Vanguard (Lagos)

30 April 2012

Nigeria: Jonathan Consults With Tinubu, Fashola, Akiolu

Lagos — President Goodluck Jonathan, weekend, met with national leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria and former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu behind closed doors.

The meeting in State House, Marina, Lagos took place as President Jonathan returned from Ivory Coast where he joined other regional leaders for an emergency summit of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS.

Jonathan consults with Tinubu

The Lagos State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has, however, dismissed any political benefit for Jonathan from associating with Tinubu, describing the former Lagos State Governor as more of a liability than an asset for the President's political calculations.

A reliable source told Vanguard that besides Tinubu, others at the meeting were Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State; the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Dimeji Bankole.

The meeting followed increasing talks on the President's future which has seen a number of his associates advocating a second term for Jonathan who first stepped into office in 2010 to complete the four-year tenure of his former boss, late President Umaru Yar'Adua.

Weekend's meeting aroused interest in political circles following speculations that Asiwaju Tinubu, just like Jonathan, could also be contesting the next presidential election in 2015.

Lagos PDP reacts

Reacting to the meeting, the Lagos State PDP Publicity Secretary, Mr Taofik Gani, said even while he was not in a position to confirm the motive behind the meeting, he nevertheless affirmed that the party in the state would not be deterred in its resolve to claim the state come 2015.

Gani said: "PDP is not a party of vendetta as far as we are concerned. I am not in a position to confirm the motive behind the meeting, but I know that there are other national pressing issues. For instance, the issue of Boko Haram warrants everybody to join hands to fight. I remember recently that the former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu said something on that and so the President must have come to meet him to see whether he has any position on that."

While appealing to the president to tread with caution, he said: "It is a risky position if the president has come to see Tinubu regarding 2015. The President may have met a liability rather than an asset in the forthcoming election. The truth is that the Lagos PDP is better positioned that we do not need anybody outside the party to win elections.

"However, the Lagos PDP expects that whatever lobbying any member of the party is involved in will not override the interest of the party. In Lagos PDP, it is our interest to claim Lagos State from ACN and so, we will not compromise and jeopardize that interest."

It would be recalled that the president had, recently, told an Abuja High Court that the provisions of the 1999 constitution pertaining to his chances to contest the 2015 election were clear.

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