PEACE seems so far from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The Group of Seven (G-7) governors and the Baraje-led faction may boycott the October 7 meeting with President Goddluck Jonathan and his supporters.
Both parties agreed to meet on October 7 at the last session on September 16.
The meeting also agreed that both parties must avoid making inflammatory statements.
The communiqué of the meeting was read by Niger State Governor Babangida Aliyu with whom were President Jonathan and the other governors .
But yesterday a source close to the G-7 governors said they could have honoured the meeting in deference to the President but for his close aides’ continuous umbrage against members of the New PDP, thereby giving the impression that the President and the Alhaji Bamanga Tukur-led faction are prepared for a fight to the finish in the “battle for the soul of the party”.
The source said it would be insulting for PDP National Chairman Bamanga Tukur, who was never recognised as leader of the party to give directive to Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi who is a strong voice in the party from its inception.
He cautioned against any situation that may push members of the new PDP to declare support for the All Progressives Peoples Congress (APC) noting that doing so may lead to complete annihilation of the party in the country.
He said: “For now, nothing has changed. We had initially agreed to honour the October 7 meeting with the President out of courtesy. But it’s obvious that some power drunk persons have not been able to caution their aides against making inflammatory statements that may jeopardise the peace effort.
“As things stand today, we are collective in our decision to boycott the October 7 Aso Rock meeting. What are we going to discuss when some of the close aides of the President have said that they are ready for fight to the finish? I think they are toying with this matter and they will soon realise that this is no longer a joke.
“Maybe, by next year, when it dawns on them that the President cannot win the election with all the battles going on, they may come to the table. But that will be too late. I pray they don’t push us to join the APC or any other party. If that happens, then we can say a goodbye to the PDP as a ruling party in Nigeria.
“When people say we don’t have the majority, I always laugh. How could anyone say that when we already have a majority in the House of Representatives? We already have more than 200 on our side and I know others are waiting to join. Even in the Senate, efforts are on to get a majority or, at least, two-thirds of the members on the side of the new PDP. Let’s see how Tukur and those backing him will sustain the tempo of the noise they are making.
“When people say Tukur has written a letter to Governor Amaechi to tender a letter of apology, I laugh. Who is Tukur to write to a governor for an apology? In the first place, is Tukur the recognised chairman of the party and what authority does he have to make such a questionable demand? It is all a lie. The Rivers governor has not seen any letter and if he sees any, I can tell you that he would ignore it. In fact, they should push any of the aggrieved governors to point of turning this into a personal battle. I doubt if they can bear the consequences of such a possibility.”
The Baraje-led New PDP urged the President to return diplomatic passports allegedly withdrawn from Senate President David Mark and House Speaker Aminu Tambuwal.
The party was reacting to reports that diplomatic passports of leaders and some members of the National Assembly may have been withdrawn on the directive of the Presidency.
In a statement issued by the faction’s National Publicity Secretary, Chukwuemeka Eze yesterday, the party attributed the action to a fallout of the warm reception given members of the PDP breakaway group when they visited the National Assembly last week.
The statement said: “The implication is that whenever they travel abroad, the 109 Senators and 360 members of the House of Representatives would no longer enjoy the special privileges the blue-coloured passport confers on its holder, meaning that they can be arrested like ordinary citizens.
“This directive, if eventually carried out, would only end up unnecessarily overheating the polity. Those encouraging the President in this direction are actually his true enemies as it is not wise to incur the wrath of these great Nigerians knowing the implications for him politically”.
The faction pleaded with Dr. Jonathan to consider the consequences of working against the legislators who have stood by him all these years and even introduced the ‘doctrine of necessity’ that brought him to power against the wish of the cabal that sought to exploit the illness of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, to rule by proxy.
The Baraje faction also called on Jonathan to reinstate his Special Adviser on National Assembly, Senator Joy Emodi, who was relieved of her appointment on Friday.
The faction alleged that Emodi was sacked because she voiced her objection to financial inducement of members of the National Assembly for the purpose of impeaching their leaders.
“If this is true, we hereby demand her immediate reinstatement. For Senator Emodi to be bold enough to tell Mr. President the implication of such a corrupt inducement of the lawmakers, should earn her commendation rather than a sack.
“ Instead of sacking such a forthright and patriotic Amazon, the President should sack those hawks around him planning to ridicule him by encouraging him to embark on acts capable of making him very unpopular amongst his supporters and followers”, the statement added.
Rather, Baraje called for the sack of Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Oduah, for abandoning work on the remodeling of the Port Harcourt International Airport.
The faction alleged that the minister’s action was informed by the ongoing political friction between the President and the Rivers State Governor.
“We plead with you, Mr. President, not to embark upon any further act or impunity that will endanger the peace and unity of our troubled nation”, the faction said.