatic ticket in the 2015 elections.

The Presidency appears very sensitive over any matter that could mar the re-election of President Jonathan in 2015 and quickly responds to disputes or apathy raised by top party cliques in order to accommodate and carry the entire party along as they now say in political parlance.

Shortly after allowing state governors to control the party structures in their various states as far as the elections were concerned serving senators mounted pressure to have their way too.


The PDP -led Senate had abruptly adjourned plenary for two days Wednesday, over alleged hijack of electoral materials for the recently conducted ward congresses by the governors thereby making their re-election bids and even aspirations for other political positions difficult.

The implication of the party’s decision to also allow the senators continue would be that some of the nine serving governors like Theodore Orji of Abia State and his counterparts in Benue – Gabriel Suswam; Enugu- Sullivan Chime; Delta- Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan; Ebonyi- Martin Elechi; Akwa Ibom- Godwill Akpabio; Katsina – Ibrahim Shema; Kebbi Aliyu Dakinbari and Plateau- Jonah Jang may after all miss the opportunity of going to the Senate following party decisions.

This was even as the hide- and- seek game between the party and former President Olusegun Obasanjo continues with about 1000 of Obasanjo’s supporters led by the former national treasurer and Obasanjo’s strong ally, Bode Mustapha defected to the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ogun State yesterday following the frosty relation between him and the national leadership of the PDP.

Obasanjo had earlier in the year said on Channels Television that he bore no grudge against anybody in the PDP, but expressed his displeasure with the choice of Mr Buruji Kashamu as the Chairman, Mobilisation and Organisation committee of the party in the South-West.

“As a former President of Nigeria, the Chairman of West African Commission on Drug and a member of the Global Commission on Drug, I cannot accept that the zonal leader of my political party and, worse still in my zone, will be an indicted drug baron wanted in America. How do I explain that to friends outside Nigeria? This is only one of the many issues that I have pointed out and still pointing out,” he said, while giving a reason for his seeming withdrawal from the party’s national activities.

According to him, he had a “national and international standard to maintain and reputation to keep and sustain.”

However, the Senate President, David Mark led other aggrieved PDP senators to the meeting with Jonathan and the NWC of the PDP led by the national Chairman of the party, Alhaji Adamu Muazu at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Thursday night.

One of the senators who was part of the meeting between Jonathan and the national leadership of the party told Saturday Vanguard that both parties agreed that the senators would be allowed automatic tickets to contest the 2015 general elections.

He said, “After listening to our grievances, President Jonathan showed understanding of our plight and assured that any of us that had shown interest to return to the National assembly would have the ticket.

“This is a welcome development; a situation whereby about seventy five percent of serving senators are given automatic tickets by the party to return after elections will strengthen our democracy,” the senator said. Another source also hinted that the deliberation was fruitful as the party’s NWC was mandated to work out the modality which would ensure that the senators were returned in the 2015 without causing more crises within the party.

With the assurance given to the senators, the source hinted that the senate would resume for legislative business on Tuesday.

Asked whether there was plan to cancel the ward congresses to accommodate them in the promised automatic ticket, he said there was nothing like cancellation but that the NWC would work out the modalities.

Saturday Vanguard gathered that President Jonathan and the PDP’s NWC had to concede to the demand of the senators to ensure that the harmonious relationship between the president and the senate continued, bearing in mind that the senate had always supported the presidency during critical times.

It was further gathered that allowing new crop of senators to take over the senate would not be in the interest of the presidency following the hard tackles against Jonathan by the House of Representatives.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Media and Public Affairs, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe declined comments on the outcome of the meeting saying that the issue was a party affair.

Meanwhile, about 1000 PDP members including the former National Treasurer, Bode Mustapha who were said to be loyal to Obasanjo in Ogun State have defected to the APC. They warned the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Suleiman Abba against plunging the country into war following his removal of the security details of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal.

Mustapha, also a former member of House of Representatives between 1999 and 2003 who had earlier submitted his form of intent for the Ogun Central Senatorial seat, led other prominent members of the PDP including the former Chairman of Abeokuta North, Sunday Akintona. He described APC as a better alternative to PDP.

He berated the IGP for withdrawing Tambuwal’s security aides, saying that the continued absence of the security aides attached to the speaker could expose him to sundry security risks particularly the menace of the Boko Haram sect whose activities had attacked prominent persons in the country. “In Nigeria, we love sentiments a lot. Do we know what can happen to Nigeria if anything should happen to Speaker Tambuwal? Nobody knows! The IGP should not put this country on fire. He should immediately restore Tambuwa’s security aides until a court of competent jurisdiction declares his seat vacant.

“He was elected as the primus inter-pares in the House of Representatives. He was elected as leader by his members and it is only his members that can remove him as Speaker or a court of competent jurisdiction. Then and only then can his security aides be withdrawn.

“When people were defecting to PDP, it was hosanna in Aso Rock to the extent that Governor Mimiko of Ondo State defected to the PDP.

‘’But whatever is good for the goose is equally good for the gander. When Tambuwal defected, you withdrew his security aides. Why didn’t you do same when Governor Mimiko defected to the PDP because he was elected on the platform of the Labour Party, LP?.”

The APC state Deputy Chairman, Alhaji Tajudeen Lemboye, who received Mustapha’s form however, promised that the party would provide a level playing field for all aspirants in the state.

Source: Vanguard

Publish Date: 

Saturday, 8 November 2014