Attempts by the two factions of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to resume peace talks yesterday suffered a major setback as the aggrieved governors sought for more time to consult.
The talks will now hold on Tuesday in Abuja.
The Chairman of the Board of Trustees of PDP, Chief Tony Anenih, and one of the aggrieved governors confirmed the postponement last night.
There were fears that the governors might not return to the negotiation table with President Goodluck Jonathan.
The National Chairman of the New PDP faction, Alhaji Kawu Baraje, inspected yesterday the party’s secretariat in Abuja.
But there were signs yesterday that Jonathan may have bowed to pressure from party chiefs to ease out a factional National Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.
Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo is to meet with some governors and party leaders on Friday on the way forward.
According to one of the aggrieved governors, who spoke in confidence, there was need for “more consultations on issues raised on Sunday night at the Presidential Villa”.
The governor said: “We succeeded in laying down all the grievances and issues behind the crisis in PDP on Sunday, but there was no commitment from either of the two factions.
“We sought for more time to consult because we cannot trust Jonathan that he would honour our demands. We have to watch before we leap.
“Our fears were informed by the fact that on the eve of the Special National Convention of the party, PDP governors had a meeting with the leadership of the party and the Presidency that party structures should be restored to governors in Adamawa and Rivers states.
“In fact, at the meeting, we agreed that only delegates loyal to the Governor of Adamawa State, Admiral Murtala Nyako, should be accredited and allowed to vote. But, at the convention, Tukur reneged on the agreement and barred even statutory delegates from attending the convention.
“If we give in to the President, how are we sure that he will not renege on the agreement? This is why we are consulting widely.”
Anenih told reporters yesterday that the peace talks had been shifted at the prompting of the aggrieved governors.
Anenih said the talks would resume on Tuesday.
He said the resumption would be preceded by a meeting between Obasanjo and some governors on Friday as part of wider consultations being sought by parties to the crisis.
He said the aggrieved governors told the Presidency and the PDP leadership that they needed to make wider consultations, which he said the Presidency and the PDP leadership were not averse to.
The Presidency and the PDP leadership are taking advantage of the postponement to also consult widely on how to amicably resolve the crisis, Anenih said.
He said: “The governors said they needed more time for wider consultations; the Presidency and party leadership were not opposed to it.
“Part of the wider consultations is the meeting of selected party leaders with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on Friday morning and thereafter. We will meet with the governors on Tuesday, next week.
“I believe some of them have genuine grievances; but I have hope that, once the grievances are addressed, they will come back. I am happy that the PDP has an internal mechanism for effective conflict resolution, and at the end of the day, the problems will be addressed and the PDP will come out of the crisis stronger.”
Despite the assurance of a likely resolution of the crisis by Anenih, the New PDP is forging ahead, putting finishing touches to its National Secretariat.
Jonathan has met with some elders and leaders of the party on the way out of the crisis.
It was gathered that the leaders advised the President to ask Tukur to step aside – in line with one of the recommendations of a committee headed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Anyim Pius Anyim.
A source said “when the leaders raised Tukur’s issue, the President said he was being “systematic about his exit”.
Jonathan reportedly said, he actually wanted Tukur to preside over the Special National Convention before asking the next National Executive Committee(after the convention) to look into the issues raised by some PDP members against the National Chairman.
The President, it was said, observed that those aggrieved were just “impatient” as he could not just remove Tukur without consultations and due process in a democratic setting.
“The President said since the aggrieved governors have taken upissues with Tukur, he would look into it with other leaders. So, this is a bargaining point the President will take to the negotiation table on Tuesday,” the source said